Regular Season Ends with Loss, Conference Tourney Begins Tuesday Night

Jose Torrealba threw two innings of scoreless relief Saturday at East Carolina

Houston fought until the end on Saturday afternoon, but fell 3-2 in ten innings to East Carolina to close out the regular season schedule ahead of the conference tournament next week.

After a double play cleared the bases in the top of the second inning, Santiago Garcia reached base with a single into center field . . . Malachi Lott then bounced a ball high and over the outstretched first baseman for a double, moving Garcia to third base . . . Samuel Benjamin followed with a double to right-center field plating both runners and Houston led 2-0 after three straight two-out hits.

The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the eighth when back-to-back doubles by the Pirates tied the game.

Still tied in the bottom of the tenth inning, the Pirates took advantage of a one-out double when an infield single allowed the winning run to round third base and score safely at home for the 3-2 win.

Neither team committed an error in the contest, as both finish the season ranked high in defensive percentage . . . The Pirates only out-hit the Cougars by one, nine to eight.

Houston will stay in Greenville tonight and then will travel to Clearwater, Florida on Sunday . . . The Cougars do not yet know their first opponent in the conference tournament, but they do know they will play the final game of the day on Tuesday which will sure last late into the evening.

Houston, Deese Win 6-3 Over Tulane

Jaycob Deese pitched Thursday against Tulane

Houston took the first lead of the game on Thursday night against Tulane at Schroeder Park and went on to win 6-3 behind the pitching of Jaycob Deese.

Tulane head coach Travis Jewett knew before the game that the Green Wave had a huge task in front of them in facing Deese. Jewett said pre-game, “Deese tonight will be a very good challenge for us.” He was right.

Houston got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning on a double-steal, as Anthony Tulimero broke for second and drew a throw from Tulane’s catcher, Alex Lopez broke from third base . . . The throw toward home plate sailed high and went to the backstop allowing Lopez to score the first run of the game and allowing Tulimero to reach second base.

Tied at one in the bottom of the second, Malachi Lott got the inning started with a single to third base where Lott’s speed forced a bad throw to first base, and when Lott finally stopped running, he was standing at third base . . . Samuel Benjamin doubled down the right field line to score Lott . . . Brandon Uhse then singled up the middle to score two more runs and the Cougars led, 4-1.

Uhse led off the bottom of the fifth inning by hitting a home run over the left field wall . . . A walk to Zach Arnold in the next spot was the end of the evening for Tulane’s starter Grant Siegal . . . Arnold reached third base when a pick-off attempt got by the first baseman . . . One out later a ground out to second base scored Arnold and increased the Houston lead to 6-2.

Siegal, a freshman right-hander, entered the contest 6-0 with a 1.29 ERA on the season . . . Siegal had allowed six runs in forty-two innings coming into the game, he left after four innings on Thursday having allowed five runs.

Lopez made a catch in right field to end the sixth that words cannot justify . . . A fly ball was headed toward the wall . . . Lopez, with his back completely to infield, reached out in front of him and made contact with the ball as it headed for the ground . . . Lopez knocked the ball into the air and then caught it a fraction of a second later to end the frame and the Tulane scoring threat.

Deese left after the seventh inning having allowed just two runs . . . Ben Sears came in to start the eighth inning and pitched the ninth to close out the 6-3 win on a double-play.

Deese improved to 3-2 on the season with the victory.

Houston and Tulane get together again on Friday night at Schroeder Park for the middle game of the weekend series . . . Kyle LaCalameto will take the mound for the Cougars, he will throw the first pitch at 6:30pm.

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.

Houston Shutout in Opener; Deese Throws Compete Game

The first of 137 pitches in a complete game by Jaycob Deese Friday night

The Houston Cougars opened American Athletic Conference play on Friday night on the wrong end of a 4-0 shutout by the Wichita State Shockers at Schroeder Park.

The Cougars combined the dangerous mixture of few hits, nine, with three errors in the field behind their starting pitcher . . . Defensive errors committed in the second and the ninth led to runs in both frames, the runs of the game for the Shockers.

Jace Kaminska was dominant all night and the Cougars only threatened in two innings when a Houston base runner reached third base . . . Kaminska pitched eight innings allowing just the four hits and striking out twelve Houston batters.

Jaycob Deese put on one of the gutsiest displays of any starting pitcher in recent memory tossing nine complete innings in a game where he needed to keep his team close as they trailed 1-0 most of the way . . . The complete game by Deese is the first for Houston since Aaron Fletcher accomplished the feat in March 2018 against Memphis . . . Deese also finished at 137 pitches, a career high.

Samuel Benjamin made a couple of nice grabs in left field on Friday night, and Zach Arnold played well at third base . . . The three errors in Friday’s contest were costly, but is it worth noting the solid defense as well.

The Cougars and the Shockers are back in action on Saturday night at Schroeder Park . . . The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Houston Wins 8-2 Over Texas A&M

Ian McMillan bats with the bases loaded in College Station on Tuesday night

The Houston Cougars scored seven runs in the final two innings to leave College Station with an 8-2 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies on Tuesday night.

Left-hander Kyle LaCalameto took the mound for Houston and allowed just one run over four innings . . . Scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, the Aggies took advantage of a walk and a stolen base when a single into right field gave them a 1-0 lead.

Jackson Dannelley tossed a scoreless fifth inning as he continues to work his way back from an injury he sustained on opening weekend in Scottsdale, Tuesday night was just his second appearance since his return, his other outing was in Lafayette on Saturday.

Still 1-0 in the top of the sixth, Brandon Uhse led off the inning with a double . . . One out later, with Uhse at third base, Alex Lopez grounded out to second base allowing Uhse to score the tying run.

The Aggies re-took the lead 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh before Ben Sears took the mound in relief of Logan Clayton and got a strike out to end the inning with Aggie runners at first and second base.

Uhse led off the eighth inning by reaching on an error at third base . . . Zach Arnold (3-for-5) then singled, which was followed by an infield single by Lopez (3-for-5) that tied the game . . . The Cougars would load the bases before another infield single, this time off the bat of Samuel Benjamin, would give Houston a 3-2 lead and keep the bases loaded . . . Ian McMillan then tripled into the right field corner to clear the bases and give the Cougars a 6-2 lead.

After a scoreless inning from Sears to take the Cougars to the ninth inning, Houston continued their offensive output and added two insurance runs for an 8-2 lead . . . Sears set the Aggies down in order to finish the game and he picked up the win as he improved to 3-0 while retiring all seven batters he faced over his 2 1/3 innings.
“So proud of Ben and his embracing the role as closer,” head coach Todd Whitting said after the game. “He had to make some big adjustments for Coach Bunn to earn that job, and to this point has been awesome.”

The Cougars are now off until Friday night when they will host Columbia for a three-game weekend series . . . First pitch from Schroeder Park on Friday will be at 6:30pm.

Houston Offensive Woes Continue, Shutout by TCU

Houston pitcher Jose Torrealba pitches to TCU on Sunday in Scottsdale

The Houston Cougars finished their opening weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona by being shut out 10-0 by TCU on Sunday . . . In a game that began in the morning but was completed in the early afternoon, Houston fell behind in the first frame and never got going offensively.

Five walks in the first inning by Houston starting pitching put the Horned Frogs in front to stay . . . The Cougars had to go to the bullpen in the first inning and newcomer Jose Torrealba was able to stop the bleeding . . . Torrealba took a liner off his lower body in the third inning before he had recorded an out, and Jose left the game as a result.

Jaycob Deese stepped in and provided a solid outing over five innings while saving the bullpen from overuse in the final two games of the MLB4 Tournament.

Leading 8-0 in the eighth, TCU plates two more runs in the bottom frame to end the game on the run-rule, which is usually in place for Sunday games.

Offensively, Houston struggled all weekend . . . On Sunday, Ryan Hernandez was 2-for-4 and Samuel Benjamin was 2-for-3, the two account for half of the teams hits.

Houston now heads to Lake Charles, Louisiana where they will face the McNeese State Cowboys on Tuesday at 6:00pm . . . The Cougars will open up their home schedule at Schroeder Park on Friday at 6:30pm against Texas Southern before squaring off with UT Rio Grande Valley on Saturday and Sunday.

Aztecs Outlast Cougars 4-3

Photo tweeted by @MLB4_AZ

The Houston Cougars only yielded four runs on Saturday night in Scottsdale, matching their Friday output . . . But, as with Friday afternoon, the four runs on Saturday were not enough as the Cougars fell 4-3 to the San Diego State Aztecs.

Logan Clayton took the hill for the Cougars in his first start since transferring to Houston . . . Clayton would take the loss, but his performance was solid as he was consistently in the mid 90s with his fastball and struck out six while only giving up four hits in 4 1/3 innings.

With the game scoreless in the fifth, Samuel Benjamin (2-for-4) tripled with one out to score Ian McMillan (2-for-4) and put the Cougars in front 1-0.

Having reached 81 pitches in a game this early in the season, Clayton was on a pitch limit of about 80 and was thus replaced on the mound with one out in the bottom of the fifth . . . San Diego State scored three times in the inning to take the lead . . . The Aztecs

With two outs in the ninth, Brandon Uhse, in his first plate appearance of the season doubled to left-center to score McMillan and Benjamin and that got the Cougars to within a run at 4-3 . . . But the Cougars would strand the tying run at second in falling to the Aztecs.

The Cougars used five pitchers in the game on Saturday, compared to just the two pitchers they used on Friday . . . Kyle LaCalameto and Cameron Prayer both got some work in after Clayton’s departure . . . Jackson Dannelley made his first appearance as a Cougar but left with an apparent injury after retiring the only batter he faced to open the eighth . . . Ben Sears picked up the final two outs of the eighth on just three pitches after having time to warm up as a result of the Dannelley injury.

The Cougars will complete their action in the MLB4 Tournament on Sunday when they face TCU at 11am Central Time.

Medrano Dominates in Debut, Cougars Drop 2022 Opener

A new look Houston Cougars squad took the field for the first time in 2022 against the Cal Golden Bears in Scottsdale, Arizona on Friday afternoon to open the MLB4 Tournament . . . Friday’s starting lineup featured six players new to the Cougars program, including one true freshman, two second year players with minimal playing experience in 2021, along with Ryan Hernandez and Ian McMillan as the only guys with extensive experience.

Right-hander Nathan Medrano, a junior college transfer, got the starting nod for Houston and he did not disappoint in his debut.

The Cougars offense had to deal with a tough starting pitcher for Cal in Josh White, one of the nations highest touted right-handers.

Both teams were scoreless through the sixth inning, Cal had gone to the bullpen with one out in the sixth as White’s pitch count climbed close to eighty pitches . . . Medrano remained in the game and surrendered his only run of the game in the seventh inning before finishing the inning just shy of eighty pitches.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cougars took advantage of a walk to Anthony Tulimero followed by an error on a ball put in play by Samuel Benjamin . . . With runners at first and second and two outs, pinch-hitter Cameron Nickens hit a grounder to the right side of the pitcher’s mound, which was fielded cleanly by Cal’s Chris Stamos, but Stamos threw wide of first base and eventually both base runners scored and Nickens stopped at third base and the Cougars led 2-1.

A solo home run in the ninth off of closer Derrick Cherry tied the game at two and after a scoreless bottom of the ninth, the two teams moved into the tenth inning . . . The Golden Bears plated two in the tenth which the Cougars were unable to match as they suffered the extra inning defeat to open the season.

For Medrano, his seven inning performance was the most innings by a Houston starter on Opening Day since Valentine’s Day 2014 when Aaron Garza went seven against Nicholls State . . . Medrano only allowed three hits and walked one while striking out six.

Head coach Todd Whitting was obviously pleased with what he saw from Medrano. “Thought Medrano gave us a great opportunity to win,” said Whitting, adding that Medrano had “excellent execution of all of his pitches and competed every pitch.” Whitting added, “He is going to be a great Friday night guy for us the rest of the way.”

Samuel Tormos started Friday in center field and made the play of the day when he tracked down a long fly ball to end the sixth inning behind Medrano . . . Tormos, going to his right and toward the wall in deep left-center, had to leave his feet and catch the ball back-handed as his face and body crashed into the wall before he went to the ground.

The Cougars will take the field again on Saturday at 6pm Central Time against San Diego State, that game could start a little later if the game prior runs long . . . Logan Clayton will make the start for Todd Whitting’s squad, making his first appearance in a Cougars uniform . . . No word yet on who will pitch Sunday’s finale with TCU, but the Cougars only used two pitchers in ten innings on Friday, so they have a lot of options going into the final two games in Scottsdale.

Cougars Walk-off Winners in the Ninth, 6-5

Ben Sears delivers Saturday’s first pitch at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats needed all nine frames to decide a winner at Schroeder Park on Saturday as the Cougars walked off winners 6-5.

Ben Sears was on the mound for Houston on Saturday and his first two innings were smooth as he was getting ahead of batters and getting first-pitch outs.

Cincinnati led off the third with a solo home run and added two in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead.

Ryan Hernandez led off the Houston fourth by hitting his eighth home run of the season over the left field wall on the first pitch of the inning.

Samuel Tormos, who collected his first college base hit on Saturday, added his second hit in the second inning on Saturday, a double to the left field corner . . . He added his first collegiate home run in the fifth when he hit a no-doubter over the wall in left, Tormos knew he had hit it well off the bat.

The Cougars were not done in the frame though, as three of the next four batters singled and Ryan Hernandez was hit by a pitch to walk in a run . . . Will Pendergrass followed with a single to center to put the Cougars in front 4-3 going to the sixth.

A Brandon Uhse single in the sixth scored Tormos from second and increased the Cougar lead to 5-3 heading to the seventh inning.

Cincinnati got a run back in the seventh on a leadoff solo home run which led to the exit of Ben Sears and the arrival of Derrick Cherry . . . Cherry retired the side to end the seventh, striking out two.

Cincinnati tied the game at five in the bottom of the ninth on a single to left that plated a runner from second base.

Ryan Hernandez (2-for-4) led off the ninth with a single deep behind second base, he was able to leg-out a close attempt at first to reach base . . . Samuel Benjamin pinch-ran for Hernandez and promptly stole second base . . . With one out, Steven Rivas was intentionally walked to put two runners on . . . Ian McMillan hit a ground ball through the hole at second and Benjamin raced around third and beat a throw to the plate to give the Cougars a 6-5 win.

Derrick Cherry, who pitched the final three innings in relief of Ben Sears, picked up the win, his second of the season . . . The Houston offense pounded out twelve base hits in the Saturday contest.

“The Coaches have been working with me and I’ve been squaring the ball up the last two days,” Tormos said after the game . . . “Awesome,” Tormos replied with a sigh when asked about his first collegiate home run . . . The freshman, who was 2-for-3 in the game with two RBI, expects to hit well after his stellar high school career and a solid fall camp which included a home run in the Red vs. White series . . . When asked how that first collegiate home run felt, and about the fact that he knew it was gone off the bat, Tormos just laughed and said, “yeah.”

The Cougars and the Bearcats close out the series and the final Cougars home game of 2021 on Sunday at noon . . . Prior to the game, Houston will recognize its seven senior student athletes . . . Carter Henry will be on the mound for the Cougars. –

Cougars Walk-Off Winners in 11 Over UT

Ben Sears throws the first pitch of Saturday’s game at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars took the field on Saturday afternoon having not scored a run since last Sunday in Corpus Christi . . . While runs were hard to come by on Saturday, the Cougars got one more than the Texas Longhorns did in an eleven inning thriller at Schroeder Park.

Kyle Lovelace drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the second when he hit a two-out single to center to score Samuel Benjamin to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead . . . Lovelace was 1-for-5 on the afternoon but was again a vacuum behind the plate and caught the only Longhorn that attempted to steal a base.

Ben Sears worked 5 1/3 innings as he got the start for the third time this season . . . Sears only allowed two runs and struck out six and left the game as a would-be losing pitcher if things remained as they were . . . It worked out differently.

Ryne Huggins entered the game, after Layne Looney faced a batter, to get the final out of the sixth, but the Longhorns had taken a 2-0 lead at that point.

Samuel Benjamin had two hits in this game, a single in the second, and a two-out double to left-center in the sixth which led to Texas going to their bullpen for the first time of the weekend . . . Will Pendergrass welcomed the new pitcher by lining a triple to the wall in right-center scoring Benjamin and tying the game . . . Head Coach Todd Whitting mentioned earlier in the week that Benjamin and Pendergrass were the future of the program, comparing them to Rivas and Hernandez, the duo looked the part on Saturday afternoon.

Steven Rivas returned to the line-up after only appearing once in a one at-bat pinch-hitting role in Friday nights 1-0 defeat . . . Rivas was 1-for-5 with a single to right field in the seventh that looked to be part of a potential rally, but was foiled soon after . . . The Cougars again threatened when they loaded the bases in the eighth but that rally ended with a strikeout.

Jaycob Deese pitched three scoreless innings in relief to move the game along and he was dominating . . . Deese was consistently throwing 92 plus and ended his first inning of work on a 97mph fastball . . . Overall Deese struck out five and allowed both a hit and a walk and saw his ERA drop to 2.03 . . . Blake Schultz took the mound in the tenth and eleventh and blanked Texas in both . . . Discussing the bullpen’s effort on Saturday, Head Coach Todd Whitting said, “For those guys to come in and throw strikes like they did, it was huge for us to give us a chance to win that game.”

With one out in the eleventh, Tyler Bielamowicz hit an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence off of Texas pitcher Aaron Nixon to send the Cougars home with a 3-2 victory . . . Bielamowicz was 1-for-4 with two walks on Saturday, but the one was a big one . . . After the celebration at home plate, Tyler was quick to heap praise on his teammates for the win, “Ben Sears pitched a hell of a game today. The guys coming out of the pen pitched a hell of a game.” “Benjamin and Pendergrass had some good late hits to get the rally going.”

Blake Schultz picked up the win to improve to 2-0 with his two innings of late relief work . . . Schultz has been the Sunday starter to begin the season, but having pitched on Saturday now, there is a change afoot for Sunday’s game, no decision on who will start Sunday has been announced yet.

Coach Whitting said after the game about the series with Texas, “That’s a resume builder is what that is. And tomorrow we have to get right back to it and keep building that resume.” “This is resume-building time of year and that’s why they’re on the schedule.”

The Longhorns and Cougars return to action on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 for the rubber match at Schroeder Park, both teams have scored just three runs each in the first two games . . . Asked how his team can win on Sunday, Tyler Bielamowicz said, “Energy. Sunday is all about energy.” –