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 Walk Off Winners; Claim Conference Series

Houston celebrates Sunday after a walk off victory

The Houston Cougars used a game-tying rally in the eighth and a walk off double in the ninth to defeat the Wichita State Shockers 4-3 on Sunday afternoon to claim the first conference series victory of 2022. 

Derrick Cherry was making only his second career start on Sunday, his first start came nearly two weeks ago up in Huntsville when he picked up the win and threw 121 pitches . . . Neither team had a hit in the game until a Shockers solo home run with one out in the third gave Wichita State a 1-0 lead.

Houston finally picked up its first base hit of the afternoon an inning later when Brandon Uhse (2-for-3) led off the fourth inning with a solo home run . . . The Shockers got the run right back with a one out solo in the fifth inning to lead 2-1 . . . Then a bases loaded hit batsman in the sixth pushed the advantage to 3-1 . . . Cameron Prayer entered the game with two outs and got a strike out to end the inning and leave the bases full.

Left-hander Kyle LaCalameto handled two innings of work between Prayer and closer Ben Sears . . . Meanwhile, the Houston offense was quiet against Shockers pitching; aside from Uhse’s home run, the Cougars only had two other base hits through the seventh inning.

Still trailing 3-1 in the eighth, Houston took advantage of an error and a walk to get traffic on the bases . . . Uhse singled home Samuel Benjamin and one out later Cameron Nickens (2-for-2) singled on the infield and a throwing error by the Shockers third baseman allowed the tying run to score with two outs.

Sears pitched a scoreless ninth to keep the game tied headed to the ninth.

Ryan Hernandez dropped a single into shallow left-center to lead off the bottom of the inning . . . A fielder’s choice on a Malachi Lott bouncer eliminated Hernandez from the basepath, but the speedy Lott was on first base . . . Ian McMillan drove a liner into right field which was misplayed by the diving right fielder, once Lott saw the ball get down, he turned on the jets between first and second and was able to score the winning run as the ball rolled to the wall.

Houston took the first conference series of the season after being shutout in game one on Friday night . . . The Sunday walk off was the first for the Cougars since May 8, 2021 when McMillan delivered against Cincinnati.

The Cougars have Monday off before they will host Sam Houston State on Tuesday night at Schroeder Park to conclude their current eight game homestand . . . The first pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Cougars Win, Even Series with Shockers

Ian McMillan bats in the second inning against the Shockers on Saturday evening

Houston’s limited luck against Wichita State (1-9 in the previous 10 contests) improved on Saturday night as the Cougars won 5-3 to even the weekend series in a game they never trailed. 

Houston scored its first run of the weekend when Malachi Lott singled into left-center with one out to score Anthony Tulimero (3-for-4) from second base . . . Lott stole second base and was still there one out later when Ian McMillan hit a home run to left field to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead.

Still 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Brandon Burckel (2-for-2) walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch before he scored on a Brandon Uhse sacrifice fly to center field . . . Zach Arnold was the next batter and he blistered a baseball high into the Houston night that landed on the other side of the left field wall and Houston led 5-0 . . . The solo home run was Arnold’s fifth home run of the season.

Nathan Medrano was largely in cruise control all night scattering six hits over 7 1/3 innings and striking out nine, a career-high, before exiting the game in favor of Ben Sears with one out in the eighth . . . Sears struck out the two batters he faced in the eighth to end the inning . . . The Shockers added a couple of runs in the ninth to close the gap but Sears closed out the 5-3 victory . . . Medrano improved to 4-1 on the season with the win.

The Cougars and the Shockers play the deciding game in the weekend series on Sunday at Schroeder Park with a scheduled first pitch at 1pm.

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.

LaCalameto, Sears Lead Houston to Series Win

Ben Sears faces Western Carolina at Schroeder Park on Sunday

Houston concluded its final weekend before conference play begins next weekend by defeating Western Carolina 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at Schroeder Park.

The Cougars opened the scoring first when Alex Lopez hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Brandon Uhse from third base for a 1-0 Houston lead . . . After Anthony Tulimero doubled into the right field corner, Ryan Hernandez doubled to left-center to score Tulimero and extend the lead to 2-0.

Kyle LaCalameto got the start for the Cougars, and aside from a single run in the second inning, he carried Houston through six innings and struck out seven batters along the way on just at one hundred pitches.

Still 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Hernandez hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot with two outs, to push the advantage to two runs.

Ben Sears took the ball in the seventh inning in relief of LaCalameto and went the final three innings to close out the game . . . Sears tossed two innings where the Catamounts went down in order, striking out three as well.

The Cougars added three runs in the eighth Zach Arnold led off the inning with a double and after moving over to third and then loading the bases, he scored on a wild pitch . . . Malachi Lott then hit an infield single that allowed two more runs to score before going to the ninth inning.

The 6-1 victory gave Houston another weekend series win . . . LaCalameto picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the year . . . Sears earned the save, his fifth of the season.

After the game, head coach Todd Whitting was happy to talk about Sunday’s pitching duo, “Proud of Kyle for grinding out the W today. We had a few things go sideways early but he just kept competing.”

“Fired up for Ben and the success he is having,” Whitting said. “He and Coach Bunn have worked hard on a few mental and mechanical tweaks that have made him one of top closers in the nation.”

The Cougars have an off day before they host Prairie View A&M on Tuesday night . . . First pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm at Schroeder Park.

Houston Rolls to 13-3 Opening Win Over Catamounts

Malachi Lott bats in the 2nd inning Friday night at Schroeder Park

Houston opened its weekend series with the Western Carolina Catamounts with a convincing 13-3 win on Friday night at Schroeder Park . . . The Cougars scored ten runs over the sixth and seventh innings to help cruise to victory.

Jaycob Deese started on Friday night, having started last Sunday against Columbia . . . An error in the field led to the Catamounts taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, Alex Lopez was hit by a pitch to reach base . . . Anthony Tulimero doubled to right field and the throw home was not in time to catch Lopez for the tying run, and Tulimero stopped at third base . . . Tulimero was 4-for-5 Friday night and is now hitting .402.

Tied at one in the second, Malachi Lott hit his first collegiate home run over the right field wall to give Houston a 2-1 lead . . . After Brandon Burckel reached base on a two-out single, Brandon Uhse doubled off the right field wall to extend the lead to 3-1 . . . For Uhse, it was his second hit in the game, in as many innings, and he extended his consecutive hit game streak to eighteen games.

Deese exited after five innings having allowed just two earned runs.

With a 3-3 score in the sixth, the Cougars put up four runs in the bottom of the inning . . . After singles by Cameron Nickens and Lott were followed by a double steal, Houston added runs on a wild pitch and a suicide squeeze bunt by Burckel . . . Uhse (3-for-4) hit a two-out double to left and scored from second a few pitches later on a wild pitch . . . Zach Arnold then capped the scoring with a solo home run deep to left.

Houston added six runs in the seventh as things began to fall apart for the Catamounts . . . The Cougars took advantage of two errors and four base hits to extend their advantage to 13-3 going to the eighth.

Cameron Prayer (2-0) picked up the win with his two scoreless innings of work after Deese left the game . . . Logan Clayton and Colby Casey both handled an inning to close out Western Carolina and preserve the 13-3 victory.

The Cougars and the Catamounts meet again on Saturday when they continue the weekend series . . . Nathan Medrano will be on the mound for Houston, first pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Cougars Get Strong Outing From Cherry, Lead Don Sanders Cup

Derrick Cherry looks in for the pitch against Sam Houston State in Huntsville on Tuesday

When Houston completed the three-game sweep of Sam Houston State to claim the Don Sanders Cup on April 23, 2019, no one could have foreseen that the next game in the series would not take place for nearly three years . . . The series resumed Tuesday night in Huntsville and the Cougars once again took control of the series with a 9-1 win over the Bearkats.

Derrick Cherry started on the mound for the Cougars and in his typical role as a reliever, it was easy to assume this midweek game was going to be a bullpen game, as was the case the last time Cherry started a game . . . The game played out differently.

Scoreless in the fourth inning, Alex Lopez and Ryan Hernandez both walked to get on base . . . With two outs, Cameron Nickens lined a ball the opposite way down the right field line to score both Lopez and Hernandez and the Cougars led 2-0.

Still 2-0 in the fifth, Ian McMillan (2-for-3) singled to lead off the inning and then stole second base . . . After moving to third base by tagging up on a fly ball to center, Zach Arnold drove in McMillan with a run-scoring single to extend the Houston lead, 3-0.

Houston further added to the lead in the sixth when a Malachi Lott single to right scored one run and an error by the right fielder allowed a second run to score and Lott ended up on third base . . . McMillan scored Lott on a sacrifice fly to right and the Cougars led 6-0.

The Bearkats got a run back in the bottom of the sixth and the Cougars responded with three runs on a two-run home run by Lopez (3) and a solo shot by Hernandez (2) and Houston led 9-1 going to the stretch.

Head coach Todd Whitting said of Cherry pre-game, “we’ll let him go as long as he can.” . . . Cherry was done for the night after the seventh inning and his 121st pitch . . . Cherry struck out nine and allowed just the one earned run . . . Brandon Uhse singled in the top of the eighth with two outs to extend his consecutive game hit streak to seventeen games.

Cameron Prayer came in to handle the eighth inning and retired the side in order . . . Patrick Dunn came in from the bullpen to close out the ninth inning and like Prayer, he retired the Bearkats in order to close out the 9-1 win and give the Cougars the advantage in the Don Sanders Cup series.

Cherry earned the win and is now 2-1 this season.

“Huge outing for Cherry,” Coach Whitting said after the game, “appreciate his effort the last few weeks with Coach Bunn and trusting the process.” “He was dominant tonight against a very talented Sam Houston State University offense.”

Houston has two days off before they welcome Western Carolina to Schroeder Park on Friday night for the final non-conference weekend matchup of the season . . . First pitch Friday night is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Houston Rides Pitching, Three Big Innings to Series Win

Jaycob Deese faced the Columbia Lions on Sunday at Schroeder Park

After dropping Friday’s series opener, the Houston Cougars won the final two games to win their series with the Columbia Lions after a 12-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at Schroeder Park.

Scoreless in the bottom of the second, Malachi Lott hit the third consecutive one-out single for the Cougars in the inning and Ryan Hernandez scored from second to give Houston a 1-0 lead . . . Brandon Burckel singled home another run and later an errant throw from Columbia’s catcher to first base allowed another run across and Houston led 3-0.

In the top of the third, with Brandon Uhse at second after a walk and a wild pitch, Zach Arnold roped a double to the wall in left field scoring Uhse . . . Two batters later following a pitching change, Anthony Tulimero doubled into left field driving home Arnold . . . Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly to center for the first out of the inning, but Alex Lopez tagged and scored and the Cougars took a 6-0 lead.

Jaycob Deese got the Sunday start for Houston and was scoreless through five innings with five strike outs and eight ground outs.

Houston got their biggest offensive inning of the game going with one out in the fifth inning . . . A walk to Cameron Nickens loaded the bases after back-to-back singles by Lopez and Tulimero . . . Lott then singled into left-center and when the cut-off throw to home plate got away from the catcher . . . Lott scored on a throwing error from shortstop to first base and the Cougars took a commanding 10-0 lead.

The Lions got two runs back in the top of the sixth to close the gap.

Uhse led off the bottom of the sixth by hitting the first offering into left field for a single, which extended his consecutive game hit streak to sixteen . . .  Arnold and Lopez both followed with singles, the single by Lopez scored Uhse . . . Lopez scored on a ground out double play and the Houston lead was back to ten at 12-2.

Lott took over on the mound to start the seventh for the Cougars in relief of Deese . . . After the first two batters reached base, Houston went to the bullpen in favor of Ben Sears . . . Sears pitched the final three innings of the game to close out the series win without allowing a run, he lowered his ERA to 0.39 . . . Deese picked up the win with the 12-3 victory to even his record at 1-1 on the year.

Houston has Monday off before they head to Huntsville on Tuesday for a midweek game with Sam Houston State . . . First pitch on Tuesday at at 6:30pm.

Cougars, Medrano Rebound Against Columbia

Nathan Medrano throws the first pitch in Saturday’s contest with Columbia

Houston evened its series with Columbia with an impressive 10-4 victory Saturday night at Schroeder Park.

Nathan Medrano took the mound for the Cougars and was dealing from the outset.

Scoreless in the bottom of the third, Zach Arnold (3-for-4) worked a seven-pitch at-bat before dropping a single into shallow right-center to score Ian McMillan from second base and giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead, their first lead of the weekend series . . . Alex Lopez batted next with two runners on base and homered over the right field wall to clear the bases of Cougars and extend the lead to 4-0 going to the fourth . . . For Lopez (2-for-4) it was his second home run of the season.

Brandon Burckel led off the bottom of the fifth with a triple that rolled to the wall in right-center . . . Brandon Uhse then grounded out to shortstop allowing Burckel to cross the plate and push the Houston advantage to 5-0.

Malachi Lott made an amazing catch on the warning track in right-center for the second out in the top of the sixth inning . . . Lott had to leave his feet, jumping toward the wall, after he caught the ball, he collided with the wall before falling to the ground while hanging on to the ball . . . In the bottom of the inning, Lott got a five-run inning started with a two-out RBI single through the right side to make the score 6-0 . . . Taking advantage of three hit batters in the inning and a Lott steal of third base, the Cougars loaded the bases for Uhse who powered a grand slam over the left field wall to push the lead to 10-0 going to the seventh . . . Uhse’s third home run of the season also extended his hitting streak to fifteen straight games.

The Lions got two runs back in the top of the seventh as Medrano exited with one out having allowed six hits and one earned run while striking out eight . . . Two Houston relievers closed out the inning as Columbia loaded the bases, Jose Torrealba got the final two outs of the top half of the inning and also handled the eighth . . . Maddux Miller handled the ninth inning for the Cougars, closing out the 10-4 win which improved Medrano’s record to 3-0.

Freshman Burckel was 2-for-3 adding a double to his triple, he was also hit in the helmet with a pitch.

Head coach Todd Whitting got what he wanted from Medrano’s start, “We needed a great start tonight and Medrano delivered.” “When he pounds the zone and gets through the mitt, he is very tough to hit,” Whitting added.

Houston and Columbia conclude the weekend series with a game Sunday at noon . . . Jaycob Deese will be on the mound for the Cougars as they look to take the series.

Houston Win Streak Ends in 13-8 Defeat

Malachi Lott pitches in the ninth inning Friday at Schroeder Park

The Cougars six game winning streak came to an end Saturday night at Schroeder Park as they fell to the UIW Cardinals 13-8 . . . The loss was the Cougars first at home this season.

Cougars pitching was in trouble most of the night as the Cardinals roughed up most of the eights pitchers that Houston sent to the mound.

The Cougars fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first on a two-run home run . . . Later in the frame, a single drive in one run before a double to the left field wall scored two more and Houston trailed 5-0 before they had even come to bat.

But the Cougars got back in the game quickly . . . Brandon Uhse led off the bottom of the inning with a single . . . A walk put two in for Ryan Hernandez who hammered a ball that hit off the wall in left-center and was good for two bases . . . A sacrifice fly to center by Samuel Tormos made the score 5-3 going to the second inning.

Trailing 6-3 in the second, Malachi Lott reached first after he struck out but was able to race down to first on the wild pitch . . . Hernandez (3-for-4) picked up his third RBI of the game with a single that scored Uhse.

Lott doubled to lead off the fourth and he scored on a Uhse (2-for-4) double . . . Zach Arnold drove in Uhse as part of a 2-for-4 night and the Cougars only trailed 8-7 . . . Colby Casey pitched a valuable 1 2/3 innings over the fourth and fifth innings to help the bullpen attempt to save arms.

The Cardinals got to the Houston bullpen for five runs in the sixth . . . Taylor Parrett made his Cougars debut in the seventh and pitched a scoreless inning while he struck out two.

Lott took the mound for the eighth and ninth innings and was terrific over two scoreless frames where he did not allow a hit and struck out two while retiring all six batters he faced.

Freshman Cameron Nickens led off the ninth inning for the Cougars by hitting the first pitch of the inning over the wall in left-center for his first collegiate home run, but the Cougars went down in order after that and the 13-8 loss evened the weekend series with Incarnate Word.

The Cougars and the Cardinals will compete for the series win on Sunday at 1pm at Schroeder Park when Nathan Medrano will take the hill for Houston.