Regular Season Ends with Loss, Conference Tourney Begins Tuesday Night

Jose Torrealba threw two innings of scoreless relief Saturday at East Carolina

Houston fought until the end on Saturday afternoon, but fell 3-2 in ten innings to East Carolina to close out the regular season schedule ahead of the conference tournament next week.

After a double play cleared the bases in the top of the second inning, Santiago Garcia reached base with a single into center field . . . Malachi Lott then bounced a ball high and over the outstretched first baseman for a double, moving Garcia to third base . . . Samuel Benjamin followed with a double to right-center field plating both runners and Houston led 2-0 after three straight two-out hits.

The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the eighth when back-to-back doubles by the Pirates tied the game.

Still tied in the bottom of the tenth inning, the Pirates took advantage of a one-out double when an infield single allowed the winning run to round third base and score safely at home for the 3-2 win.

Neither team committed an error in the contest, as both finish the season ranked high in defensive percentage . . . The Pirates only out-hit the Cougars by one, nine to eight.

Houston will stay in Greenville tonight and then will travel to Clearwater, Florida on Sunday . . . The Cougars do not yet know their first opponent in the conference tournament, but they do know they will play the final game of the day on Tuesday which will sure last late into the evening.

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Houston Loses Opener in Greenville, Conference Seed Still Unknown

Brandon Uhse takes a lead off first base against East Carolina on Thursday

The Houston Cougars could not stop their current slide as they fell to East Carolina 8-4 in Greenville, North Carolina on Thursday night.

Houston opened its final weekend of the regular season with the conference opponent a day earlier than is typical due to the fact that the American Athletic Conference tournament begins in Clearwater, Florida on Tuesday morning.

Ian McMillan led off the top of the third inning with a single just over a stretched out second baseman into shallow right-center . . . Malachi Lott added an infield single on a high bouncer beyond the reach of the Pirates first baseman and by the time a throw was ready to be made, no one was at first base to receive the throw as Lott sped his way down the line . . . Brandon Burckel put down a textbook sacrifice bunt that drew in the third baseman, who was just able to get Burckel at first . . . Brandon Uhse then delivered a one out single into left-center to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead.

Zach Arnold then drove a 2-2 pitch off a light pole beyond the left field wall for a two-run home run and a 4-1 lead . . . The home run forced the Pirates to their bullpen in the top of the third with just one out.

That was the end of the scoring for the Cougars on this night as the Pirates would tag Houston pitching for seven runs over the final two-thirds of the game to eventually take the 8-4 victory.

UCF, which started the night a game ahead of Houston in conference play, also lost on Thursday night, so the Cougars could possibly get the two-seed, but are guaranteed no worse than the three-seed.

The Cougars (34-20, 13-9 AAC) and the Pirates face each other again on Friday in Greenville . . . Houston has not announced a starting pitcher as of yet . . . Game time is scheduled for 5:30pm.

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.

Cougars Erase Early Deficit, Win at Wichita State 7-4

Jaycob Deese faces Wichita State in the seventh inning on Friday

Houston opened up their weekend series in Wichita, Kansas on Friday with a 7-4 win over the Wichita State Shockers and finally exacted some revenge on an recent foe.

The Cougars of 2021 and 2022 had been unable to figure out Wichita State starter Jace Kaminska in three games last season and one game earlier this season . . . Over that stretch, Kaminska was 4-0 and had allowed just two runs in 32 1/3 innings, which includes a contest in the American Athletic Conference Tournament in Clearwater, Florida last May.

Trailing 3-0 in the top of the third inning, Brandon Burkel led off the frame with a single and then stole second base . . . Alex Lopez hit a two-out double into right-center to plate Burckel and cut the deficit to 3-1.

Houston starter Jaycob Deese faced the minimum in the third inning, getting a pickoff at first on a runner who had singled with two outs . . . Deese then faced just three batters in both the fourth and fifth innings, requiring just nine pitches in the fifth.

Lopez singled to lead off the sixth inning with the Cougars still trailing 3-1 . . . Anthony Tulimero followed with a walk, and Cameron Nickens was hit in the helmet by a pitch to load the bases with no outs . . . Ian McMillian batted a ball to deep short and before the ball could break free and run into left field, the Shockers shortstop stopped the ball on a dive, but he had no play as a run crossed the plate, the bases remained loaded and the Cougars trailed by a run.

Malachi Lott lined a ball down the right field line all the way to the wall to clear the bases and the Cougars took a 5-3 lead on the double by Lott.

Kaminska left the game after six innings pitched, having allowed five runs.

Ahead 5-4 in the top of the eighth inning, Tulimero led off the inning with a fly ball to center that looked like a sure out, but it was dropped by the center-fielder and Tulimero stopped at second base . . . One out later, Ryan Hernandez hit his seventh home run of the year over the wall in deep left-center field to push the Houston lead to 7-4.

Deese gave way to Ben Sears to start the bottom of the eighth inning with the three run lead . . . Deese did not allow a walk in his seven innings, and in uncharacteristic fashion, only struck out one batter.

Sears handled the final two innings, and while he did not look his sharpest (he walked two and hit a batter), it was nice to see the right-hander work through some adversity and record the six records he was tasked with getting . . . Deese improved to 5-2 on the year with the win and Sears picked up his tenth save.

Head coach Todd Whitting commented on his team coming back from a 3-0 deficit to take the road victory on Friday night, but also of the outstanding defense played behind his pitchers throughout the game. 

“Proud of our offensive unit tonight,” Whitting said after the game. “We had a great plan against one of the top pitchers in our league. We did a tremendous job of grinding out at bats and playing great defense.”

The Cougars and the Shockers are back in action on Saturday afternoon in Wichita . . . Kyle LaCalameto will be on the mound for the Cougars . . . The scheduled first pitch is at 2pm.

Houston Dominates USF 13-2

Zach Arnold is greeted by teammates after his second inning home run on Saturday

The Cougars utilized a seven run fourth inning to blow out South Florida 13-2 in Tampa on Saturday as Houston won for the second day in a row.

Scoreless in the top of the third inning, Brandon Uhse singled through the left side of the infield to reach base with two outs . . . Zach Arnold (4-for-5) followed with a home run to left field on a full-count pitch and Houston led 2-0 on Arnold’s eighth home run of the season.

A lead off walk to Ryan Hernandez was the beginning of a big fourth inning for the Cougars . . . Ian McMillan followed with a single to right field . . . After McMillan stole second base, Malachi Lott singled through the right side to drive in a run . . . Lott stole second base and was there when Brandon Burckel singled to left field two drive in two more runs and the Cougars led 5-0.

But the fourth inning kept going . . . After the Bulls went to the bullpen, Arnold doubled to left field to drive in his third run of the ballgame . . . Alex Lopez as the seventh batter of the inning, lifted a fly ball to center and drove in a run on the sacrifice fly . . . Cameron Nickens (2-for-3) capped the scoring with a two-run blast to left-center field, his fourth home run of the season, and Houston led 9-0 after the seven run fourth inning.

The Bulls scored a run in the fourth and another in the fifth, but the Cougars got those right back in the sixth inning . . . Arnold and Lopez les off the frame with singles . . . With two outs, Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly to right field and McMillan singled to shallow right and Houston again led by nine runs, 11-2.

Maddux Miller relieved Houston starter Kyle LaCalameto in the fifth inning with two outs to end the inning . . . Maddux also pitched a scoreless sixth inning.

Houston added two runs in the seventh, one on another sacrifice fly RBI by Lopez, and another when Anthony Tulimero singled, which also extended his reached-based streak to fourteen games, and the Cougars led 13-2.

Logan Clayton took the mound in the bottom of the seventh and retired all three batters he faced, striking out two, to end the ballgame at the end of the seventh because of the run rule . . . Clayton only threw seventeen pitches to end the game . . . Miller improves to 3-0 this season with the win.

The Cougars collected sixteen base hits in the seven inning game, including each starter, and the Cougars scored multiple runs in four different innings . . . Meanwhile, the trio of Houston arms limited the Bulls to just six hits while striking out nine.

Houston and South Florida have dodged the weather bullet, which rearranged the weekend schedule, thus far . . . If all goes as planned, the two teams will conclude their series on Sunday morning with another 9am central time first pitch . . . Expect Nathan Medrano to make the start for Houston as they go for the sweep.

Houston Wins Midweek Matchup, Three-Hits HBU

Nathan Medrano throws the first pitch against Houston Baptist on Tuesday

Houston continued its midweek success, improving to 9-1 this season, with a 4-2 win over Houston Baptist on Tuesday at Schroeder Park.

With the wind blowing up and out to left field for much of the game, scores could have been higher, but Houston got solid pitching from six pitchers to limit the Huskies to just three hits in the game . . . Tuesday starter Nathan Medrano set the tone early by retiring the first six batters he faced before Houston went to the bullpen.

The two teams were scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Cougars finally broke through . . . Alex Lopez (2-for-4) led off with a double and was standing on third when a passed ball allowed him to score the first run . . . Ian McMillan then hit a one-out single into left field to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.

Kerry Wright and Maddux Miller followed Medrano on the mound and both tossed scoreless innings . . . Malachi Lott pitched 1 2/3 innings and Taylor Parrett recorded an out before the Cougars went to Jackson Dannelley . . . Combined, the Houston staff only allowed three hits in the contest.

Houston Baptist got its first run in the sixth inning to cut their deficit to a run.

The Cougars added two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning . . . Brandon Burckel singled home a run before Santiago Garcia’s sacrifice fly RBI made it 4-1 going to the ninth inning.

Houston Baptist picked up a two-out run in the ninth on a solo home run, but it was not enough as Dannelley, who was great over three innings, closed the door on the Huskies and preserved the 4-2 win . . . Miller picked up the win and improved to 2-0 this season.

Freshman Tab Tracy made his first collegiate start on Tuesday and responded by going 4-for-4, which included his first hit as a collegian.

The Cougars have two days off before they host the Memphis Tigers for a weekend conference series . . . This is only one of two weekend series at Schroeder Park left on the schedule this season . . . Friday’s first pitch is at 6:30pm, expect to see Jaycob Deese on the mound for Houston.

Tulane Edges Houston 11-10 to Even Series

Kyle LaCalameto pitches against Tulane Saturday at Schroeder Park

Houston was edged out 11-10 by Tulane on Friday night to even their weekend conference series at Schroeder Park.

Tulane took a quick 2-0 in the opening frame to get the Friday evening game started.

Houston started the bottom of the second inning with three straight singles, the third was by Ryan Hernandez driving home Anthony Tulimero who had led off the inning with a single, Houston trailed 2-1 going to the third inning.

After a lead off walk to Brandon Burckel to begin the third inning, Brandon Uhse hit his seventh home run of the season over the left field wall to give the Cougars a 3-2 lead.

Trailing 4-3 in the fifth, Uhse (3-for-4) led off the inning with his second home run of the night, and his third in two nights, to tie the game.

Houston starter Kyle LaCalameto exited the game after five innings of work as his pitch count had reached over the century mark . . . Cameron Prayer took the mound for the sixth inning and retired the side in order in his only inning of work . . . Both LaCalameto and Prayer were long out of the game when this one was decided, so neither factored in the decision.

Still tied in the bottom of the sixth, Malachi Lott worked a lead off walk to open the frame . . . Ian McMillan then hammered the third pitch he saw over the wall in left field to give the Cougars a two-run advantage . . . With two outs in the inning, Alex Lopez singled to left field to bring home Brandon Burckel and Houston led 7-4.

Tied at seven in the top of the eighth, Tulane got to the Houston bullpen for three runs on a pair of home runs and took a 10-7 lead.

Houston answered right back in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game . . . After three walks loaded the bases with two outs, a wild pitch got the Cougars a run, but they still trailed by two . . . With runners at second and third, Tulimero (2-for-3) singled up the middle to tie the game at ten going to the ninth.

The Green Wave manufactured a run in the ninth to take an 11-10 lead which would stand up as the final score.

Houston and Tulane wrap up the weekend series on Saturday when the two teams meet for the deciding game with a 1pm first pitch at Schroeder Park.

Houston, Deese Win 6-3 Over Tulane

Jaycob Deese pitched Thursday against Tulane

Houston took the first lead of the game on Thursday night against Tulane at Schroeder Park and went on to win 6-3 behind the pitching of Jaycob Deese.

Tulane head coach Travis Jewett knew before the game that the Green Wave had a huge task in front of them in facing Deese. Jewett said pre-game, “Deese tonight will be a very good challenge for us.” He was right.

Houston got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning on a double-steal, as Anthony Tulimero broke for second and drew a throw from Tulane’s catcher, Alex Lopez broke from third base . . . The throw toward home plate sailed high and went to the backstop allowing Lopez to score the first run of the game and allowing Tulimero to reach second base.

Tied at one in the bottom of the second, Malachi Lott got the inning started with a single to third base where Lott’s speed forced a bad throw to first base, and when Lott finally stopped running, he was standing at third base . . . Samuel Benjamin doubled down the right field line to score Lott . . . Brandon Uhse then singled up the middle to score two more runs and the Cougars led, 4-1.

Uhse led off the bottom of the fifth inning by hitting a home run over the left field wall . . . A walk to Zach Arnold in the next spot was the end of the evening for Tulane’s starter Grant Siegal . . . Arnold reached third base when a pick-off attempt got by the first baseman . . . One out later a ground out to second base scored Arnold and increased the Houston lead to 6-2.

Siegal, a freshman right-hander, entered the contest 6-0 with a 1.29 ERA on the season . . . Siegal had allowed six runs in forty-two innings coming into the game, he left after four innings on Thursday having allowed five runs.

Lopez made a catch in right field to end the sixth that words cannot justify . . . A fly ball was headed toward the wall . . . Lopez, with his back completely to infield, reached out in front of him and made contact with the ball as it headed for the ground . . . Lopez knocked the ball into the air and then caught it a fraction of a second later to end the frame and the Tulane scoring threat.

Deese left after the seventh inning having allowed just two runs . . . Ben Sears came in to start the eighth inning and pitched the ninth to close out the 6-3 win on a double-play.

Deese improved to 3-2 on the season with the victory.

Houston and Tulane get together again on Friday night at Schroeder Park for the middle game of the weekend series . . . Kyle LaCalameto will take the mound for the Cougars, he will throw the first pitch at 6:30pm.

Houston Loses Sunday, Evens Conference Record

Ryan Hernandez bats with two runners on base Sunday in Cincinnati

Houston took an early lead but was unable to stop the explosive Cincinnati offense on Sunday as the Cougars lost 9-6.

Two quick outs began the opening inning for the Cougars, but then Alex Lopez doubled and that was followed by a walk to Cameron Nickens . . . With a 3-0 count on him, Ryan Hernandez had the green light to swing, and he put a charge into the next pitch and sent it 441 feet over the wall in left field for an early 3-0 Houston lead.

Cincinnati got a run back in the bottom of the first before taking a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the second after the bases were loaded with the assistance of two walks and a hit batter.

In the top of the third, Malachi Lott led off the inning with a walk and one out later Lopez homered to give the Cougars a 5-4 lead . . . Lopez (3-for-5) finished the game a triple shy of the cycle and the home run was his second of the weekend.

Ian McMillan hit a one-out double in the fourth inning ahead of a single by Dylan Post . . . Brandon Burckel then put down a bunt single that was indefensible to plate McMillan and extend the Houston lead, 6-4.

Right-hander Maddux Miler took the mound in the bottom of the fourth with Houston pitchers struggling to eliminate free passes and Cincinnati runs . . . Miller pitched a valuable two innings to get the Cougars into the sixth inning . . . Houston pitchers walked six batters on Sunday, in addition to hitting two batters with pitches.

Ben Sears pitched the final 2 1/3 innings without allowing a baserunner.

Trail 9-6 in the ninth, Houston put two runners on base to start the inning, but a pop-up and a caught-stealing extinguished hope before a looking strike out ended the game and gave Cincinnati a home series win . . . The Cougars are now 3-3 in conference play and will take on Tulane in Houston next weekend.

The Cougars will return home now and have Monday off before they welcome UTRGV on Tuesday night for the second time this season . . . The first pitch at Schroeder Park is set for 6:30pm.

Cougars Grab Early Lead, Win at Cincinnati 5-4

Alex Lopez bats against Cincinnati on Friday

Houston took its show on the road for only the third full weekend road trip of the season and took game one in Cincinnati 5-4 on Friday.

After having the lead off batter retired, Houston responded with five straight hits in which four runs scored and Cincinnati was down 4-0 before they even came to bat . . . Alex Lopez’s two-run home run was the biggest hit of the inning, with Ryan Hernandez and Malachi Lott (2-for-4) also driving in a run each.

Right-hander Jaycob Deese started on the mound for Houston and allowed four runs over six innings, he was not hit hard, he gave up runs in three different innings . . . Two of the runs allowed scored on a mis-played ball in left field when a dying liner got past the diving fielder.

Leading 4-2 in the top of the third, the Cougars added a run when an infield hit by Lott forced a throwing error on the Bearcats third baseman allowed Anthony Tulimero (2-for-4) to score from first base while Lott stopped at second base and Houston led 5-2.

Deese took his exit after six innings leading 5-4 with his pitch count over one hundred and Kyle LaCalameto took the mound . . . LaCalameto pitched two innings, retiring all six batters he faced allowing none to reach base before Ben Sears entered the game to work the ninth inning . . . Sears threw eleven pitches in the ninth to retire all three Cincinnati batters, striking out two of them to close out the Houston road win . . . Sears earned his sixth save and Deese got the win to improve to 2-2 on the season.

The Cougars and the Bearcats pick it back up tomorrow afternoon in Cincinnati . . . First pitch will take place at 3pm.