Early Lead Propels Houston to 9-3 Win at Tulane

Houston is in New Orleans this weekend to face Tulane

Houston scored in each of the first four innings to build a nine run lead on their way to another series-opening win Friday night in New Orleans against Tulane.

Brandon Uhse got things going in the opening frame with a leadoff double . . . Zach Arnold then drove the next pitch deep to left-center field for a home run, his team-leading eleventh four-bagger of the season . . . Justin Murray (2-for-4) then singled but advanced to second base on a careless defensive throw to the infield . . . Cameron Nickens (2-for-4) then singled home Murray and the Cougars had a 3-0 first inning lead.

Ian McMillan (2-for-3) singled to reach base with one out in the top of the second inning . . . Drew Bianco followed with a towering double off the wall in right-center field to put runners at second and third base . . . Uhse then drove a fly ball deep enough to right field for McMillan to tag-up from third base and the sacrifice fly gave Houston a 4-0 lead.

Murray led off the top of the third inning by getting hit by a pitch . . . Nickens then singled up the middle . . . Anthony Tulimero then bunted for a single to load the bases with no outs . . . One out later, Brandon Burckel drove a ball deep to left-center field that was caught by the center fielder and scored Murray from third base . . . With runners on second and third base, McMillian delivered a two RBI single to right-center field and Houston increased its lead to 7-0.

Tulane finally went to the bullpen with one out in the top of the fourth inning after a single by Arnold, but the results after the change were much the same . . . Murray greeted the new pitcher with a bomb the opposite way, over the right field wall for a two-run home run and a 9-0 Houston lead.

Walks in the bottom of the fifth inning led to three runs for the Green Wave as Houston pitching had difficulty finding the strike zone . . . The third pitcher of the inning, Maddux Miller, was finally able to end the frame and the Cougars led 9-3 . . . Miller was tremendous in his Friday outing going 1 2/3 innings and allowing Green Wave batters just one base hit.

Right-hander Braedyn Cunningham went the rest of the way in relief of Miller and was also outstanding . . . Cunningham threw three hitless, scoreless innings to close out the Friday night road win.

The Cougars and the Green Wave resume their weekend series Saturday at 6pm . . . Houston has not announced a starting pitcher for Saturday at this time.


Cougars Claim Silver Glove Series with 12 Inning Win at Rice

Brandon Uhse led off against Rice Tuesday at Reckling Park

It took twelve innings on Wednesday night at Reckling Park but Houston eventually took the game 8-5 and with it Silver Glove Series from Rice.

Brandon Uhse hit the second pitch of the game for a leadoff single . . . Zach Arnold followed with a single of his own in front of a walk to Alex Lopez to load the bases with no outs . . . A bases loaded walk to Anthony Tulimero gave Houston the early lead . . . A wild pitch brought another run across the plate to give Houston a 2-0 first inning lead.

Rice tied the game almost immediately to reset the game going to the second inning.

Thomas Lyssy led off the top of the fourth inning by reaching base on an error by the Rice second baseman . . . One out later, Drew Bianco hammered a ball to the wall in deep right-center field to score Lyssy from first base . . . Arnold singled home Bianco to give Houston a 4-2 lead.

A leadoff walk to Ian McMillan started the top of the sixth inning . . . Bianco was hit by a pitch to put the first two Cougars batters of the inning on base with no outs . . . Arnold grounded out to second base to move both runners into scoring position . . . McMillan then scored on a wild pitch to give the Cougars a 5-4 lead.

Rice rallied for a run in the ninth to force the game into extra innings.

After two scoreless innings in extras, the Cougars offense delivered a three-run top of the twelfth inning to put the game away . . . Pinch-hitter Cary Arbolida walked with one out to get things started . . . Tulimero then reached base on catcher’s interference . . . Murray then pulled a single into left field as pinch-runner Brandon Burckel was moving with the pitch allowing him to cross the plate easily as the go ahead run . . . Nickens singled to plate Tulimero and the Cougars led by two runs . . . With runners on the corners, a pick-off attempt at first base allowed Murray to steal home for an 8-5 lead.

Owen Woodward came in to handle the bottom of the twelfth inning . . . After allowing a leadoff double, Woodward struck out the next two batters swinging and the final batter looking to strand the runner at second base and give Houston the Silver Glove Series for another year . . . Most of the 2,060 patrons had vacated Reckling Park as the ballgame ran 4 hours and 20 minutes.

The two teams combined to use 21 pitchers in the twelve inning midweek contest, the Cougars themselves used ten arms. In addition to Murray and Woodward, Houston pitched Graysen Drezek, Braedyn Cunningham, Ryan Dollar, Braden Forsyth, Dan Wright, Brendan O’Donnell, Maddux Miller, and Kyle Ayers . . . Only Wright and Ayers pitched more than two innings, with Ayers showing up clutch in the tenth and eleventh innings . . . Ayers got the win and improved to 2-1 this season and Woodward earned his fourth save this year.

Houston will host Wichita State at Schroeder Park this weekend for their second conference matchup of the season . . . The Cougars and the Shockers are tied for first place in the conference right now, so this weekend will create separation one way or the other . . . First pitch Friday night is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Houston Wins Orlando Opener in 10 Innings

Malachi Lott led off for Houston against UCF on Friday night

Houston took the opener of their weekend conference series in Orlando with a 13-7 win over UCF on Friday in ten innings.

Houston only scored runs in three innings on Friday night, but they did it in bunches.

A two-out walk to Alex Lopez in the top of the first inning put a runner on base for catcher Anthony Tulimero . . . . Tulimero homered deep to left-center field and the Cougars took an early two-run lead.

Brandon Uhse (2-for-4) led off the top of the second inning with a home run to straight away center field . . . The flood gates opened after that.

Thomas Lyssy (3-for-5) immediately followed with a single, and then Ian McMillan doubled in front of a Drew Bianco single . . . A misplayed fielder’s choice on a grounder by Malachi Lott led to a run crossing the plate . . .  One out later Alex Lopez knocked a single to the opposite field to drive in Bianco and Lott and the Cougars led 7-0, chasing the Knights starting pitcher in just his second frame.

The Cougars did not score another run until the tenth inning.

Meanwhile, the Knights got four runs of their own in the bottom half of the second inning to keep the game close, trailing just 7-4 going to the third inning.

While Josh Ekness did not have his best night, he gave his teammates 5 2/3 innings on the mound and left just before a Knights two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning tied the game at seven . . . Ekness threw 121 pitches in the game.

Maddux Miller followed Ekness and tossed two innings allowing just one run . . . Brendan O’Donnell then followed Miller and tossed 1 1/3 innings with some tense moments, but he did not allow a run and stymied one potential game-winning threat.

In the top of the tenth innings, the Cougars started rolling once again . . . Tulimero led off the frame and was hit by a pitch . . . Justin Murray (3-for-5) followed with a single before both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch . . . Cameron Nickens was walked to load the bases in his first plate appearance of the game after replacing Uhse . . . Lyssy picked up his third hit of the night by punching a grounder through the drawn-in infield on the right side to drive in a run . . . Lott singled to left field to drive in two more Houston runs.

Zach Arnold then launched a 2-2 pitch out of the ballpark, over the Houston bullpen beyond the left field wall for a three-run home run and a 13-7 Cougars lead.

Murray took the mound for the ninth inning and he retired all three batters he faced on just thirteen pitches to close out the road victory and earn his sixth save of the season . . . O’Donnell was the winner and improved to 3-0 this season.

Houston had fifteen hits in the game and two batters walked and only left five runners on base . . . The Cougars pitching staff stranded nine Knights runners on base.

With Wichita State also winning on Friday night, the Cougars and the Shockers remain tied for the top spot in the conference standings, a full game ahead of East Carolina . . . Tulane and East Carolina had their game stopped due to the weather in the seventh inning with Tulane leading 9-6 . . . The Pirates and the Green Wave will attempt to finish the game on Saturday, before the two teams are scheduled to compete in a doubleheader . . . There is the potential for 21 innings of baseball in Greenville on Saturday.

Saturdays game between the Cougars and the Knights has been moved up to 11am CT because of the potential for bad weather in Orlando on Saturday night . . . While no pitcher has been announced yet, look for the Cougars to stick with what has worked since Paul Schmitz was sidelined and start Lott on the mound Saturday.

Cougars Blank Tigers; Ekness, Miller Combine for Shutout

Houston blanked Memphis 8-0 on Friday night to open up the conference road series behind a strong start by Josh Ekness and the relief effort of Maddux Miller.

The Houston offense went right to work in the opening frame of Fridays game . . . Zach Arnold doubled to reach base with one out and Alex Lopez immediately followed with a two-run home run to right field to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.

Drew Bianco (3-for-4) doubled home Brandon Burckel top of the second to make it 3-0 Houston.

Ekness left after six innings leading 8-0 having allowed just one hit to the Tigers.

Miller pitched the final three innings for Houston and did not allow the Tigers back into the game, giving up zero hits and zero run.

Houston and Memphis resume their series on Saturday with a first pitch scheduled for 4pm.

Cougars Win 14-3 Over Sam Houston, Even Sanders Cup

Houston hosted Sam Houston at Schroeder Park Tuesday night

The Houston Cougars evened the Don Sanders Cup series on Tuesday night with a dominant 14-3 victory over Sam Houston at Schroeder Park . . . The win was also the 400th career win for head coach Todd Whitting.

Houston went to the bullpen in the first inning already trailing 2-0 . . . Right-hander Braden Forsyth took the ball with two on base and one out and induced a double-play ground ball to end the inning without further damage.

The Cougars wasted no time changing the score . . . Zach Arnold (3-for-4) singled into right-center field to extend his reached-base streak to 29 games with one out . . . Alex Lopez followed with a double to the wall in right field to drive in Arnold all the way from first base . . . Brandon Uhse (3-for-4) tied the game with a single to right field before a RBI single by Justin Murray (3-for-4) gave Houston a 3-2 lead going to the second inning.

Forsyth was replaced on the mound with two out in the top of the fifth inning having pitched 4 1/3 quality innings, his longest out of the season, at a time when Houston needed to stop the hemorrhaging in the first inning.

With the game tied at three in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cougars mounted another big rally . . . Drew Bianco led off the frame with a walk . . . One out later, Arnold singled for the second time on the night . . . After a walk to Lopez to load the bases, Uhse doubled down the right field line to drive in two runs . . . A sacrifice fly RBI to left field off the bat of Anthony Tulimero (2-for-3) was followed by Murray’s second RBI single to right field in the game and Houston grabbed a 7-3 lead heading to the sixth inning.

With two runners on base and no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Malachi Lott doubled off the wall in right field to drive in one run . . . Arnold followed with his third single of the game to drive in two runs . . . Lopez and Uhse both followed with two RBI doubles . . . Murray, as the eighth batter of the frame, flew out to right field for the first out of the inning, but his sacrifice fly RBI made it 13-3 in favor of Houston.

The Cougars added a run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly to left field by Uhse to score Lott from third base and Houston led 14-3.

The Houston bullpen held the Bearkats offense to no runs and just one hit over the final five frames . . . Brendan O’Donnell, Maddux Miller, Malachi Lott, and Dan Wright all limited the potent Sam Houston lineup to preserve the victory . . . O’Donnell (2-0) retired all four batters he faced and earned the win . . . Miller retired the side in order in his frame and Lott struck out two Bearkats in his inning of work . . . Wright struck out the side in the top of the ninth inning.

The Houston win sets up a decisive third game to determine the winner of the 2023 Don Sanders Cup . . . The Cougars and the Bearkats will determine the winner of the Cup on May 16 at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.

Asked about his 400th win of his career, Whitting was gracious and directed credit for it to everyone but himself.

“400 wins come by being surrounded by great players, assistant coaches, fans, donors and an administration that has the same vision. I truly appreciate everyone that has the same passion that I have for University of Houston Baseball,” Whitting said.

Houston is off until they welcome South Florida to town for a conference series beginning on Friday . . . . The Cougars have won the first two conference series, first against East Carolina and then against Wichita State . . . First pitch at Schroeder Park will take place at 6:30pm.

Houston Opens Minnesota Series with 3-2 Win

Houston has traveled north to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers this weekend in Minneapolis where the wind chills are not likely to rise above freezing before the Cougars leave town on Sunday . . . The freezing weather partially accounts for why only 247 people attended Friday night’s 3-2 Houston victory.

The two teams are playing this weekend in the unusual baseball setup inside US Bank Stadium, the home of the Minnesota Vikings.

Right-hander Maddux Miller made his first career start on Friday night and was extremely effective, taking the game into the seventh inning while keeping the Golden Gophers off the scoreboard.

With the game still scoreless, Justin Murray (2-for-3) led off the top of the fifth inning with a triple to deep left-center field . . . After a walk to Brandon Burckel and then a steal of second base, Ian McMillan grounded out to shortstop to bring Murray across the plate . . . Drew Bianco then put down a perfect bunt on a squeeze play to score Burckel and give the Cougars a 2-0 advantage.

Still leading 2-0 in the top of the seventh, Brandon Uhse (2-for-4) led off the inning with a single and then stole second base . . . Murray then singled up the middle to plate Uhse and extend the Houston lead.

Miller departed with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning leaving two runners on base as he was right at 100 pitches, easily his longest outing in a Cougars uniform . . . Braden Forsyth took the mound to get the final out and end the seventh inning threat.

Back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the eighth inning got Minnesota to within a run . . . But Forsyth stayed in and recorded the six outs he needed to close out the 3-2 road victory. . . Miller improved to 2-0 with the win and Forsyth earned his first save as a Cougar.

Houston and Minnesota resume the weekend series on Saturday . . . Paul Schmitz will be on the mound for his second straight Saturday start . . . First pitch at US Bank Stadium is scheduled for 2pm.

Cougars Dominate Utes 14-5

Anthony Tulimero is greeted at home plate by teammates after a fourth inning home run on Friday

The Houston Cougars opened the 2023 Kleburg Bank Classic in Corpus Christi with an offensive explosion at Whataburger Field defeating the Utah Utes 14-5 on Friday afternoon.

After an Alex Lopez single gave Houston a 1-0 first inning lead, catcher Anthony Tulimero tripled to drive him in and the Cougars took a two-run lead before the Utes had even been up to bat.

The Cougars added two runs in the second inning and led 4-2 going into the fourth inning.

Lopez doubled to get the fourth inning scoring started, his third hit in three at-bats at that point . . . One out later, Tulimero followed with a two-run home run to left field and the Cougars took an 8-2 lead . . . It was Tulimero’s first home run of the season.

Brandon Burckel hit a two-out solo home run in the fifth inning . . . Cary Arbolida got a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh inning when Utah went to the bullpen in the middle of a Malachi Lott at-bat . . . Arbolida hit the first pitch he saw for a run-scoring double and the lead was extended to 10-2, the first time this season Houston scored double-digit runs.

Houston starter Cade Citelli was removed from the game during his third inning having allowed two runs and was hampered with five walks in 2 2/3 innings pitched . . . Maddux Miller took the ball to end the inning and stayed in to record 3 1/3 scoreless innings where he also did not allow a hit.

With the Cougars leading 10-5 in the top of the ninth inning, Drew Bianco got  his first hit in a Houston uniform, a three-run home run to left field . . . Justin Murray added an RBI and the Cougars took a 14-5 into the bottom of the frame where Owen Woodward closed out the game.

Tulimero went 3-for-4 with a walk in the contest and finished just a double shy of hitting for the cycle . . . Burckel tripled in the ninth inning, the Cougars second three-bagger of the game . . . Houston had hit just one home run in their previous four games, a Brandon Uhse solo home run last weekend against Cal, but the offense accounted for three of them in Friday’s victory

The Cougars return to action Saturday night when they face Texas A&M Corpus Christi . . . Expect to see left-hander Kyle LaCalameto make his second straight Saturday start in the game . . . First pitch in Corpus Christi is scheduled for 7pm.

Houston Drops Second Straight to Open Season

Kyle LaCalameto made his first start of the season Saturday night at Schroeder Park

The Cougars dropped their second straight game to open the season with a 5-3 loss to the Cal Bears on Saturday night at Schroeder Park.

Kyle LaCalameto made his first start of the 2023 season and was impressive over 5 2/3 innings allowing just one run on three hits . . . The sole run allowed by LaCalameto came in the sixth inning, his last inning of work.

Brandon Uhse launched a towering home run to left field that just cleared the fence to tie the game at a run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Maddux Miller saw his first game action of the season and threw a flawless 1 2/3 innings striking out one to get the Cougars from the seventh to the ninth inning.

Cal was leading 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning after scoring two runs in the seventh inning . . . Ian McMillan hit a two-out double to left field to tie the game at three heading to the ninth inning . . . The two runs were the biggest offensive inning for Houston in the first two games of the season.

The Bears added two runs off of Houston pitching in their half of the ninth inning to take a 5-3 lead which stood as the final score.

In the loss, Zach Arnold went 2-for-5, the only Cougar with multiple hits . . . Whereas in game one just two Cougars hit Cal pitching, eight Houston hitters earned hits on Saturday night.

Houston and Cal conclude their opening weekend series with a Sunday finale, first pitch is at noon . . . At this point the Cougars have not named their starting pitcher for the game.

Houston’s Season Ends in Clearwater in Championship Final

Maddux Miller pitches against ECU in Clearwater on Sunday (Photo credit: American Athletic Conference/Mary Holt)

The Houston Cougars saw their season come to end on Sunday afternoon in Clearwater as they fell 6-1 to East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference Championship final.

While East Carolina was able to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, the Cougars found no such luck with the Pirates pitching staff.

Freshman Cameron Nickens was 3-for-3 on Sunday afternoon and drove in the only Cougars run on a single in the top of the seventh inning . . . Nickens accounted for half of the Cougars six base hits in the contest.

Maddux Miller pitched 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen at a critical point in the game and he was outstanding, striking out five Pirates batters . . . Ben Sears followed Miller and was equally great, also over 2 2/3 innings where he did not allow a hit and struck out three batters.

Where Houston saw its season end on the second day of the AAC Championship in each of their last two appearances, the Cougars made it to the final game in 2022 and the very young Cougars team experienced what it takes to play big time, competitive baseball.

Ryan Hernandez played his final game as a Houston Cougar on Sunday, and just as he has been the epitome of class and hard work during his three years with the program, he was just as classy and prideful in his postgame comments.

“I’m very proud of this team,” Hernandez said. “I love being a Houston Cougar. When I first committed here, I committed as soon as I got the opportunity to commit here.”

Head coach Todd Whitting was still hopeful and positive about both the season and the future after the loss Sunday.

“This is still one of my favorite teams I’ve ever had,” Whitting said. “Coming off a tough year last year, just the unbelievable commitments to the program, to the University of Houston, and to what we were trying to do.”

“We got a couple of holes to fill going in to next year, I feel good about it. We start three freshmen every day, we got a ton of guys coming back. The future is bright at the University of Houston,” Whitting said.

Reflecting on some of the great times during his career at Houston, Hernandez said, “I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve had a great time here and I’m really appreciative of that.”

Hernandez was selected to the All-Tournament Team after Sunday’s game, along with teammates Jose Torrealba, Santiago Garcia, and Anthony Tulimero.

The Cougars finish the season 37-24. The 2022 offseason begins now.

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.