Cougars Lose American Championship Opener

Houston Cougars Baseball

The American Conference Championship got underway Tuesday morning in Clearwater, Florida with the first pitch between the UConn Huskies and the Houston Cougars . . . The ability for any team to determine its path can be realized by just playing one game at a time, keep winning, you keep playing, lose a game, and the slope becomes much steeper to climb.

Houston sent Lael Lockhart Jr. to the mound for the morning start, and Lockhart seemed to have adapted well . . . A mistake by Lockhart in the second inning found its way to the left field seats, but Lockhart was very much in control scattering just four other hits through six innings of work as Lockhart took the game into the seventh inning.

Trailing 2-0 in the fourth, Jared Triolo got the Cougars on the scoreboard with a no-doubter to left to cut the lead to 2-1 . . . The homerun was part of a 2-for-4 morning for Triolo . . . Joe Davis evened the score at two with a solo homerun of his own to left-center in the top of the sixth inning.

The Cougars took the lead in the top of the seventh when Kobe Hyland singled home Grayson Padgett to make the score 3-2 . . . Padgett had reached base when he was hit by a pitch and then stole second.

In the bottom of the seventh Lockhart surrendered his fifth and final hit, a homerun to left, which tied the game at three . . . Sean Bretz entered the game and eventually ended the inning, making way for Fred Villarreal . . . Villarreal pitched a scoreless eighth sending the tied ballgame to the ninth.

Houston loaded the bases in the top of the ninth but could not push a run across . . . In the bottom of the ninth, a leadoff single would eventually end up on second, and that run would be driven home by UConn third baseman David Langer with a single to center off of Villarreal to give the Huskies a 4-3 win.

The Cougars will play Wednesday at 2pm Houston time, the opponent is not yet known, but it will be the loser of the East Carolina and Wichita State game which starts forty-seven minutes after the Cougars game ended, so we will know the opponent soon enough. –

Cougars Shutout UCF 2-0, Even Series

Houston Cougars Baseball

After a lopsided shutout on Thursday night, Friday night’s game between the Houston Cougars and the UCF Knights proved to be more of a taste of a series between two teams with nearly identical records.

Clay Aguilar took the hill for the Cougars and though he was laboring through long innings early, he was putting up zeroes and keeping the Knights off the board . . . He parted the game with a runner on but no outs in the fifth in favor of Sean Bretz, who subsequently ended the inning and pitched two scoreless innings on the night.

The game slugged along with base runners, but stranded base-runners . . . Neither team scored until the top of the seventh, and neither team scored after that frame.

Joe Davis would provide all the offense the Cougars needed on Friday night when he hit a two-run homerun to center in the seventh, his seventeenth of the season, and his first since April 12th at Wichita State . . . For Davis the homer was part of a 2-for-3 night, only Brad Burckel joined Davis with multiple hits in the game.

Fred Villarreal pitched a scoreless final three frames to earn his tenth save of the year . . . For UCF, this was their first nine-inning shutout of the season . . . Sean Bretz picked up the win, his second of the year . . . Clay Aguilar lowered his ERA to 2.65, which is an extraordinary number for someone who did not start the season as the “Saturday starter” but has moved into the role nicely.

The Cougars can claim the road series on Saturday when they conclude the series with UCF at 5pm Houston time in Orlando. –

Cougars Sweep UNLV with 9-2 Victory

Houston Cougars faces UNLV Sunday at Schroeder Park. Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.
Houston Cougars faces UNLV Sunday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.

A sunny and hot afternoon with clouds dotting the sky greeted the UNLV Rebels and the Houston Cougars Sunday afternoon at Schroeder Park . . . The Cougars arrived winners of two straight, including a 2-0 shut-out of UNLV on Saturday night.

Left-hander Clay Aguilar started Sunday’s game and surrendered a run in the opening frame, Cougars would get it back quickly when Jared Triolo hit his sixth homerun of the season to leadoff the bottom of the first . . . For Aguilar, the looping single by Bryson Stott to leadoff the game was the last batter to reach base until the fifth inning, Aguilar retired thirteen straight Rebels in that span . . . For Triolo, the leadoff homerun was the first of five hits in the game in a 5-for-5 afternoon that included five RBI.

The Cougars started their half of the sixth with three straight doubles followed by a single, they would score two runs in the inning to extend their one-run lead to 5-2.

Clay Aguilar exited the game in the sixth with two outs and runners on second and third . . . Sean Bretz entered the game and walked the bases loaded, but clutch pitching left the bases loaded for the Rebels in the sixth and Bretz would work out of another bases-loaded situation in the seventh inning . . . Bretz went a total of 1 1/3 innings scoreless to bridge the game from Aguilar to Villarreal.

The Cougars offense scored two runs in four different innings on Sunday . . . The offense also pounded out seventeen hits and even though they scored nine runs, they had plenty of opportunities to score more runs leaving eleven runners on base . . . Every Houston starter got at least one base hit, with Derrick Cherry and Kobe Hyland both getting two hits, and Grayson Padgett got two hits going 2-for-2 off the bench.

Righty Fred Villarreal handled the final two innings of action on Sunday, entering the game in the top of the eighth . . . Villarreal retired all six batters he faced, getting four groundballs to help his cause, and he did it all on only eighteen pitches . . . Aguilar collected his sixth win on the year in his tenth start, he allowed only two runs in his 5 2/3 innings and struck out four.

The Cougars are off now until Wednesday when they face Florida Atlantic University at Schroeder Park . . . Houston takes a three-game winning streak into the midweek matchup . . . First pitch is at 6:30pm on Wednesday. –

 

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Cougars Romp at Rice in Extras

Devon Roedahl faces the Rice Owls in the 9th inning Tuesday night. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Devon Roedahl faces the Rice Owls in the 9th inning Tuesday night.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

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. –

 

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Cougars Rally But Drop Series at USF

Houston Cougars Baseball

Sunday’s rubber game between the University of South Florida Bulls and the Houston Cougars featured starting pitchers named late in the series and the Cougars coming off of an impressive 7-1 win on Saturday night, after a close loss on Friday night.

Ryan Randel ended up getting the Sunday start for the Cougars and he pitched reasonably well . . . Randel would allow two runs in four innings of work, and he would also strike out six batters . . . Sean Bretz relieved Randel in the fifth with runners on and was lights-out, hitting 95mph to stop the threat . . . And Bretz would go two more innings without allowing a run and keeping his team in the game.

Meanwhile, Alec Wisely was in command on Sunday as he went 6 2/3 innings and did not allow a run while giving up five hits and while allowing Cougars to reach base, he was not allowing them to cross home plate.

The Cougars would score all of their runs in the eighth inning after Tyler Bielamawocz and Joe Davis were hit on back-to-back pitches by USF reliever Nelson Alvarez . . . Derrick Cherry got a run home on an infield single and a throwing error . . . After a walk to Grayson Padgett loaded the bases, Rey Fuentes put a ball in play that the Bulls defense could not handle and the Cougars took a 3-2 lead on the fielders choice.

Devon Roedahl entered the game and pitched a perfect eighth . . . After a scoreless top half of the ninth for the Cougars, Fred Villarreal entered the game to try to shut the door . . . The Bulls would not quit, and after a pinch-hit leadoff single and a popped-up bunt for the only out of the inning, USF would get a walk-off homerun from Alex Bello to win the game 4-3.

Despite scoring three runs, the Cougars offense left runners on base in seven of the nine innings, eight in total . . . Kyle Lovelace was 2-for-3 on the afternoon, joining Brad Burckel as the only other Cougar with two hits . . . Five Cougars collected the seven hits on Sunday.

The Cougars are headed back to Houston now and will be off until Wednesday when they play Rice at Reckling Park . . . First pitch is at 6:30pm Wednesday evening. –

 

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Cougars Sweep Sam Houston St. Series

Jared Pettitte starts against Sam Houston St. Tuesday in Sugar Land. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Jared Pettitte starts against Sam Houston St. Tuesday in Sugar Land.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars and the Sam Houston State Bearkats took the final game of their three-game series on the road to Sugar Land on Tuesday night for a neutral site game . . . Having already played at Houston and at Huntsville this season, Constellation Field played host to the final game between the two schools this year . . . Having won the first two games of the series, Houston was going for the sweep on Tuesday night.

Jared Pettitte made his fifth appearance on the year for the Cougars, and his first since being hit on the arm by a hard come-backer to the mound on April 3. Pettitte made the start for the Cougars and showed signs of having not pitched in nearly three weeks, but he was also changing speeds well and getting good breaks on some pitches. 

Cougars offense is doing it lately by putting the ball in play, not by hitting the long ball, and that continued on Tuesday night as they scored nine runs on twelve hits . . . Seven of the nine starting Cougars recorded at least one base hit in the game, led by Derrick Cherry who was 3-for-4 and Joe Davis who was 3-for-5, Jared Triolo had yet another multi-hit game going 2-for-4, getting the action started in the first with a single before eventually scoring the Cougars first run, followed by his second single of the game in the second inning . . . Joe Davis and Tyler Bielamowicz each had 3 RBI in the game.

An explosive sixth inning put the Cougars in the lead and also put the game out of reach for the Bearkats . . . After an out to start the sixth, Houston had seven straight batters reach base, and six of them would score on either singles or walks.

Cougars pitching did not allow a run after the 4th inning . . . Sean Bretz took over for Jared Pettitte in the fourth and continued his outstanding recent run of scoreless innings, going three more scoreless innings on Tuesday only allowing a hit and striking out four Bearkats . . . Brayson Hurdsman was also good over two innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two . . . Devon Roedahl made quick work of the Bearkats in the ninth throwing just eight pitches, six for strikes . . . Sean Bretz got the win, his first of the season.

With the 9-3 victory, the Cougars secured the season sweep and improved their record to 25-16 with a win over a quality program.

The Cougars hit the road now to play the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida . . . That series starts Friday at 6pm Houston time. –

 

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Cougars Take Cincinnati Series in 8-4 Finale

Sean Bretz pitches in the 9th against Cincinnati on Saturday at Schroeder Park. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Sean Bretz pitches in the 9th against Cincinnati on Saturday.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats played a series-deciding game Saturday afternoon at Schroeder Park and the game could not have been played in a better atmosphere: occasional breezes, sunny sky, no clouds, and plenty of Cougars fans in the seats . . . The series would be decided after two straight low-scoring games setting up the final game.

The Cougars did not score in the first, but they did score first, in the second inning when Jared Triolo hit a two-out bases loaded single to left that put the Cougars up 2-0 . . . For Triolo that hit was part of a 3-for-4 3 RBI afternoon.

Houston chased Cincinnati starter Garrett Schoenle in the third inning after a Rey Fuentes walk and a single by Grayson Padgett, followed by a RBI single to left field by Tyler Bielamowicz . . . Brad Burckel would follow with a sharp grounder to short that could not be fielded cleanly, it was ruled a hit and it drove in the Cougars second run of the inning while the Cougars took a 4-1 lead.

Brayson Hurdsman started on the mound for the Cougars and went 2 2/3 innings . . . Hurdsman only allowed one run on five hits and struck out four . . . Carter Henry and Nolan Bond would be called on first out of the bullpen to keep the game moving . . . Devon Roedahl relieved Bond in the fifth to protect the 4-2 lead and worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

Houston padded its lead in the sixth when they scored three runs . . . It began with walks to Triolo, and Joe Davis. A fielder’s choice would erase Davis and put Jonathan Thomas at first. Thomas attempted to steal second, but as the throw went to second, Triolo broke for home from third . . . Cincinnati shortstop Joey Bellini cut the throw off short and tried to get Triolo at home, but Triolo scored and Thomas was safe at second . . . Then Padgett walked.

Tyler Bielamowicz appeared to end the sixth with a long fly out to center, but a balk had been called, so Tyler was not out and got to bat again, and Thomas scored from third on the balk . . . Bielamowicz then dropped a single in to center field for a run-scoring single to give the Cougars a 7-2 lead. 

The Cougars offense was  oddly limited in a game where they ultimately scored eight runs on eight hits . . . Bearcats pitching walked nine Cougars batters, and they struck out nine . . . Only four Cougar batters got the eight hits: Triolo had three, Padgett and Bielamowicz each had two, and Burckel had a single.

Fred Villarreal entered the game in the seventh inning with a 7-2 lead . . . A single, a walk, and a hit batter loaded the bases for the Bearcats, but Villarreal made his pitches and got out of the inning unscathed, and he followed that with a scoreless eighth . . . Sean Bretz entered the game in the ninth to get the final two outs and hold on to the 8-4 lead . . . Bretz got two fly-outs to end the game and earn his first save, he retired both batters he faced . . . Devon Roedahl earned the win with his outing, he improves to 6-2 on the year.

For Houston, the series win helped improve their conference record to 8-7 and their overall record to 24-16.

The Cougars will be off Sunday and Monday and will return to action Tuesday night at 7pm in Sugar Land at Constellation Field. –

 

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Cougars Bounce Back, Win 3-1 Over Cincinnati

Kobe Hyland bats against Cincinnati on Friday at Schroeder Park. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Kobe Hyland bats against Cincinnati on Friday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

A very windy afternoon with a cloudless sky greeted the Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats for game two of their series Friday at Schroeder Park.

The ballgame got off to an ominous start as Clay Aguilar walked the leadoff batter. Then, he promptly picked-off the runner at first base for the first out of the game.

Part of the winning formula for Houston in recent weeks has included scoring runs early in the game . . . The Cougars returned to that formula on Friday when they jumped on Cincinnati starter Evan Shawver early . . . Jared Triolo worked a leadoff walk on seven pitches . . . Two outs later, Rey Fuentes lined a double all the way to the wall in right-center to score Triolo from first . . . Derrick Cherry hit the next pitch on the ground between the shortstop and the third baseman into left field, Fuentes was racing home from second and was going to beat any type of throw home, but the throw from left fielder Joey Wiemer was off and eventually ruled an error, which allowed Cherry to end up at second base.

The early 2-0 lead was just what the doctor ordered . . . Aguilar was able to pitch with a lead, he was changing speeds well, and he was getting his fastball high and low and got some ugly swings from Bearcat batters.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Evan Shawver was on his game, after the run-scoring first inning, Shawver struck out eight Cougar batters and had 1-2-3 innings fives times in the game in his seven innings of work.

Houston only had five hits in the game, two of them by Kyle Lovelace in a 2-for-3 performance that raised his batting average again, he now sits at .232 on the year, a marked improvement over where he was just two weeks ago, and he is batting .313 in conference play this season.

Clay Aguilar went 6 1/3 innings allowing just one run on six hits while striking out five . . . Sean Bretz entered the game to relieve Aguilar and serve as a bridge to getting the ball to Fred Villarreal . . . Bretz was clocking 94mph as he worked a scoreless 2/3 of an inning to get the Cougars out of the seventh . . . Villarreal started the eighth as he was once again called upon to get six outs on his way to a save.

The two runs in the first would be all the Cougars would get until they tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth in what could have been an explosive inning after Jared Triolo was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs . . . The Cougars settled for one run on a ground-out to short by Grayson Padgett which plated Lovelace from third to give Houston a 3-1 lead.

Over his two innings of work, Fred Villarreal struck out two and only allowed one hit in earning his ninth save on the season . . . Clay Aguilar picked up his fourth win of the year with his performance . . . The Cougars evened their conference record at 7-7 with the 3-1 victory.

The Cougars and the Bearcats conclude their weekend series with a rubber game Saturday at 1pm at Schroeder Park. An Easter egg hunt for the kids follows the game, so get to the ballpark on Saturday and bring the kids. –

 

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Cougars Sweep Series at Wichita State

Houston Cougars Baseball

In what turned out to be a very balanced weekend in many ways in Wichita, the Houston Cougars got their first conference sweep of the season when they took care of business against the Wichita State Shockers 7-4 Sunday afternoon.

Brayson Hurdsman got the start on the mound Sunday . . . Hurdsman would go 4 2/3 innings allowing his one and only run in his fifth and final inning of work . . . Brayson gave up four hits and struck out four . . . Sean Bretz came in to finish the fifth and also pitch the sixth, both scoreless and hitless . . . To get those four outs, Bretz threw only fourteen pitches, nine for strikes.

The Cougars offense was slower to get on the board than in the first two games, but Joe Davis got the Cougars on the board in the third with a one-out single to left that scored Jared Triolo, who was going on the pitch, from second . . . Kyle Lovelace drove in the Cougars second run in the fourth when he roped a double that bounced and hit the wall in left, one of two hits on the day for Lovelace who has seen his average jump to .198 now.

Rey Fuentes had a nice day going 2-for-3, and getting on base in the first when he was hit by a pitch . . . Fuentes is batting .361 after Sunday.

The Shockers would tie the game at 4-4 in the seventh, taking advantage of walks, hit batters, and defensive miscues . . . Again, talking about balance over the weekend, the Cougars scored seven runs in six different innings . . . Every Cougar in the starting lineup had at least one hit, and five different Cougars had an RBI . . . The downside in the mix is that Houston left fourteen runners on base on Sunday.

The Cougars took the lead back in the eighth after Tyler Bielamowicz got a two-out single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on another wild pitch . . . Derrick Cherry, who reached base via a walk when he pinch-hit for Lael Lockhart Jr., also moved around the bases and would score on an error at second on a Kobe Hyland ground ball to make it 6-4.

In the ninth Grayson Padgett added a little insurance when a hit to left-center scored Brad Burckel from second to increase the lead to 7-4.

Devon Roedahl entered the game in the eighth and got the final four outs of the afternoon, on nine pitches, seven of which were strikes . . . For his effort, Roedahl earned his third save of the year and Fred Villarreal got the win to improve to 4-1.

The Cougars now head back to Houston after the sweep and get ready to face Texas A&M at Schroeder Park on Tuesday at 6:30pm. –

 

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Cougars Take Finale in Memphis 4-3

Houston Cougars Baseball

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. –

 

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