Cougars Split Two with Shockers, Deciding Game Saturday

Josh Ekness got the start in game one Friday at Wichita State

The Cougars and the Wichita State Shockers split a doubleheader on Friday with Houston taking game one 8-6 and losing game two 6-1 at Eck Stadium in Wichita.

Josh Ekness got the start for Houston in game one and was outstanding over 5 1/3 innings.

Ian McMillan hit a two-run home run to left field in the top of the eighth inning to increase the Houston advantage to 8-5.

Justin Murray closed out the win for the Cougars tossing the final two innings and allowing just two hits and striking out three in earning the save, his fourth of the season.

Paul Schmitz took the mound in game two and was quite good, though the result went against him as his defense let him down a couple of times and the Houston offense was stymied all evening . . . Schmitz tossed 6 1/3 innings allowing the potent Shockers offense five hits and four earned runs.

As alluded to, the defense behind Schmitz was lacking at times in Friday’s second game . . . A potential inning-ending fly ball was dropped on the warning track in deep left-center field allowing the hitter to wind up on third base with a triple while two runs scored.

The Shockers did not score another run until the seventh inning after Schmitz had handed the ball to the Houston bullpen.

A sacrifice fly RBI off the bat of Murray in the top of the eighth inning was the extent of the Houston offense in game two.

The Cougars (16-15, 3-2) and the Shockers (18-12, 3-2) will conclude their Easter weekend series on Saturday at noon in Wichita.


Houston, Schmitz Dominate Northwestern 10-2

Paul Schmitz delivers the first pitch of Saturday’s game against Northwestern

After a miserable Friday night performance, the Cougars rebounded on Saturday against the Northwestern Wildcats behind right-hander Paul Schmitz for a 10-2 victory.

Zach Arnold got the scoring started in the bottom of the third inning with a RBI single into left-center for a 1-0 Houston lead.

Cameron Nickens hit his third home run of the week, a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Houston a 5-0 lead . . . Malachi Lott was 4-for-5 in the game with a RBI in both the fifth and seventh innings.

Schmitz has earned his way into the weekend rotation and his Saturday outing was another shining example of his efficiency and effectiveness as a starter . . . Schmitz took the game into the seventh inning, when the Wildcats scored their only runs of the game, getting two outs before giving way to Owen Woodward.

After the seventh inning stretch, Anthony Tulimero hit a three-run home run over the wall in left-field, a ball that traveled 406 feet and the Cougars led 8-2.

Woodward handled the final 2 1.3 innings of word and earned his second save of the season . . . Schmitz (1-1) earned his first win of the season.

The Cougars close out the homestand on Sunday when they will face Friday’s opponent, UT Arlington . . . A properly rested Josh Ekness will get the start for Houston, his second consecutive Sunday start . . . First pitch at Schroeder Park is scheduled for 1pm.

Houston Rallies in Final Frames to Take Series

Houston rallied for two runs in the ninth inning and two more in the tenth inning to earn a 4-2 victory in ten innings on Saturday afternoon at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Right-hander Paul Schmitz made his second consecutive Saturday start for Houston and was really sharp despite two solo home runs, the only runs he allowed . . . Schmitz tossed 6 2/3 innings, the second day in a row the Cougars starter has pitched until they had two outs in the seventh inning . . . Schmitz was working fast and was very efficient on the mound, only yielding the two solo home runs and striking out seven and he also retired eleven straight batters between the second and the fifth innings.

Houston was hitless in the game until a two-out single by Alex Lopez in the top of the sixth inning, but first base was as far as Lopez would get.

Minnesota starter George Klassen pitched 7 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball before being relieved on the mound having baffled Houston hitters all afternoon.

With one out in the top of the ninth inning, Zach Arnold singled to begin a rally, also extending his games-reached streak to 17 games . . . Justin Murray then pinch-hit for Alex Lopez and hit a game-tying two-run home run over the left field wall.

Still tied in the tenth inning, Ian McMillan hit a two-out double down the left field line . . . Drew Bianco drove McMillan home with a double of his own, and that was followed by a Cameron Nickens double to give the Cougars a 4-2 lead.

Brendan O’Donnell, Cade Citelli, and Owen Woodward all pitched in relief over the last 3 1/3 innings and kept Minnesota from starting anything resembling a rally with Woodward recording the final four outs of the game to secure the series win.

Houston and Minnesota conclude their weekend series in Minneapolis on Sunday at noon . . . Expect to see left-hander Malachi Lott on the mound to start the game as the Cougars go for their first sweep of 2023.

Houston Drops Oklahoma Series, Looks to Avoid Sweep Sunday

Paul Schmitz made his first start of the season for Houston Saturday night

After a brutal twelve-run defeat on Friday, Houston played a more complete game on Saturday night against Oklahoma but still came up short, losing 8-3.

The Cougars offense came out making solid contact with the baseball, but the team ran itself out of the inning by getting one runner thrown out at the plate and another at third base, on two different plays . . . Houston still led 1-0 after the first inning, but the lead could have been greater if not for running into two outs.

Paul Schmitz made his first start since coming to Houston, though he had made five appearances so far this season and despite a final line that does not look favorable, the outing by Schmitz was quite good and he deserves another chance to start.

A passed ball and a wild pitch in the eighth inning gave the Cougars their second and third runs of the game and made the 8-3 final seem closer than the game actually was.

Houston and Oklahoma close out the weekend series on Sunday afternoon at 1pm . . . Malachi Lott will make his second straight Sunday start on the mound.

Cougars Fall Flat in Oklahoma Opener

Houston opened a weekend series with Oklahoma on Friday night at Schroeder Park

A forgettable Friday night found the Cougars on the wrong end of a 13-1 final score against the Oklahoma Sooners at Schroeder Park.

Cade Citelli got the Friday night start for the fourth consecutive week and was decent until he was replaced on the mound in the fourth inning . . . Citelli faced first inning trouble with the bases loaded and walked in the only run of the inning, and escaped without further damage.

Oklahoma right-hander Kale Davis was too much for Houston hitters over his six innings pitched . . . Zach Arnold accounted for the only Cougars run against Davis on Friday night, hitting a line drive over the left-field wall to tie the game at one in the bottom of the third inning.

Cameron Nickens was 2-for-2 in the game, the only Houston hitter with multiple hits accounting for two of the five total hits for the Cougars.

The Cougars and the Sooners continue their series Saturday evening at 6:30pm at Schroeder Park . . . Paul Schmitz is scheduled to get the start on the mound for Houston, his first start since joining the Cougars.

Houston Shut Out in 2023 Opener

Cade Citelli delivers the first pitch to open the 2023 season against Cal

The Houston Cougars opened the 2023 campaign with a 7-0 loss at the hands of the Cal Bears at Schroeder Park.

Cade Citelli marched through the Cal lineup in smooth fashion to open the season while also making his Houston debut . . . Citelli retired the first nine batters he faced and was perfect through three innings before things fell apart for him in a three-run fourth inning.

Cal left-hander Ian May went eight strong innings allowing just three hits to the Cougars and striking out seven along the way.

Alex Lopez hit May twice, the only Houston hitter with multiple hits in the game, and just one of two Cougars with hits against the Bears.

In addition to Citelli, Paul Schmitz, Travis Phelps, Owen Woodward and Graysen Dezek also made their Houston debuts.

Former Cougar Joe Davis, the all-time home run hitter in program history, was on hand Friday night to throw out the honorary first pitch prior to the game . . . Davis retired from baseball back in December after three seasons in the Boston Red Sox organization . . . Davis is back in Texas now, having returned to his hometown of Austin.

The Cougars and the Bears resume their opening weekend series on Saturday when the Cougars will send left-hander Kyle LaCalameto to the mound . . . First pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm.