Takeaways from 2019 Fall Exhibition, Game 1

Houston Cougars 10-16-2019
The Houston Cougars take the field for Wednesday’s exhibition game.

The Houston Cougars baseball team hosted the San Jacinto College Gators at Schroeder Park on Wednesday evening for some exhibition action . . . San Jac is one of three teams visiting the corner of Elgin and Cullen for an exhibition game this fall.

The Cougars have a ton of new faces this fall, and some familiar faces like Jared Triolo and Joe Davis are visibly absent.

Wednesday’s action was not a prototypical game by any means . . . After all, the two teams played a tenth inning for no real reason, other than the extra swings and the extra pitches . . . There was no official scoring of the game, and the scoreboard only displayed a UH logo during the game – no time, no innings, no lineups . . . the only way to know what was happening was to have kept score, and those scorecards were a mess for sure.

Transfer newcomer Ryan Hernandez got his Cougar career off to a great start, knocking two solid singles in his first two plate appearances . . . Hernandez is listed at 6’4″ and he looks like a sizable presence at the plate.

The Cougars used ten pitchers in the game, each pitcher went a full inning of work . . . Brayson Hurdsman, Carter Henry, Spencer Hynes, Isaiah Blaylock, Robert Gasser, Tanner Green, Reed Osborn, Nick Rupp, Tristen Bayless, and Layne Looney all got some solid work in against the Gators.

Layne Looney was notable among the rest of the pitching staff that threw scoreless innings, his pitches were phenomenal . . . Looney had guys buckling and looking helpless at the plate . . . The three that batted against him anyway, all three went down looking.

The Gators scored all three of their runs in the seventh inning, the inning was the only one where control was an issue, fours walks, three wild pitches, and a stolen base were only problematic when combined with a solid double hit to the left-field corner.

Aside from the two Hernandez base hits, Cam McMillan reached base with a single, as did Derrick Cherry after he was hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance . . . The Cougars only plated two runners . . . If an official score had been kept, the Cougars would have dropped this one 3-2, but again, this was a weird one to measure as guys batted out of order and the order went beyond one thru nine . . . Add to this the well-known fact that San Jac is loaded with pitching arms, and the Cougars faced many of them on Wednesday night.

The Cougars return to exhibition action on Sunday, October 27th at 2pm at Schroeder Park.

Fred Villarreal Drafted by the Mariners

Seattle Mariners logo

Right-hander Fred Villarreal was drafted by the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday in the 25th round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft.

Villarreal was electric on the mound this season for the Cougars, he stayed healthy this year and was mostly automatic when he entered a game, many times he was asked to go more than one inning to close out a game . . . In the process, Villarreal picked up ten saves in thirty-three appearances with a 2.29 ERA.

Seattle Mariners director of amateur scouting Scott Hunter had these things to say about their evaluation of Villarreal, “He has what our guys call a ‘real’ slider and his velocity is in the 88 to 91 range and they think if he can come in and start gaining a few more miles per hour, he could have the real potential to move in our system.”

Hunter added, “We identify guys that can throw a ton of strikes and have really good breaking balls. We think over the last few years we’ve really been able to start developing velocity for guys in what we call our “gas camp.” We try to identify a few of those guys that we can build upon where if we can increase their velocity just a little bit, they can become real prospects.” –