2022 MLB Draft Recap

Three Houston Cougars from the 2022 squad heard their names called during the final day of the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft on Tuesday afternoon, along with one former Cougar and two Houston commits.

Ben Sears was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 14th Round.

Logan Clayton, who had transferred away from Houston after the season ended, was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 17th Round.

Jaycob Deese was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th Round.

Samuel (Sammy) Hernandez, a catcher at Lakeland High School in Florida, was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 14th Round.

Kevin Kilpatrick, a college transfer who was committed to Houston, was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 17th Round.

Jonathan Thomas, a former Cougar who played for Texas Southern in 2022, was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 19th Round.

Players, whether drafted or undrafted, have until August 1st to sign a contract with the team that drafted them or as a free agent if they were not drafted.

Houston Advances to American Championship on Late Tulimero Home Run

Anthony Tulimero rounds third base after his ninth inning home run Saturday in Clearwater. (Photo credit: American Athletic Conference/Mary Holt)

Houston had two chances to advance to the American Athletic Conference Championship final on Sunday and they capitalized on the second one with a 9-6 victory over UCF on Saturday night in Clearwater.

In the opening frame of game one, Santiago Garcia singled into right-center, scoring Alex Lopez from second base and the Cougars led 1-0.

Brandon Burckel hit a one-out double off of the wall in left field in the top of the fourth inning, forcing the Knights to go to the bullpen . . . One out later, Lopez hit the first pitch of his at-bat over the wall in right-center field and the Cougars lead was increased to 3-0.

The Knights rallied and scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 4-3 lead.

Ian McMillan tied the game in the top of the fifth inning with a two-out solo home run to right field . . . With the Cougars trailing 7-4 in the top of the seventh inning, McMillan hit his second home run of the game, a two-run shot to left field to get the Cougars to within a run.

Garcia led off the top of the ninth inning with a single into right field . . . Ryan Hernandez sent the next pitch over the wall in left field to tie the game at eight.

The Knights had an answer in the bottom of the tenth inning as they manufactured a run to walk-off as 9-8 winners, forcing a second game of the day to settle matters.

Houston jumped out to another early lead, this time with a three-spot in the opening frame . . . But the Knights answered right back with three runs in their half of the first inning.

Brandon Uhse stole second in the fifth inning and Tulimero drove him home on a two-out single to right-center field as Houston regained the lead 4-3.

After tying the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, UCF plated two runs in the sixth inning to take a 6-4 lead.

Houston tied the game in the top of the eighth inning when a one-out single by McMillian into left-center scored two.

Still tied in the top of the ninth, Tulimero hit a two-out three-run home run over the left field wall to give the Cougars a 9-6 lead going to the bottom of the ninth.

Jose Torrealba returned to the mound for the second time in the day to close out the victory that would send the Cougars to the Sunday championship game, and he retired all three batters he faced in the ninth after the hard luck loss in the first game walk-off loss.

Houston used seven pitchers in game two . . . Maddux Miller, Jackson Dannelley, Logan Clayton, and Torrealba all pitched a scoreless inning or more . . . Cameron Prayer went three innings at a crucial point and really helped stabilize things after a rough opening frame.

“You know, obviously any win is momentum,” Tulimero said after the game. “But we have a saying on this team, ‘if you sleep on the win, you’ll wake up to a loss.’ We’re gonna get in the clubhouse, celebrate a bit, flush it, come back tomorrow looking to win the championship.”

Houston will face East Carolina on Sunday morning, at 11am CT . . . A win on Sunday means a trip to a Regional next weekend, while a loss means the end of the season.

Houston Walks-Off Memphis; Advances to Saturday at the AAC

The Cougars celebrate the walk-off win in shallow right field on Thursday in Clearwater (Photo credit: American Athletic Conference/Mary Holt)

Houston kept their season going by defeating Memphis 8-7 in the bottom of the ninth inning in Clearwater on Thursday night in the American Athletic Conference Championship.

Brandon Uhse (4-for-5) hit the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning over the wall in deep left-center . . . Alex Lopez (4-for-6) doubled down the left field line in front of Anthony Tulimero who hit a monster home run to left-center and the Cougars led 3-0 before an out had been recorded in the inning.

The Cougars added a run in the second inning when Lopez, attempting to steal second base, was caught in a rundown allowing Uhse to score from third base.

After the Tigers scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning, Uhse and Lopez led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single and a double, respectively . . . Tulimero then delivered a double into left-center field to push the Cougars lead back up to four runs, 6-2.

A four-run top of the sixth inning tied the game at six as the Cougars used three different pitchers to get through the frame . . . Memphis then took a 7-6 lead in the top of the sixth inning.

The Cougars tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning when a throwing error at third base allowed Brandon Burckel to score when the ball bounced into the Houston dugout.

Still tied at seven in the bottom of the ninth inning, Burckel led off with a single into center field and then he stole second base on a pitch that was up-and-in and delayed the Tiger catcher from making a throw to second base . . . Uhse was intentionally walked before a Lopez sacrifice fly to right field moved Burkcel to third base . . . Tulimero was the second intentional walk of the inning, which loaded the bases . . . Santiago Garcia laced a one-out single down the third base line to drive in Burckel from third base for the winning run as the Cougars walked it off 8-7.

The Cougars used six pitchers in the victory. Logan Clayton, Cameron Prayer, and Jose Torrealba all pitched scoreless relief . . . Houston out-hit Memphis nineteen to twelve in the game, and eight different Cougars had base hits . . . Houston continues to play solid defensively and did not commit an error on Thursday, while Memphis committed two errors.

“In that moment, it’s just going back to being a little kid,” Garcia said after the game. “Getting in situations like that, it’s fun. It’s really just taking a deep breath, enjoying the moment, trying to put a good swing on a ball, and whatever happens, happens.”

Head coach Todd Whitting has continued to reiterate that there are no roles right now, he and his staff are simply choosing players who they think can get the job done in certain situations, which is another way of saying it’s all hands on deck right now.

The Cougars now have a day off on Friday and will play their next game on early Saturday afternoon when they will face the winner of a late Friday afternoon matchup between Memphis and UCF . . . If Houston stumbles at any point, they know right now they have the luxury of needing to be defeated twice to be eliminated.

Houston Opens Final Home Series with 9-6 Win

Ryan Hernandez bats in the second inning Friday night against UCF

The Houston Cougars defeated UCF 9-6 on Friday night at Schroeder Park, and they had to erase an early four run deficit to do it.

Houston faced an uncharacteristic 4-0 first inning deficit before they even came to bat on Friday night, but as often has been the case with the 2022 Cougars, they played nine innings of baseball and found a way to win.

Cameron Nickens led off the bottom of the second inning with a ground-rule double into right field . . . Ryan Hernandez (2-for-2) followed with a home run to center field that split the Texas and United States flags beyond the wall and the deficit was cut in half, 4-2.

Anthony Tulimero led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single and Nickens followed with a single, his second hit of the ballgame . . . Hernandez followed with his second home run of the game, a shot to left-center field, and Houston led 5-4 . . . For Hernandez the two homers were his fourth and fifth in the last five games, and his tenth and eleventh of the season.

One out later Malachi Lott tripled to center field . . . Brandon Uhse lined a two-out single to left field and the Houston lead increased to 6-4 going to the fifth inning.

Logan Clayton took the mound in the fifth inning with two runners on base and no outs . . . One run would score, but a sacrifice fly to center field turned wild on a throw that got past Zach Arnold at third base as the base runner was trying to tag up from first base to third base . . . Clayton was backing up third base and dove on the loose ball in front of the Cougars dugout, as the runner made for home, Clayton got up and fired a dart to Tulimero at home plate to catch the runner and end the frame with Houston leading 6-5.

Maddux Miller entered the game in the seventh inning with two down and got a swinging strike out to end the frame.

Ben Sears took the mound for the eighth inning protecting a one-run lead and retired the Knights in order, striking out two.

Leading by a run in the bottom of the eighth, Hernandez was walked for his second straight plate appearance, with one out . . . Ian McMillan doubled into the left field corner to put runners on second and third with one out . . . Santiago Garcia, pinch-hitting for Lott, swung at the first pitch he saw and unloaded on the baseball deep to left-center field for a three-run home run and a 9-5 Houston lead.

Houston benefited from the insurance runs because a two-out solo home run for UCF in the ninth inning made it 9-6, before Sears finished off the Knights and earned his twelfth save of the season . . . Clayton improved his record to 6-3.

With East Carolina winning on Friday night, the Pirates hold a two game edge over the Cougars, who continue to occupy the second spot in the standings, now two games ahead of UCF.

The Cougars (34-16) and the Knights continue the series on Saturday when they play again at Schroeder Park, first pitch will be at 6:30pm . . . Kyle LaCalameto will be on the mound for Houston.

Houston Takes Series in Wichita, Stands Alone in Second in American

Houston closed out their weekend series at Wichita State on Sunday

Houston took their second straight conference road series with an 11-8 win over Wichita State in Wichita on Sunday.

With two outs in the top of the first inning, Alez Lopez extended the inning when he singled to reach base . . . Anthony Tulimero then homered to left field to give the Cougars an early 2-0 lead.

Over the first two innings, the Shockers scored three runs to take a 3-2 lead into the third inning.

Brandon Burckel walked and Brandon Uhse singled to set the table in the top of the third inning for Houston . . . Lopez singled home a run before Tulimero was hit by a pitch to load the bases . . . Cameron Nickens and Ryan Hernandez each singled home a run . . . Ian McMillan doubled to the wall in left field to drive in another run.

A fielder’s choice on a batted ball by Santiago Garcia resulted in a rundown between third base and home plate, as Garcia made for second base, the throw to attempt to get him out was well wide of the base and a sixth and final run scored in the frame and Houston led 8-3.

Houston starter Nathan Medrano took the game into the third inning and gave way to Logan Clayton with two outs in the inning.

Still leading 8-7 in the sixth inning, a lead off walk to Hernandez got the inning started  . . . Two walks and a fielder’s choice put runners on base for Uhse who delivered a two RBI single . . . Arnold drove in the third run of the inning on a ground out to third base and Houston took an 11-7 lead.

Ben Sears entered the game in the fifth inning with two outs in relief of Clayton and pitched the final 4 1/3 innings of the game, only surrendering a run on a solo home run with two outs in the ninth inning . . . Sears improved to 7-2 on the year with the win.

In a reversal of what happened in 2021, where the Shockers took seven of eight against the Cougars, Houston won four of six contests this year . . . The Cougars are now alone in second place in the American Athletic Conference, behind only East Carolina, with two big weekend series remaining . . . The Cougars will face UCF at Schroeder Park next weekend, they lead the Knights by one game, and then Houston closes out the regular season the following weekend in Greenville against East Carolina.

The Cougars return home on Sunday evening and will face Sam Houston State on Tuesday at Constellation Field in Sugar Land in the third and final game of the 2022 Don Sanders Cup, which Houston won in April after taking the first two games of the series . . . First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 6:30pm in Sugar Land.

Houston Takes Silver Glove Series with 8-2 Win

Brandon Burckel bats in the second inning against Rice on Wednesday

Houston captured the Silver Glove Series against Rice with a 6-2 victory over the Owls at Schroeder Park on Tuesday night.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Ryan Hernandez (3-for-4) and Ian McMillan (3-for-3) hit back-to-back singles to reach base . . . Brandon Burckel (2-for-3) delivered a two-out single into left to score Hernandez and tie the game.

Still tied in the bottom of the third, Anthony Tulimero grounded to third base for what should have been the final out of the inning, but the throw was low and the first baseman could not make a clean catch, so Tulimero reached on the error . . . Cameron Nickens with a single to center and Tulimero reached third base to put runners on the corners . . . Hernandez followed with a double into left field that drove in both runners to give the Cougars a 3-1 lead.

Ian McMillan then hit a home run to left field, his seventh of the season, and Houston led 5-1 going to the fourth inning.

Colby Casey replaced Houston starter Logan Clayton in the sixth inning . . . Casey was followed by Cameron Prayer and Maddux Miller over the next two innings.

Houston added a run in the sixth inning after Burckel led off the frame with a double and moved to third base on a wild pitch . . . One out later, Zach Arnold grounded out to shortstop and scored Burckel.

McMillan doubled to lead off the bottom of the eighth, his third hit of the night . . . The straight walks followed and a single to right by Arnold scored two more runs and the Cougars led 8-2.

Jose Torrealba pitched a scoreless ninth inning, retiring all three batters he faced, to close out the win which gave the Cougars the Silver Glove Series for the first time since 2018 . . . Clayton improved to 3-3 this year with the win. 

Houston (30-15) packs up and hits the road for another weekend road trip . . . The Cougars will resume conference action on Friday at Wichita State against the Shockers . . . First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6pm.

Houston Takes Tulane Series with 10-9 Win

Derrick Cherry opens up the Saturday finale against Tulane

Houston took advantage of a nine run inning on Saturday afternoon to claim their second conference series win in three attempts with a 10-9 victory over Tulane.

The Green Wave jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead with the help of two home runs in the opening frame . . . While Houston was kept off the board in the meantime, Tulane added a run in the fourth and Houston went to the bullpen.

Houston got a run in the fourth when Cameron Nickens (2-for-3) doubled to the wall in right-center field and scored Anthony Tulimero from first base, but Houston trailed 4-1.

Logan Clayton took the mound in the fourth and also handled the fifth, striking out two batters while Tulimero caught another runner trying to steal second base.

The Cougars then exploded in the fifth inning . . . A two-out double to left-center field by Zach Arnold (3-for-5) scored two runs before Alex Lopez smoked a ball toward second base that the fielder had no chance on, but the ball made contact with him and lost momentum as it rolled into right field allowing Arnold to score from second to tie the game at four.

Tulimero singled and a walk to Nickens loaded the bases for Ryan Hernandez . . . Hernandez (3-for-4) drove a ball to left field that was mis-played by the left fielder which allowed the bases to clear and Hernandez ended up at second base with a double . . . Samuel Tormos (2-for-3) followed with his second single of the inning, this one drove in Hernandez from second base . . . Ian McMillan then homered to left field for the second day in a row and the Cougars led 10-4 having scored nine runs in the inning with two outs.

Ben Sears took the mound with two outs in the sixth inning and got a strike out to end the frame . . . Sears stayed in the game to record the final ten outs and despite allowing a pair of runs in the eighth inning, closed out the 10-9 victory to earn his seventh save of the season, while Clayton took the win and improved to 2-3.

The Houston offense scored ten or more runs in back-to-back games for the fourth time this season . . . Five different Houston batters had multiple hits in the Saturday game.

The Cougars are off until Tuesday when they will welcome Houston Baptist to Schroeder Park for a midweek contest . . . First pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Houston Wins 20th Game of 2022, Retains Don Sanders Cup

Tuesday night’s first pitch from Logan Clayton against Sam Houston State

The Houston Cougars retained possession of the Don Sanders Cup for another year after a late rally in a back-and-forth game, eventually winning 8-6 on Tuesday night. The win over Sam Houston State did two other things: It kept Houston a perfect 8-0 in midweek games this year, and it gave the Cougars their 20th win of the season after they won 19 games a season ago.

After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, the Cougars tied the game in the bottom of the inning when Anthony Tulimero grounded out to short allowing Zach Arnold scored from third base.

The Cougars took a brief lead in the third inning when Ryan Hernandez plated Alex Lopez with a two out single.

Logan Clayton started for Houston and handled the first three innings of work in what seemed like a bullpen game as the Cougars used six pitchers after Clayton, including: Jose Torrealba, Jackson Dannelley, Cameron Prayer, Taylor Parrett, and Kyle LaCalameto.

The Bearkats tied the game in the top of the fourth and took a 3-2 in the top of the fifth.

With two outs and runners on second and third, Malachi Lott put down a bunt toward short on a perfect line that no fielder was close to as Lott crossed first base, and Arnold scored the tying run easily from third base.

Still tied in the sixth, Brandon Burckel reached base on a one out bunt single . . . With two outs in the inning, Arnold landed a ball on Elgin Street, a home run measuring 411 feet, and the Cougars had a 5-3 advantage . . . Arnold was 3-for-5 on Tuesday night.

Sam Houston State scored three runs over the seventh and eighth innings to take a 6-5 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Brandon Uhse hit a three-run home run with one out to put Houston in front 8-6 . . . Ben Sears who handled the eighth inning, set down the Bearkats in order in the ninth inning to close out the victory.

Houston now has a couple of days off before opening up another American Athletic Conference weekend series on Friday, this time in Cincinnati . . . First pitch on Friday is set for 4pm.

Cougars Tame Panthers 13-1 Ahead of Conference Play

Logan Clayton gets the game started against the Panthers Tuesday at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars remained a perfect 7-0 in midweek games this season as they won 13-1 against Prairie View A&M on Tuesday before opening conference play this weekend.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Alex Lopez led off the inning with a double to the wall in left-center field . . . Anthony Tulimero then hit the first pitch he saw over the left field wall to put the Cougars in front by a run . . . Ryan Hernandez followed with a double to left field two pitches later . . . One out later, Ian McMillan flied out to center field and scored Hernandez to extend the Houston lead to 3-1.

Houston added a run in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI single by Zach Arnold and another run in the seventh to take a 5-1 lead . . . The Cougars put the game away in an eight run eighth inning where the Cougars collected eights hits, the big blow was a two out 416 foot home run to left by Hernandez, who was 3-for-4 in the game.

Logan Clayton started for the Cougars and handled the first two innings and allowed the only Panthers run of the game . . . The Houston bullpen sent six pitchers to the mound after Clayton, and no one surrendered a run . . . Taylor Parrett was impressive over two innings in which he struck out four of the six outs he recorded . . . Colby Casey, Jackson Dannelley, Cameron Prayer, Derrick Cherry, and Malachi Lott all pitched one inning in relief and 

Lott, batting lead off on Tuesday night, was 3-for-4 and reached base when he was hit by a pitch . . . Lott was part of the eighth inning onslaught when he doubled to the wall in center to drive in two runs . . . Another freshman in the lineup, Brandon Buckel, has improved quite a bit over the last couple of weeks after some early season struggles, he was 2-for-4 on Tuesday night and is now hitting .235 . . . Dylan Post was behind the plate on Tuesday, with Tulimero batting cleanup, and Post picked up his first two base hits of the season in a 2-for-5d effort.

Houston won 13-1 and knocked out nineteen hits against Panther pitching which sets a new high for the season, passing by two hits their previous season high from their game against UTRGV in February.

Houston’s pitching was a point of pride after the game for head coach Todd Whitting. “Very excited about the continued progress of our pitching staff,” Whitting said. “I feel like we have five solid starters fighting for three spots on the weekend. The back end of the bullpen led by Ben Sears has been outstanding.” Whitting added, “It’s great to see that unit come together under Coach Bunn”

The Cougars (17-8) have a couple of days off before they start conference play on Friday when they host the Wichita State Shockers for a weekend series, the first of six games against the Shockers this season . . . That first pitch at Schroeder Park is set for 6:30pm.

Houston Drops Middle Game to Western Carolina

Anthony Tulimero doubles in the second inning Friday night at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougar offense that produced thirteen runs on Friday night was significantly less productive on Saturday night at Schroeder Park as they fell to Western Carolina, 6-3.

The Catamounts led 2-0 after scoring a run in the first and another in the second . . . The Cougars got on the board in the bottom of the second when a wild pitch plated Anthony Tulimero from third.

Down by a run in the bottom of the third, Zach Arnold led off the inning with a walk, and the Catamounts immediately went to the bullpen . . . Arnold then stole second and third, which allowed him to score moments later on a wild pitch while Ryan Hernandez was at-bat to tie the game.

Western Carolina got the lead right back by adding a run in the fourth and adding two in the sixth and one in the eighth to extend their lead to 6-2.

The Cougars were unable to manufacture much offense on Saturday night, the team had three hits through seven innings before Zach Arnold led off the bottom of the eighth with a mammoth home run to deep left-center to get Houston to within a run, 6-3.

The Cougars used seven pitchers on Saturday night, notably, Jackson Dannelley tossed a scoreless inning after inheriting a runner on base after a lead off walk, it is another good sign for Dannelley as he works his way back from an injury on opening weekend . . . Logan Clayton tossed a scoreless inning for the second night in a row . . . And Derrick Cherry, off of his career high 121 pitch outing on Tuesday night, pitched a scoreless inning in what is the equivalent of a bullpen session in between appearances . . . Nathan Medrano was tagged with the loss but only allowed two earned runs over five innings with nine strike outs.

The Catamounts 6-3 win Saturday evened the series which sets up Sunday’s finale as the rubber match . . . Houston had four base hits in the contest, notable there is that Brandon Uhse did not have a hit, so his 18 game hit streak comes to an end in the loss.

Houston and Western Carolina close out the weekend series on Sunday at Schroeder Park . . . First pitch is scheduled for 1pm, while no announcement has been made yet as to the starting pitcher on Sunday, expect to see Kyle LaCalameto take the mound for the Cougars.