Houston Loses to East Carolina, Clinches Third Spot in AAC

Houston faced East Carolina in Greenville, NC on Saturday night

Houston lost 5-3 to East Carolina on Saturday night, and while the Cougars now know their place in next week’s American Athletic Conference tournament in Clearwater, they do not know who their first opponent will be once they get there.

The Pirates plated a pair of runs in each of the first two innings on Saturday and held a 4-0 lead through four innings.

Anthony Tulimero (2-for-4) led off the top of the fifth inning with a single that squeezed between the shortstop and third baseman and rolled into left field . . . One out later, Ryan Hernandez hit his twelfth home run of the season over the wall in right-center field to cut the East Carolina lead in half, 4-2.

Zach Arnold (2-for-4) added a one-out RBI single in the top of the sixth inning, driving in Samuel Tormos who had reached on a throwing error, and Houston only trailed 4-3.

The Cougars got no closer than that, with the Pirates adding a run in the eighth inning and taking a 5-3 lead, which would be the final score . . . The Cougars got in some work for six pitchers in the game, in the next-to-last preparation before play begins in Clearwater on Tuesday . . . The Houston offense only collected five hits on Saturday, by just three players.

A loss by UCF earlier on Saturday opened up an opportunity for the Cougars to make things more interesting if they could win their final two games, but with the loss to East Carolina, Houston clinched the third spot in the standings as they wait to find out who they will face in their first game in Clearwater, though it will be a contest between either Memphis or Wichita State in the late game on Tuesday night.

Houston and East Carolina close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon with a 12 noon start time . . . Both teams will head to Clearwater after the series to prepare for the conference tournament which begins on Tuesday morning . . . The Cougars have not named a Saturday starter at this point.

Houston Takes Opener Against Bulls in Tampa

Houston traveled east to face the South Florida Bulls on Friday in Tampa, Fla

Houston defeated the South Florida Bulls by a final of 6-5 on Friday afternoon in Tampa, Florida to take the opening game of their weekend conference series. The start time for the game was moved up several hours because of threatening weather, so the first pitch actually took place just after 11am Houston time.

Jaycob Deese got the Friday start once again for the Cougars and he was sharp early, kept his pitch count respectable and despite a couple of mistake pitches, gave Houston a great start that positions them well for the rest of the weekend with regard to the bullpen.

Anthony Tulimero led off the second inning by walking to be the Cougars first base runner of the afternoon . . . Cameron Nickens doubled to the gap in right-center to score Tulimero and give the Cougars the early lead . . . Ryan Hernandez then singled into right against the shift to plate Nickens and Houston led 2-0 going to the bottom of the inning . . . Tulimero extended his current reached-base streak to thirteen games, he had a similar streak to begin the season that spanned the first fifteen games before it ended on March 13.

Trailing 3-2 in the top of the sixth, Houston got a one-out double from Alex Lopez to start a rally . . . A hit batter and a fielders choice loaded the bases and the Cougars tied the game on a wild pitch . . . Hernandez then drove a ball into left field allowing Tulimero to tag up from third base on the sacrifice fly and Houston led 4-3.

Samuel Tormos (2-for-3) led off the seventh with a single and Tab Tracy entered the game to pinch run for Tormos . . . Tracy stole second and was driven home on a double by Brandon Uhse off the wall in left field . . . Zach Arnold (2-for-5) followed with a single up the middle that scored Uhse and the Cougars had a 6-3 lead.

Ben Sears replaced Deese with two outs in the seventh inning to record the final seven outs leading by a pair of runs . . . After posting a zero in the eighth, the Bulls got a run off Sears in the ninth inning to narrow the deficit, but Sears got a key ground out and a fly ball to center to secure the 6-5 victory . . . Deese improved to 4-2 on the season with the win, and the save was the ninth for Sears.

The Cougars improved to 27-15 overall and 8-5 in The American . . . The eighth conference win surpasses the seven conference victories in all of 2021 with eleven conference games left to play this season.

Weather has moved the schedule around quite a bit this weekend, the Cougars and the Bulls will play the middle game of their series on Saturday morning, first pitch from Tampa is scheduled for 9am . . . Left-hander Kyle LaCalameto will be on the mound for Houston.

Houston Takes Tulane Series with 10-9 Win

Derrick Cherry opens up the Saturday finale against Tulane

Houston took advantage of a nine run inning on Saturday afternoon to claim their second conference series win in three attempts with a 10-9 victory over Tulane.

The Green Wave jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead with the help of two home runs in the opening frame . . . While Houston was kept off the board in the meantime, Tulane added a run in the fourth and Houston went to the bullpen.

Houston got a run in the fourth when Cameron Nickens (2-for-3) doubled to the wall in right-center field and scored Anthony Tulimero from first base, but Houston trailed 4-1.

Logan Clayton took the mound in the fourth and also handled the fifth, striking out two batters while Tulimero caught another runner trying to steal second base.

The Cougars then exploded in the fifth inning . . . A two-out double to left-center field by Zach Arnold (3-for-5) scored two runs before Alex Lopez smoked a ball toward second base that the fielder had no chance on, but the ball made contact with him and lost momentum as it rolled into right field allowing Arnold to score from second to tie the game at four.

Tulimero singled and a walk to Nickens loaded the bases for Ryan Hernandez . . . Hernandez (3-for-4) drove a ball to left field that was mis-played by the left fielder which allowed the bases to clear and Hernandez ended up at second base with a double . . . Samuel Tormos (2-for-3) followed with his second single of the inning, this one drove in Hernandez from second base . . . Ian McMillan then homered to left field for the second day in a row and the Cougars led 10-4 having scored nine runs in the inning with two outs.

Ben Sears took the mound with two outs in the sixth inning and got a strike out to end the frame . . . Sears stayed in the game to record the final ten outs and despite allowing a pair of runs in the eighth inning, closed out the 10-9 victory to earn his seventh save of the season, while Clayton took the win and improved to 2-3.

The Houston offense scored ten or more runs in back-to-back games for the fourth time this season . . . Five different Houston batters had multiple hits in the Saturday game.

The Cougars are off until Tuesday when they will welcome Houston Baptist to Schroeder Park for a midweek contest . . . First pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Houston Drops Opener to Columbia 9-5

Houston hosted Columbia at Schroeder Park on Friday night.

An orange moon slowly rose beyond the right field wall and up into the night as Houston dropped their opener with Columbia 9-5 on Friday night.

A Columbia lead off home run in the third was followed later in the inning with a three-run home run and the Lions led 4-0 . . . An inning later a lead off triple was followed by a sacrifice fly that pushed the lead to 5-0.

Trailing 9-0 in the sixth, the Cougars offense got started with three straight hits . . . Zach Arnold (2-for-4) drove in the first run and another run came home on an Anthony Tulimero sacrifice fly to right field . . . Cameron Nickens then pinch hit and hit the first pitch he saw into deep right-center to make the score 9-3 . . . Samuel Tormos followed with a pinch hit single of his own into left field two drive in two more in the five-run inning.

Two Lions walked to open the seventh inning and Houston went to the bullpen for right-hander Derrick Cherry . . . Cherry struck out the first two batters he faced before a ground out to short ended the frame and prevented further damage.

Cherry took the game the rest of the way and kept the Lions from adding to their lead while the Cougars offense was silent over the final three innings as they fell 9-5 . . . Brandon Uhse extended his hit streak to fourteen straight games in the loss . . . Only three Cougars registered multiple base bits in the game.

The Cougars and the Lions will face off again on Saturday evening at 6:3pm at Schroeder Park . . . Nathan Medrano will take the mound for the Cougars . . . And a reminder in case you had not heard, Sunday’s game at Schroeder Park has been moved up one hour and the first pitch will take place at 12 noon.

Houston Win Streak Ends in 13-8 Defeat

Malachi Lott pitches in the ninth inning Friday at Schroeder Park

The Cougars six game winning streak came to an end Saturday night at Schroeder Park as they fell to the UIW Cardinals 13-8 . . . The loss was the Cougars first at home this season.

Cougars pitching was in trouble most of the night as the Cardinals roughed up most of the eights pitchers that Houston sent to the mound.

The Cougars fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first on a two-run home run . . . Later in the frame, a single drive in one run before a double to the left field wall scored two more and Houston trailed 5-0 before they had even come to bat.

But the Cougars got back in the game quickly . . . Brandon Uhse led off the bottom of the inning with a single . . . A walk put two in for Ryan Hernandez who hammered a ball that hit off the wall in left-center and was good for two bases . . . A sacrifice fly to center by Samuel Tormos made the score 5-3 going to the second inning.

Trailing 6-3 in the second, Malachi Lott reached first after he struck out but was able to race down to first on the wild pitch . . . Hernandez (3-for-4) picked up his third RBI of the game with a single that scored Uhse.

Lott doubled to lead off the fourth and he scored on a Uhse (2-for-4) double . . . Zach Arnold drove in Uhse as part of a 2-for-4 night and the Cougars only trailed 8-7 . . . Colby Casey pitched a valuable 1 2/3 innings over the fourth and fifth innings to help the bullpen attempt to save arms.

The Cardinals got to the Houston bullpen for five runs in the sixth . . . Taylor Parrett made his Cougars debut in the seventh and pitched a scoreless inning while he struck out two.

Lott took the mound for the eighth and ninth innings and was terrific over two scoreless frames where he did not allow a hit and struck out two while retiring all six batters he faced.

Freshman Cameron Nickens led off the ninth inning for the Cougars by hitting the first pitch of the inning over the wall in left-center for his first collegiate home run, but the Cougars went down in order after that and the 13-8 loss evened the weekend series with Incarnate Word.

The Cougars and the Cardinals will compete for the series win on Sunday at 1pm at Schroeder Park when Nathan Medrano will take the hill for Houston.

Cougars Defeat Cards, Extend Win Streak to Six

Jaycob Deese pitches to the Cardinals leadoff batter Friday

A five game winning streak was on the line Friday night at Schroeder Park as the Cougars welcomed the Cardinals of Incarnate Word University for a weekend series . . . Houston would put together another late offensive attack to eventually walk away 5-2 winners.

Jaycob Deese was on the mound for the Cougars, his first start of 2022, but his third appearance thus far . . . Deese was overpowering early in his appearance, striking out the side in both the second and third innings.

Samuel Tormos got the Cougars on the board first when he hit a solo home run to left field with one out in the bottom of the second, his first home run of the year . . . Catcher Anthony Tulimero followed with a single to extend his reaches base streak to all nine games to open the season.

The Cardinals tied the game at one in the top of the fifth.

Batting with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth, Alex Lopez lined a single into right field scoring Malachi Lott, while Brandon Uhse was thrown out at the plate, but the Cougars regained the lead 2-1 . . . The Cardinals tied the game again in the sixth on a solo home run.

In the bottom of the sixth, Lott drove a ball deep to right and the Cougars took a 3-2 lead on the sacrifice fly . . . Uhse and Zach Arnold each followed with RBI singles to push the Cougars advantage to 5-2 going to the seventh.

Derrick Cherry took the mound in the seventh and delivered a scoreless inning . . . The Cougars then went to the bullpen again in the eighth in favor of Jose Torrealba . . . Torrealba pitched the final two innings and did not yield any ground as he closed out the 5-2 Houston victory and pushed the winning streak to six games in a row.

Left-hander Cameron Prayer picked up the win for his inning of work in relief, his first win of the season . . . Torrealba picked up the save, his first of the season, for his two innings to close out the win.

The Cougars host the Cardinals again on Saturday night at 6:30pm . . . Logan Clayton will be making his third start of the year for Houston.

Houston Sweeps Sunday Twin Bill, Weekend Homestand

Logan Clayton faces UT Rio Grande Valley on Sunday

Sunday proved a tale of two very different ballgames for the Houston Cougars, with the common denominator being two victories to push the current win streak to four games with 16-10 and 3-1 wins over UTRGV.

Sunday’s first game was nearly a four hour event, and when it was over, the Cougars had handed the Vaqueros their first loss of the season, in a 16-10 marathon. The sixteen runs were the most runs scored in a game since the Cougars scored as many against Stephen F. Austin in 2019.

The Vaqueros led early as they took a 4-0 lead in the second inning . . . The Cougars got back in the game in the bottom of the second inning . . . It started with catcher Anthony Tulimero taking a two-out walk which also extended his reached base streak to six games . . . Skyler Trevino delivered the first of his three singles in the game, which was followed by three straight walks and a hit batter and the Cougars only trailed 4-3.

Houston tied the game at four in the third only to give the lead back in the fourth . . . Already leading 7-4, the Vaqueros added two runs in the sixth.

In the bottom frame, Zach Arnold hit a two-out two-run home run over the wall in right field for the Cougars first home run of the season and Houston was within three, 9-6.

Patrick Dunn and Maddux Miller both delivered scoreless relief in the middle frames of game one when the Cougars needed outs.

In the bottom of the seventh, an error in center field left two runners on base for Malachi Lott . . . Lott (2-for-3) tripled to the wall in right-center, the first hit of his collegiate career, and good for two runs batted-in . . . That was followed by a Brandon Uhse double and singles by Zach Arnold and Ryan Hernandez on the way to the first of two consecutive five run innings.

In the bottom of the eighth, Trevino, McMillan, and Lott all led off with singles to set up the top of the order . . . After Hernandez was walked intentionally, freshman Cameron Nickens picked up two RBI on the first base hit of his collegiate career . . . Tormos and Tulimero followed with run-scoring singles and the Cougars led 16-9.

Derrick Cherry handled the eighth and ninth innings on the mound, and though the Vaqueros got one run back in the ninth, it was not enough as Houston took the first game 16-10.

Logan Clayton took the hill for the Cougars in game two and set a different pace from game one.

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a groundout by Rey Mendoza . . . The Vaqueros tied the game in the third on a run-scoring double and the score would remain tied until the eighth inning.

Clayton exited after seven complete innings having allowed the single run on only two hits and adding five strike outs to his tally . . . Ben Sears took the mound in the eighth with the game tied at one.

Houston rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth, sparked by an Alex Lopez RBI single which was followed by a Tormos RBI single and the Cougars led 3-1 going to the top of the ninth.

Sears gave up two singles in the ninth, but another nice defensive play by Trevino at second base ended the game and made Sears (2-0) a winner for his two innings of scoreless work in the 3-1 victory.

McMillan was a star on the diamond again on Sunday, making at least three remarkable plays behind his pitchers in both games . . . Tulimero’s single in the second inning of game two extended his reached base streak to seven, all seven games of the season thus far.

Houston is now 4-3 on the year and they have a day off before they play host to Lamar at Schroeder Park on Tuesday night, first pitch is at 6:30pm.

Cougars Open First Homestand with 11-4 Win Over TSU

Skyler Trevino apllies a tag on an attempted steal of second base Friday night

Houston was able to play the long game better than Texas Southern on Friday evening at Schroeder Park as the Cougars scored in each of their final four at-bats, nine runs in total after the fifth inning to take the 11-4 victory on opening night of their home schedule.

Kerry Wright was on the mound Friday afternoon for Houston after a disappointing opening start for him last Sunday in Scottsdale . . . After a scoreless first inning, Texas Southern scored in the second inning on a play that was close enough at the plate that it needed to be reviewed before it was confirmed.

The Cougars added two runs in the bottom of the second when Zach Arnold (2-for-4) singled with the bases loaded to put Houston in front 2-1.

The Tigers tied the game in the third . . . Wright gave way to Colby Casey in the fourth inning having struck out four in his three innings and allowing just the two earned runs . . . Casey went two scoreless innings in which he also did not allow a hit.

Houston catcher Anthony Tulimero, who is swinging a hot bat to start the season, is doing his part behind the plate as well, on Friday he had thrown out two base runners trying to steal, including speedy former Cougar Jonathan Thomas, by the end of the fifth inning.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth, Samuel Tormos hit a drive deep the left that in normal conditions would have landed on Elgin . . . Instead, the drive off of Tormos’s bat was caught up against the left field wall and the ball was fired in to second base . . . Chaos ensued as the umpires gathered and tried to figure out what had just happened . . . Eventually, a run was counted as it crossed the plate before the runner was apparently called out at second for having left early trying to tag up . . . The inning came to an end on the double-play with the Cougars once again in the lead, 3-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Cougars added a run on a single by Ian McMillan (3-for-4) . . . Brandon Uhse keyed a three-run seventh inning with a two-out double off the right field wall to push the Cougar lead to 7-2 . . . Tulimero (3-for-5) drove in two more in the eighth with a double to right-center . . . An error on a fly to right field allowing another run was followed by a McMillan RBI single to left.

Jaycob Deese took the mound to start the sixth inning and his stuff was electric, despite the conditions outside . . . Deese struck out a career-high nine batters, of the twelve outs he recorded, in many cases he simply overpowered guys.

Head coach Todd Whitting was ecstatic about the performance from his right-hander out of the bullpen, “Difference in the game was Deese coming in and shutting down TSU.” Whitting added, “In those conditions tonight it took a tough competitor to come off the bench and give his team a great performance like he did.”

“Tuli has been exactly what we thought he would be coming into the season,” said head coach Todd Whitting after the game, “a great receiver and the ability to deliver at home plate in the clutch.” Of the runners Tulimero caught trying to steal Friday night, Whitting added. “His performance to shut down TSU’s running game was huge tonight.”

Casey (1-0) was the pitcher of record, so he picked up the win with Deese earning the save, his first of the season, with his four inning performance to finish the game . . . Ryan Hernandez was 3-for-5 in Friday’s game, and while the power numbers are not there yet, he is going to the gaps and hitting the ball hard.

Houston has won two straight games now and returns to action on Saturday afternoon against UT Rio Grande Valley, first pitch is at 4pm at Schroeder Park, with Nathan Medrano making his second start of the season.

Cougars Claim First Victory of 2022, Win 3-2 at McNeese

Houston faces McNeese in Lake Charles on Tuesday

After a disappointing weekend in Arizona, the Cougars picked up their first victory of the season against McNeese in Lake Charles on Tuesday.

Samuel Tormos got the scoring started for the Cougars in the top of the first when he singled home two runs with two outs and the Cougars took the early lead.

Derrick Cherry started on the mound for the Cougars . . . Coach Whitting said pregame they wanted two to three innings out of Cherry, they got two scoreless as Cherry yielded one hit and struck out three and he left with the Cougars leading 2-0.

McNeese tied the game in the bottom of the third on a two-run home run . . . The game would remain tied until the top of the sixth when a bases loaded grounder off the bat of Ian McMillan scored Santiago Garcia from third base and the Cougars led once again, 3-2.

Ben Sears threw four scoreless innings with seven strike outs while allowing just two hits, and no walks . . . It was a solid outing for the right-hander from Rhode Island as he was efficient with his pitches and got a lot of first pitch strikes.

Jose Torrealba, who left Sunday’s game in Scottsdale after being hit by a batted ball, returned for the Cougars on Tuesday night and retired the only three batters he faced, two of them by strike out . . . Nathan Medrano took the mound for the ninth inning and struck out the first two batters on the way to closing out the 3-2 victory and picking up the save, his first of the season . . . Ben Sears earned the win and is now 1-0.

Coach Todd Whitting was pleased with the outcome and had high praise for his pitching staff. “Great display of Grit and courage by Cherry and Sears tonight, this was a game where their team needed a great performance and they both delivered,” Whitting said. “Overall great performance by the entire staff tonight with Torrealba and Medrano slamming the door.”

The Cougars offense only had two hits in the win, but it was enough to win on this night.

The Cougars head back to town and will open up the home portion of their season on Friday night when they face Texas Southern at Schroeder Oark . . . First pitch on Friday is at 6:30pm.

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.