Cougars, Gasser Take Game One; Split in Memphis

A classic, well-pitched game was followed by a lopsided affair as the Memphis Tigers hosted the Houston Cougars for a Friday doubleheader at FedEx Park . . . Houston took game one 2-1, while Memphis ran away with game two 13-7.

Robert Gasser had the ball for the Cougars and he worked his way the Tigers lineup with relative ease through the first three innings.

The Cougars scored their first run in the fourth when a single to right field by Steven Rivas scored Tyler Bielamowicz from second base for a 1-0 lead.

Memphis tied the game in their half of the fourth when a fielding error at short allowed the tying run to score.

Still tied in the seventh, after one-out singles by Rivas (3-for-4) and Will Pendergrass (2-for-3), Ian McMillan (2-for-3) doubled off the wall in left to score Rivas from second and put the Cougars in front 2-1.

Despite minor threats the rest of the way, including a bases loaded no-outs situation for the Cougars in the top of the ninth, no more runs would cross the plate.

Derrick Cherry took over on the mound to begin the eighth and he got the final six outs, despite a couple of deep flies (one foul, one caught in left) to save the game for Gasser and pick up his fourth save of the season as the Cougars took game one . . . Cherry struck out two batters in the ninth.

Gasser improved to 6-5 with his seven innings pitched, allowing no earned runs and only three hits with ten strikeouts.

Before Ben Sears even took the mound for the Cougars in game two, he was spotted with a 2-0 after a two-RBI triple in the top of the first with two outs by Rivas.

But a home run by Hunter Goodman tied the game at two in the bottom of the first and it was a brand new ballgame.

A one-out double in the second put the Tigers in front 4-2.

Rivas (10) led off the fourth with a two-run home run to get the Cougars to within 4-3 . . . Pendergrass immediately followed with a double and he was brought home when Dylan Post doubled off the wall in right to tie the game at four.

Sears loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth without recording an out, aided by a fielding error behind him . . . Sears would exit at that point and Colby Casey would take the mound in a difficult situation . . . Casey induced a fly-out to right in which one unearned run crossed the plate, and then we would retire the next two batters to escape the inning and with the Tigers leading 5-4.

Brad Burckel led off the fifth with a single down the right field line and then he stole second base to get into scoring position . . . Ryan Hernandez (9) hit a one out two-run home run to left to give the Cougars a 6-5 lead.

Colby Casey helped the game along with two solid innings pitched in his fifth appearance of the season for Houston . . . Casey did not allow a run and his ERA on the year remains 0.00 . . . Skyler Trevino collected his first collegiate hit in the sixth inning when he connected on a one-out double.

The Tigers wrestled the lead back in the seventh on a walk, a triple, and a wild pitch as they took the 7-6 lead . . . At that point the Tigers broke the game open, scoring a total of eight runs in the frame taking a 13-6 lead into the eighth inning.

Patrick Dunn took the mound for the eighth and pitched a three up, three down frame, striking out two . . . It was Dunn’s first appearance since March 13 at Texas State.

The Cougars plated one more run on an innocent ground out to first base in the top of the ninth, but that was all they would get as they fell 13-7 in game two.

The Cougars and the Tigers will do it all over again tomorrow at 2pm in Memphis . . . Carter Henry will take the mound for Houston. –

Future Cougar: Patrick Dunn

 

Patrick Dunn pitches for Flower Mound High School (Photo by John Knope)
Patrick Dunn of Flower Mound High School
(Photo by John Knope)

The Flower Mound Jaguars experienced the full range of emotions in the 24 hours that began on Thursday, March 12. The Jaguars defeated Southlake Carroll 8-6 on Southlake’s own field, giving them just their second loss of the season as they are ranked the top 6A team in the state.

As news and rumors about the immediate future of high school baseball began to enter the minds of the young athletes, some, including Houston Cougars signee Patrick Dunn, actually pondered about the next game that Thursday, “This could be our last game in high school baseball.”

Flower Mound lost 3-2 on a walk-off to McKinney Boyd, ranked fifth in the state, one spot ahead of the Jaguars, both with the same record of 10-3-1.

Reflecting on the day, and especially on the loss to McKinney Boyd, Dunn said of his team, “We weren’t really too worried about that, we just worried if that was our last game or not.” He continued that he, “wanted to go out there with the team one more time.”

Then came Friday the 13th.

“That Friday, we go into the team room and we find out that our season is postponed until the beginning of April or so,” Patrick said. It is the same story that paused and potentially ended every high school baseball season in the state and most of the country.

Patrick Dunn is a senior at Flower Mound. The right-handed pitcher stands 6-foot-6 and is lean with room to grow as he gets ready to join the Houston Cougars. Before his senior year was halted, Dunn had pitched 15 innings in five games with 19 strikeouts.

Dunn discussed his 2020 effort thus far, “I was really happy with the season, I had progressed a lot not just on the physical side but on the mental side too, I had a lot of confidence out there and I just had a better mindset, thinking I was the best player to be out there at that time.” It is one thing to be six and a half feet tall and to be able to throw a baseball with some speed and movement. It is another thing to be out there and be confident in your ability against some of the toughest competition in 6A Texas baseball.

With competitive activity on hold, Dunn, like most players, is having to find ways to stay active and stay sharp, pretty much on their own time and in their own way. Dunn’s routine is full, “I’m doing bodyweight exercises to maintain where I’m at strength wise, and then I do some heavy ball work,” against what he calls the “perfect brick wall” at his home. A hitter can swing a bat almost anywhere with a certain radius clear, but a pitcher might have to improvise, and Patrick has done that, “I have a net in the garage that I can throw into.”

Flower Mound head coach Danny Wallace is extremely complimentary of Dunn’s intangibles, “He is a great leader on and off the field. His work ethic is outstanding and he has a passion to be great.”

Patrick is big on “team” and it is obvious in talking with him that he values the guys in the dugout. Discussing the 2020 Jaguars Dunn said, “We were a lot hungrier than last year because we made it so far and didn’t end up getting to the state tournament, but we all knew we could have done it, so this year we were really trying to prove a point and show that we were definitely one of the best teams, if not the best team in the state.” It is obvious that Dunn wants the 2020 season to resume at some point so he can “go out there with the team one more time.”

If the high school season never gets started again, Patrick, in accordance with the rules of the day, will hopefully get some games in with the summer team he plays on. If that does not happen, he plans to keep working until he reports to the University of Houston in either mid to late summer. His plan, he says, includes wanting to “pitch live at-bats to people I know so that I can just keep getting my work in.” Any takers?

Last summer, Patrick’s summer team played in one of the nation’s biggest baseball tournaments in Atlanta, Georgia. His team made it to the last day of action, and it so happened that Houston coaches were on hand to see “one of the best games I ever pitched,” according to Dunn. He had spoken to Houston coaches weeks before and with his outstanding performance in an unlikely game in front of the Houston coaches, he concluded, “Honestly, I feel like it was kind of meant to be.” He committed to the University of Houston before he left Atlanta.

Houston Cougars signee Patrick Dunn of Flower Mound (Photo by John Knope)
Houston Cougars signee Patrick Dunn
(Photo by John Knope)

“He has worked very hard to get to where he is and his better days are all ahead of him – he has a lot of upside,” Coach Wallace said of Dunn. “He throws a really heavy downhill fastball and the breaking ball is improving and will be a plus pitch as he gets comfortable with it. The velocity has continued to climb and he will be consistently in the 90s at UH.”

As a kid, attending Texas Rangers games, Patrick was impressed with how big the ballplayers were, how hard they threw the ball, and how far they hit the ball. Beyond those impressions though, baseball was a “bond” with his best friends, they all played together from first grade into high school, they all love the game. Patrick Dunn will have the chance to play at the next level now, and he will be in the mix for time on the mound when the 2021 Houston Cougars take the field. – 

“Officially a Coog!” Signing Day 2019

Cougars Beat National Signing Day

Nine high school baseball players made their commitment to Cougars Baseball official on Wednesday as part of official events for national signing day . . . Future Coogs Rome Shubert, Patrick Dunn, Brandon Uhse, Evan Maldonado, Ben Sears, Will Pendergrass, Samuel Tormos, Josh Brown, and Bo Hogeboom all put pen to paper to declare themselves “officially a Coog!”