Cougars Hang Close, Lose 3-2 to Texas A&M

Lael Lockhart, Jr. throws the first pitch against Texas A&M on Sunday. Photo by Cougars Beat
Lael Lockhart, Jr. throws the first pitch against Texas A&M on Sunday.
Photo by Cougars Beat

The Houston Cougars will be glad to wake up tomorrow morning knowing they do not have any more games at Minute Maid Park this year . . . The Cougars took on the Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday afternoon in their final game of the 2019 Shriners College Classic.

The Cougars had a nice crowd on hand to see left-hander Lael Lockhart, Jr. take the mound for the third time this season . . . The Aggies would counter with a lefty of their own, Jonathan Childress.

The Aggies would open the scoring in the fourth inning on a line-drive double down the third base line that brought home one run.

Childress for his part went three scoreless, hitless innings . . . During his warmup tosses in the fourth inning, Childress felt something he did not like in his arm, and after bringing the Aggies head coach and trainer to the mound, Childress would depart the game . . . Chandler Jozwiak would replace Childress, and second baseman Brad Burckel would promptly get the first base hit for the Cougars.

Lockhart would exit the game in the fifth inning with two outs and two runners on base . . . Right-hander Devon Roedahl would enter the game and he would induce an inning-ending ground ball . . . Roedahl was solid out of the bullpen. He ran into trouble in the eighth when he loaded the bases with no outs, but he got a double-play and a strikeout to work out of the jam only allowing one run.

The Cougars were still in the game when Lockhart exited, down only 2-0 . . . But the offense was struggling . . . Joe Davis was 0-for-9 entering Sunday’s action . . . Davis would get his first base hit of the weekend, a towering blast to deep right-center field that the Aggie center-fielder would get his glove on but not reel in . . . One batter later the Cougars had the bases loaded with one out and would score one run on a fielders choice by Grayson Padgett to cut the Aggie lead to 2-1.

Down 3-1 in the eighth Jared Triolo reached base on a walk, and Joe Davis followed that with his second consecutive double, this one off the out-of-town scoreboard in front of the Crawford Boxes, and he had the Cougars back within a run at 3-2.

Devon Roedahl would leave the game in the ninth after a leadoff single, he threw 56 pitches in his 3 1/3 innings of solid relief work . . . Spencer Hynes would inherit a runner and get three outs to get out of the inning by throwing seven pitches, all of them for strikes.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Cougars were not able to get anything going and went down in order . . . The offense left seven runners on base in the game, a glaring number in the eyes of a one-run defeat . . . The Cougars have now lost their last nine games at Minute Maid Park.

The Cougars return to action on Tuesday when they will host Rice at Schroeder Park . . . The weather will be on the chilly side, so dress warm and get to the ballpark and root for the Coogs. –

 

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Cougars Fall to Texas State 9-4

Joe Davis bats in the 7th with Jared Triolo on 2nd on Saturday. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Joe Davis bats in the 7th with Jared Triolo on 2nd on Saturday.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars continued their participation in the 2019 Shriners College Classic at Minute Maid Park on Saturday facing the Texas State Bobcats . . . The Bobcats were fresh off of a 1-0 shutout against Rice on Friday, so it was a positive sign when the Cougars jumped out to an early lead.

Houston catcher Blake Way, in only his third start behind the plate this season, got the Coogs on the scoreboard first in the second inning with a two-out line-drive homerun into the Crawford Boxes off of Bobcats starting pitcher Hunter McMahon.

Houston sent right-hander Ryan Randel to the mound for the second game of the weekend . . . Randel would face a little trouble in each of the first two innings, with runners getting to second base with no outs both times. In both innings however, Randel would rally to induce ground balls and get strikeouts to end both innings unscathed.

The Cougars allowed the Bobcats to tie the game in the third and then take the lead in the fourth . . . After allowing six hits and three runs on 78 pitches, Randel would hand the ball to Fred Villarreal with runners on first and second with just one out . . . The Bobcats would score four unearned runs in the inning to take a 6-2 lead into the fifth.

The Cougars would inch closer in their half of the fifth, but what could have been a downpour was only a light sprinkle . . . The Coogs would set the table, loading the bases with one out, for the 2-3-4 hitters, and would score just one run on a Jared Triolo infield single with Triolo hustling to beat the throw to first base.

Blake Way had few problems with McMahon on Saturday . . . Way would follow his homerun with a walk in the fifth and then a majestic two-out double off the wall just to the right of the Crawford Boxes in the sixth inning.

The Bobcats would finally go to the bullpen in the seventh . . . The only blemish for the bullpen was a monster homerun by Rey Fuentes in the bottom of the ninth, but by that point the game had largely been decided . . . The Bobcats would defeat the Cougars 9-4 . . . A bright spot was the bottom of the Cougars order accounting for 3 of their 4 runs and 5 of their 8 hits . . . For the first time this year, the Cougars are under .500 as they fall to 4-5.

The Cougars will conclude the weekend against Texas A&M on Sunday afternoon at 3pm . . . Get on out to Minute Paid Park and support the Coogs. –

 

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Cougars Late Inning Effort Not Enough Against TCU

Friday's first pitch from Nick Lodolo to Brad Burckel. Photo by @CougarsBeat
Friday’s first pitch from Nick Lodolo to Brad Burckel.
Photo by @CougarsBeat

Minute Maid Park played host to the “visiting” Houston Cougars and the TCU Horned Frogs in the Shriners College Classic on Friday afternoon . . . USA Today has TCU ranked at #17 and Baseball America has TCU ranked #24 in the nation entering into the weekend . . . With the ballpark roof closed, all that was left was the action on field, once it got underway.

The game got off to an awkward beginning . . . After the initial warmup pitches and catchers toss down to second base, the umpires did not want to start the game earlier than the 3:05 announced start time, so the Frogs had to stand around on the field and wait for about three minutes for first pitch . . . The Frogs heated up very quickly after that.

The Cougars sent lefty Tyler Bielamowicz to the mound on Friday . . . The Frogs would strike first on a two-out three-run homerun off of Bielamowicz in a 24 pitch first inning.

TCU left-hander, Nick Lodolo, who measures 6’6″ tall, was dominant all day . . . Lodolo needed only 34 pitches to get through the first nine of the Cougars order for a perfect opening three innings . . . Lodolo would be perfect thru four innings, retiring the first fourteen batters he faced before Cougars shortstop Kobe Hyland would reach base on a single in the fifth . . . Lodolo offered a lethal mix of power and movement against the Cougars to get through seven innings of nearly perfect baseball, striking out thirteen along the way.

Tyler Bielamowicz would exit in the fourth after continued trouble, including a second three-run homerun, and sitting at 73 pitches . . . Nolan Bond would enter the game at that point, and he was one of the bright spots for the Cougars on the day . . . Bond went three innings when his team really needed him, and while he gave up two runs, which scored with the help of some defensive miscues and a runner left on base allowed to score by Bond’s successor, his outing was solid even if the box score appears not to reflect that.

Jared Triolo hit his first homerun of the season into the Crawford boxes in the seventh inning . . . The first run of the day for the Coogs . . . Once Nick Lodolo left the game after seven innings pitched, the Cougars were able to piece together some offense against the Frogs bullpen . . . The Cougars plated three in the ninth and had the bases loaded for Joe Davis with two outs . . . Davis hit a drive to left-center that made Coogs fans hold their breath for a moment, but TCU’s center fielder would catch the final out on the warning track . . . In the end a 9-1 deficit was too much to make up as the Coogs evened their record at 4-4 on the season in the 10-6 loss.

The Cougars return to action tomorrow morning at Minute Maid Park, first pitch is at 11am against the Texas State Bobcats.

 

Newspaper column version of this recap