The Houston Cougars were left out of the 2019 college baseball regionals . . . Given the upsets and irregularities that took place over the weekend, this is less and less of a surprise.
Following the selection process, completed just moments ago, the Cougars were the first of the four teams to be on the outside looking in . . . This means if the regionals had sixty-five teams, Houston would have been number sixty-five.
Alas, the 2019 season comes to an end and so do the careers of seniors Grayson Padgett, Joe Davis, Rey Fuentes, Ryan Randel, and Nolan Bond . . . Work toward 2020 begins now . . . Jared Triolo might be done as a Cougar if he is drafted next week . . . And Houston has new incoming talent, not only in 2020 but in the years after it, this talent can be seen at all levels of the Texas high school baseball playoffs still ongoing. –
The season’s final series of the year got underway on Thursday evening in Orlando, Florida as the University of Central Florida Knights hosted the Houston Cougars . . . The Knights and the Cougars entered Thursday with relatively equal records overall, both in and out of conference.
Knights starter Grant Schuermann had the Cougars solved early on it seemed . . . Houston had a runner reach third only once, in the fourth inning . . . Schuermann went eight scoreless innings allowing only four Cougars hits.
Lael Lockhart Jr. was a tough-luck loser on the night, he pitched reasonably well and was not hit very hard . . . A pop foul that should have been caught by either Kyle Lovelace or Joe Davis was instead a second chance for catcher Dallas Beaver, who then walked, and would eventually score, while there were also two errors behind Lockhart in the inning, an inning where the Knights scored three times to take a 3-0 lead.
Nolan Bond relieved Lockhart in the sixth and took the game into the ninth when Spencer Hynes pitched a scoreless frame in his first game action since April 6.
Only five Cougars had base hits on Thursday, with Joe Davis collecting two of them in a 2-for-4 effort . . . The Cougars led off the ninth who two singles by Wendell Champion and Joe Davis, but they would remain on second and first respectively as the next three batters each went down on strikes and handed UCF an 8-0 shutout.
The final regular season series of the season continues Friday in Orlando at 5pm Houston time. –
Sunday afternoon offered the Houston Cougars and the Tulane Green Wave a complete contrast to Saturday afternoon and evening, and early Sunday morning for that matter . . . Where Saturday was rainy, then misty, then humid, then misty again, Sunday was occasionally breezy, sunny with a blue sky and white clouds, and about half as humid as Saturday at the ballpark.
Sunday was also Mother’s Day and Senior Day, so it made sense for the weather to cooperate . . . Cougars fans bid farewell and said thank you to Joe Davis, Nolan Bond, Grayson Padgett, Rey Fuentes, and Ryan Randel . . . Randel and Bond had something extra for the fans, and for the Tulane offense.
After two quiet innings, Derrick Cherry put the Cougars on the board and in the lead with a two-RBI single in the third . . . The single scored both Kyle Lovelace and Jared Triolo who had both walked to reach base . . . Cherry was 3-for-4 on the afternoon with two RBI on the afternoon.
The Cougars added another run the seventh when Kobe Hyland hit a two-out RBI double to center in the 7th to take a 3-0 lead.
Ryan Randel was very good on Sunday and was not in much trouble at any point . . . When Randel exited after 7 1/3 innings, he had only allowed 2 unearned runs on three hits . . . He left with the bases loaded after an error, a batter hit by a pitch, and an intentional walk, so it was not the worst of circumstances . . . Two runs would score on a bloop hit off of Nolan Bond, who had taken over on the mound for Randel in the eighth, but the damage was limited and Houston held on to a 3-2 lead.
Houston started the eighth with two singles before Tyler Bielamowicz put down a sacrifice bunt to score Jared Triolo and Lael Lockhart Jr. followed with a single to center batting right-handed – it was Lockhart’s second hit of the game, this one scoring Derrick Cherry and giving the Cougars a 5-2 lead.
Bond recorded the final five outs of the game, escaping too much damage in the eighth and getting Tulane down in order in the ninth to close out the game . . . Bond earned his first save of the year in securing the 5-2 win . . . Ryan Randel he picked up his fourth win of the year.
After playing 28 innings of baseball in the last 25 hours, the Cougars are off on Monday and return to action on Tuesday against Rice down in Sugar Land at Constellation Field . . . First pitch is at 7:05pm. –
The Rice Owls had won six straight entering play on Wednesday night, and the Houston Cougars were coming off a series loss last weekend in Tampa, Florida . . . The first inning indicated that the streaks would continue, but there is a reason baseball has nine innings and sometimes a tenth.
Wednesday night got off to a shaky start as the Owls scored two runs on three hits and a hit batter . . . The got one hit in the first, and would not get another hit until sixth.
Right-hander Nolan Bond took the mound to start the second inning after Brayson Hurdsman started the game pitching only the first . . . Bond retired the first seven batters he faced as his breaking balls were finding the strike zone and his fastballs were finding the corners and freezing batters for called third strikes . . . In the bottom of the fourth two walks and a fielders choice in addition to a high pitch count after a long layoff ended Bond’s night after 2 2/3 innings.
Sean Bretz would relieve Nolan Bond in the bottom of the fourth and get the final out to keep the Rice lead to 2-0 . . . Bond’s outing was a welcome result after a rocky first inning for the Cougars, and it would be the first of four good outings for the Cougars bullpen in the game.
Houston was held scoreless going into the eighth, and after a leadoff strike out, things did not look to be changing . . . After Kobe Hyland walked and Kyle Lovelace singled, both moved into scoring position after a wild pitch . . . Jared Triolo, who had a great game defensively with plenty of opportunities, hit a clutch two-out double down the right-field line as he went where the pitch was thrown and even the score 2-2.
In the tenth, the Cougars managed to score six runs on only one hit, instead relying on six walks, an intentional walk, and a batter hit by a pitch . . . The single came when Kobe Hyland hit a two-out single to right to drive in the fifth of the Cougars six runs in the inning . . . In a game where the Cougars managed to score eight runs in ten innings, they did it on only five hits . . . Kyle Lovelace was the only Cougar with multiple hits as he went 2-for-4 and walked once.
The Cougars bullpen went nine scoreless innings after Hurdsman left the game after the first inning . . . The Owls only collected five hits in the final nine innings and the Cougars only issued three walks while striking out eight.
Devon Roedahl picked up his seventh win on the year after 2 2/3 innings of work at the end of the game . . . Roedahl struck out four and looked really strong all the way through the final out in the tenth . . . The Cougars improve to 27-18 on the season with the 8-2 victory, and they evened 2019’s Silver Glove Series, which will be decided with a third and final game in a little under two weeks down in Sugar Land.
The Cougars are off tomorrow and host University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) on Friday for a weekend non-conference series . . . The weather forecast is looking ominous so if you plan to attend any part of this weekend series, you will want to check for updates . . . As of now, first pitch Friday is at 6:30pm. –
For a while, it looked as though the Houston Cougars were doomed in Memphis this weekend . . . The offense was struggling, the defense lost seemingly easy fly balls in the sun which would lead to runs, and having lost both games of a double-header two days before, it was easy to assume the worst.
Nolan Bond got the Sunday start for Houston, only his second start of the season . . . His day ended in the fifth as he exited the game with the Cougars trailing, but still with the game within reach . . . Sean Bretz would be the first of five relief pitchers out of the bullpen in this game . . . Bretz was relieved two outs later by Tristen Bayless who got out of the inning, but the Cougars were down 3-0 and it would remain that way until the seventh.
Rey Fuentes was brought off the bench to lead off the seventh inning . . . Fuentes hit a homerun over the wall in right-center to get the Coogs on the board . . . The offense was not done in the inning though, Brad Burckel and Jonathan Thomas would both walk and Jared Triolo would bring Burckel home on a single, but Triolo was thrown out trying to get to second on the play, so the inning ended there with Memphis still leading 3-2.
Meanwhile, the Cougar bullpen was shutting down the Memphis offense . . . Brayson Hurdsman pitched an important 1 2/3 innings before being relieved by Devon Roedahl for 1 1/3 innings himself.
Houston would manufacture two more runs in the top of the eighth, one of which was Kobe Hyland scoring from first on a Joe Davis double to the wall in right-center to tie the game at 3 . . . Davis would score later on a fielders choice play at the plate that got away from Memphis catcher Jason Santana.
With the Cougars leading 4-3, Devon Roedahl made quick work of the Tigers 4-5-6 spots in the lineup to finish the eighth . . . After a scoreless Cougars half of the inning, Fred Villarreal was called in to slam the door shut on Memphis in the ninth, and he did just that . . . Villarreal retired all three batters he faced to secure the 4-3 road win for the Cougars, earning his fifth save of the year.
The Cougars are now off on Monday and they will be in Beaumont on Tuesday to take on Lamar before returning to Schroeder Park on Wednesday night. –
Possible bad weather on Saturday in Memphis led to the moving of that game to Friday, which meant two games Friday at FedEx Park ahead of the weather . . . The Memphis Tigers grabbed big early leads in both games and that created situations where the Cougars had to come back from big deficits to make the games competitive.
This was made more difficult by facing a very good and effective Friday starter in Hunter Smith in game one . . . Smith would go eight innings and throw 117 pitches while striking out nine Cougars batters and only allowing three earned runs.
Devon Roedahl entered the game in the fifth to relieve starting pitcher Lael Lockhart Jr., and he was quite good, going the final 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball only allowing one hit.
Jared Triolo hit a solo homerun in the sixth, the Cougars first run of the game, as part of a 2-for-4 afternoon in game one . . . Brad Burckel, hitting in the eight spot, went 2-for-3 with a walk . . . Derrick Cherry hit a two-out two-run homerun to left-center in the eighth to make the score 7-3, and that would be the final score.
A grand slam in the first inning of game two once again had the Cougars playing from behind . . . But Joe Davis got the Cougars on the board and back in the game in the third with a three-run blast to center field . . . Kobe Hyland got in on the act in the sixth when he hit his third homerun of the season over the right field wall to tie the game at 4-4.
Ryan Randel settled in after the first inning and turned in a very good 5 2/3 innings pitched leaving in the sixth inning with the game tied . . . When he exited he had put runners on the corners and Nolan Bond inherited that situation . . . Two pitches later Bond had done his job, stranding both runners.
Memphis would get to Fred Villarreal in the bottom of the eighth for two runs and that would be enough to take game two on the day as the Cougars fell 6-4.
The Cougars and the Tigers will have a day off on Saturday and will face off again on Sunday at 1pm. –
The Houston Cougars righted the ship on Saturday night at Schroeder Park behind good pitching and one offensive inning against the Connecticut Huskies . . . Having dropped game one on Friday night, the Cougars not only needed some offense, but they needed a win.
Right-hander Ryan Randel was on the mound Saturday night . . . Randel had a difficult first inning in which the Huskies plated three runs, but he rebounded nicely and faced only three batters per inning over the next three innings.
Houston missed a grand opportunity in the second when they loaded the bases with three straight singles, but it was to no avail as UConn starter Jeff Kersten would strike out two and get a ground ball out to escape the inning.
But Kersten’s night would come to an end in the fourth inning when the Cougars offense exploded . . . The big blow was off the bat of Derrick Cherry when he hit a laser to left field to clear the bases, there was a play at home on Grayson Padgett, but the ball slipped past the catcher and Cherry was standing on second with a double, his first collegiate hit and RBI . . . The Coogs would send eleven batters to the plate in the inning as they took a 5-3 lead.
The Huskies would get a run back in the fifth and in the process would chase Randel from the game . . . Nolan Bond would relieve Randel with runners on the corners. Bond walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, but the Cougars would get out of the inning with a ground ball to shortstop . . . After a difficult first inning, Randel settled in and left the game with his team leading 5-4.
Bond got a 1-2-3 sixth with the help of a couple of consecutive defensive gems by third sacker Jared Triolo, then he faced just three batters in the seventh with another defensive gem behind him when Brad Burckel made a leaping snag of a line drive and was able to recover quickly enough to double-up the runner who was on first.
Fred Villarreal entered the game in the eighth and retired all six batters he faced to help the Cougars secure the 5-4 victory . . . Villarreal was incredibly efficient throwing eighteen pitches to get his six outs and earn his third save of the season while lowering his ERA to .98 . . . Nolan Bond earned the win for his solid effort, his first win on the year . . . Together, Bond and Villarreal pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball.
The Cougars and the Huskies conclude their series with a rubber game on Sunday at Schroeder Park . . . Please note an earlier than usual start time for a Sunday (or any day) of 11:30am.
Two days, two different paths, but the same outcome could define the first two games of the weekend series in Dallas as the Houston Cougars continue their visit with the Patriots of Dallas Baptist University . . . Friday night the two teams combined for fourteen runs over four and a half hours, a game the Cougars ultimately won by doing all their scoring in the final three innings . . . Saturday afternoon the two teams combined for two runs in a game that did not last three hours, and both runs were scored in the final two innings.
Nolan Bond got his first start of the season Saturday afternoon . . . Bond shut down a strong Patriots team over 5 2/3 innings allowing just two hits and no runs . . . Bond did walk four, which helped contribute to a high pitch count, but he was not hurt by the walks and turned in an overall tremendous outing, one worthy of a win.
The game was mostly quiet thru seven innings, delayed twice by official reviews.
Scoreless going into the eighth . . . The Cougars would break through in their half of the inning when Craig Yoho scored from third on a perfect bunt single toward third base by Grayson Padgett . . . Padgett’s speed caused the Partiots third baseman to rush his throw to first, the errant throw allowed Padgett to move to second, where he would still be when the inning ended with the Cougars up 1-0.
Jared Triolo would add his second homerun of the season in the top of the ninth to lead off the inning on the first pitch he saw from new DBU reliever Kragen Kechely.
Fred Villarreal did not relieve Bond, but he did record the final 3 1/3 innings and he was awarded the win for his effort . . . Villarreal had appeared in the Friday night game and did not look comfortable, he looked much more in command on Saturday and recorded quick outs to nail down the 2-0 shutout for the Cougars.
The win was the Cougars sixth in a row and secured yet another series win in the process.
The final game of this weekend series in Dallas with the Patriots concludes Sunday afternoon at 1pm as the Cougars go for the sweep.
The Houston Cougars took an unconventional path to victory on Sunday at Schroeder Park in the finale of their three game series with the Army Black Knights.
Tyler Bielamowicz’s illness on Friday, and his inability to make his planned Friday night start, meant the Cougars had to go with plan B on Sunday because their typical Sunday starter took the mound on Friday night . . . Clay Aguilar started for the Cougars and could not get out of the first inning as his control was off and his pitch count was already at 27, and he had only pitched 1/3 of an inning.
Nolan Bond made the best of a bad situation when he was called in from the bullpen. A sacrifice bunt would score an inherited runner before Bond would end the first inning with the Cougars already down 4-0 before they had even been to the plate.
The Cougars would start to inch back into the game with a run in the first on a Joe Davis two-out RBI single to score Brad Burckel.
Bond, back on the mound in the second inning would get the Black Knights down in order on seven pitches . . . By the time Nolan’s day was done, he had gone 2 2/3 very important innings, allowed one run, two hits, and had thrown a total of 26 pitches, 21 of them for strikes.
The Cougars would tack on two more runs in the third . . . They would explode for a four-run inning of their own in the seventh to tie the game at 7, highlighted by Joe Davis who came to the plate with the bases loaded . . . Davis would single and plate two runs, and a heads up play by Jared Triolo running at third base, allowed him to score on an error and indecision by the Black Knights second baseman.
Relievers Ron Brown, Fred Villarreal, and Devon Roedahl would each go one inning without giving up a run, a solid day for the bullpen which saw five pitchers come into the game starting in that first inning.
The possibility of ninth inning theatrics looked promising for the Black Knights as they loaded the bases with one out, but Roedahl gave them nothing and that set the stage for the bottom of the ninth.
Jared Triolo got a one-out single and would advance to second on an errant pick-off throw at first . . . Joe Davis would end his 4-for-5, 5 RBI day with a homerun over the right field fence to send the fans home happy and to secure the first series sweep on the season for the Cougars.
The Cougars are off on Monday and welcome Texas-San Antonio to Schroeder Park for a mid-week matchup on Tuesday at 6:30pm before hitting the road for their first real road trip of the season. –
The Army Black Knights arrived at Schroeder Park Friday afternoon to face a Houston Cougars team that had lost five straight games dating back two weekends ago when they lost the series finale to Arizona.
Friday night starter Tyler Bielamowicz was scratched from his usual start day due to illness, and Lael Lockhart Jr. would take the hill instead.
The Cougars led off each of the first three innings with a base hit . . . It is no coincidence that the Cougars would also score runs in each of those three innings . . . When the Cougars stopped getting the leadoff batter on base, they also stopped scoring runs.
Lockhart was very effective in his outing as he allowed just one earned run in 5 1/3 innings, exiting in the sixth with his team ahead 4-1 . . . The bullpen would allow the Black Knights to score two runs before Nolan Bond would come in from the bullpen to end the inning with the Cougars lead down to a run, 4-3.
Joe Davis would immediately get a run back, sending the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth inning over the left field wall . . . For Davis it was career homerun number 40 at the University of Houston . . . It was also another leadoff hit leading to runs scoring in the inning, the Coogs would manufacture another run in the inning, taking a 6-3 lead.
Devon Roedahl entered the game to pitch in the seventh and was immediately greeted by a leadoff triple by Army center fielder Jacob Hurtubise . . . Roedahl remained calm, made his pitches, and three outs later had left Hurtubise on third . . . Roedahl would get Army down in order in the eighth.
Roedahl would face a little adversity in the ninth, but he was able to shut down the Black Knights and get the final three outs to end the Cougars five game losing streak . . . Cougars pitching allowed only four hits on the night, two each by two hitters . . . This was a solid team win for the Coogs, and while Lael Lockhart Jr. got the official win, the entire team played a part in the Friday night victory.
The Cougars and the Black Knights continue their series Saturday evening at 6:30pm at Schroeder Park. –