Houston Earns Road Sweep of South Florida with 9-2 Win

Ian McMillan bats in the second inning Sunday in Tampa

Houston opened May by completing a weekend sweep of conference foe South Florida 9-2 in Tampa on Sunday.  

The Cougars opened the game by getting the first three batters on base, but they only scratched across one run on a sacrifice fly to center by Anthony Tulimero that allowed Brandon Uhse to tag from third base for the early Houston lead.

Ian McMillan led off the second inning with a monster home run to left field and the Cougars led 2-0.

After the Bulls tied the game in the second, Houston responded when McMillan (2-for-3) homered again with two runners on base and the Cougars took a 5-2 lead.

Zach Arnold hit his team-leading ninth home run with one out in the sixth inning and that was followed by back-to-back doubles by Alex Lopez and Tulimero (2-for-3) . . . The RBI by Tulimero made it 7-2, it was his second hit of the ballgame, which extended his reached-base streak to fifteen games, which is the second time this season Tulimero has done that.

Nathan Medrano got the Sunday start for the Cougars and the only blemish was the two runs allowed in the second inning, otherwise Medrano kept the Bulls from getting back into the game once the Cougars re-took the lead . . . Jackson Dannelley took the mound in the seventh and pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Medrano.

Houston added two runs in the ninth after back-to-back walks to begin the inning . . . Brandon Burckel hit a sacrifice fly ball to right field for a RBI . . . Arnold then hit a two out single to push the Cougars advantage to 9-2 going to bottom of the ninth.

Ben Sears pitched the ninth and after a lead off double, he retired the next three batters, putting the finishing touch on the 9-2 win and the weekend sweep.

Medrano’s record improved to 6-3 with the victory.

Houston outscored South Florida 28-9 over the weekend, and 22-4 over the final two games.

The Cougars head back to Houston today and will be off for a couple of days before they play host to Rice on Wednesday night at Schroeder Park . . . Houston hits the road for a series at Wichita State next weekend, so Wednesday is one of the few chances to see the Houston nine while they remain hot . . . First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 6:30pm.

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Houston Dominates USF 13-2

Zach Arnold is greeted by teammates after his second inning home run on Saturday

The Cougars utilized a seven run fourth inning to blow out South Florida 13-2 in Tampa on Saturday as Houston won for the second day in a row.

Scoreless in the top of the third inning, Brandon Uhse singled through the left side of the infield to reach base with two outs . . . Zach Arnold (4-for-5) followed with a home run to left field on a full-count pitch and Houston led 2-0 on Arnold’s eighth home run of the season.

A lead off walk to Ryan Hernandez was the beginning of a big fourth inning for the Cougars . . . Ian McMillan followed with a single to right field . . . After McMillan stole second base, Malachi Lott singled through the right side to drive in a run . . . Lott stole second base and was there when Brandon Burckel singled to left field two drive in two more runs and the Cougars led 5-0.

But the fourth inning kept going . . . After the Bulls went to the bullpen, Arnold doubled to left field to drive in his third run of the ballgame . . . Alex Lopez as the seventh batter of the inning, lifted a fly ball to center and drove in a run on the sacrifice fly . . . Cameron Nickens (2-for-3) capped the scoring with a two-run blast to left-center field, his fourth home run of the season, and Houston led 9-0 after the seven run fourth inning.

The Bulls scored a run in the fourth and another in the fifth, but the Cougars got those right back in the sixth inning . . . Arnold and Lopez les off the frame with singles . . . With two outs, Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly to right field and McMillan singled to shallow right and Houston again led by nine runs, 11-2.

Maddux Miller relieved Houston starter Kyle LaCalameto in the fifth inning with two outs to end the inning . . . Maddux also pitched a scoreless sixth inning.

Houston added two runs in the seventh, one on another sacrifice fly RBI by Lopez, and another when Anthony Tulimero singled, which also extended his reached-based streak to fourteen games, and the Cougars led 13-2.

Logan Clayton took the mound in the bottom of the seventh and retired all three batters he faced, striking out two, to end the ballgame at the end of the seventh because of the run rule . . . Clayton only threw seventeen pitches to end the game . . . Miller improves to 3-0 this season with the win.

The Cougars collected sixteen base hits in the seven inning game, including each starter, and the Cougars scored multiple runs in four different innings . . . Meanwhile, the trio of Houston arms limited the Bulls to just six hits while striking out nine.

Houston and South Florida have dodged the weather bullet, which rearranged the weekend schedule, thus far . . . If all goes as planned, the two teams will conclude their series on Sunday morning with another 9am central time first pitch . . . Expect Nathan Medrano to make the start for Houston as they go for the sweep.

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 Finale, Splits Weekend Series with USF

Carter Henry throws the first pitch in Sunday’s second game at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars and South Florida Bulls got things started on Sunday at Schroeder Park with a 10am first pitch in the first game of a doubleheader . . . Like Saturday, the teams split the day and eventually the weekend series as the Cougars dropped game one 4-0 but won the second game 5-2.

Game one saw South Florida score a run in both the second and fourth inning as Ben Sears worked his way through the bright-and-early Sunday opener.

While the offense was quiet, Sears was working his way through the game . . . In the fifth, after a runner reached first on a throwing error, the next batter put a ball in play just in front of home plate, catcher Dylan Post fielded and threw to second base where Ian McMillan lept into the air to field the throw, he landed on second and fired the ball to first to complete the unconventional double play and erase the runner who had reached on an error.

Sears took the game into the seventh inning and exited with two outs in favor of Andy Belcik, one out away from a complete game (in seven innings) . . . After the Bulls increased their lead to 4-0, the Cougars went to the bullpen again, this time Matt Lazzaro got the call to get the final out.

The Cougars offense could put nothing together against Bulls starter Collin Sullivan despite three pinch-hitters also having a chance to take some swings . . . Houston had two total hits in the contest, a double by Brad Burckel and a double by Tyler Bielamowicz.

Ben Sears went 6 2/3 and allowed just two earned runs while striking out five but he was on the wrong end of a shutout and took the loss as the Cougars fell 4-0.

Carter Henry took the hill for a sunny afternoon game two and unlike Ben Sears, not only did Henry get run support, he got it early.

In the bottom of the first . . . Brandon Uhse hit a double to the wall in left, and Brad Burckel follow with a single and then stole second . . . Designated hitter Dylan Post hit a ball to the opposite field, dropping it just inside the left field foul line for a double that put the Cougars in front 2-0.

South Florida tied the game in the third scoring their only runs of the game on three singles and groundout.

Both teams were kept quiet offensively until the bottom of the seventh . . . With two outs, Brandon Uhse walked and Brad Burckel followed with an opposite field double that went to the wall in the left field corner scoring Uhse from first base . . . Tyler Bielamowicz walked and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third . . . Ryan Hernandez in his second at-bat of the game having pinch hit in the fifth, powered a single to left-center which scored both runners widening the Houston advantage 5-2 going to the eighth.

Brandon Uhse was 2-for-3 and Brad Burckel was 2-for-4, accounting for four of the Cougars six hits in the second game.

Carter Henry kept the Bulls off the scoreboard through eight innings of terrific pitching . . . It was Henry’s second time in his three starts to go eight or more innings . . . Sean Bretz took the mound for the ninth inning and quickly got the Bulls down in order to close out the 5-2 victory . . . Henry improved to 1-2 with the win and Bretz earned his first save of the season.

The Cougars are off for a few days before heading to New Orleans for a series with Tulane beginning Friday at 2pm with a doubleheader as they conclude American Athletic Conference action. –

Cougars Split Weekend Opener with South Florida

Robert Gasser delivers a first pitch strike on Saturday at Schroeder Park

After Friday’s weather altered the weekend series between the Houston Cougars and the South Florida Bulls, a cloudless sky greeted the two teams on a warm Saturday afternoon that saw the teams split a doubleheader . . . The Cougars took the opening game 9-2, but dropped the second game 8-4 in ten innings.

Houston starter Robert Gasser allowed a run in the second inning as the Bulls took an early 1-0 lead . . . The Cougars offense got on the board in the fourth on an Ian McMillan single that plated two and put Houston in front 2-1 . . . McMillan was 3-for-4 in the contest and is joined by Brad Burckel as the only Cougars with multiple hits in game one . . . After the Bulls tied the game in the top of the fifth, the Cougars quickly re-took the lead 3-2 after a Brad Burckel triple was followed by a Ryan Hernandez single.

Still leading 3-2 in the seventh, the offense scored six runs highlighted by a Will Pendergrass grand slam off the scoreboard in right, his sixth home run of the year, which gave Houston a 9-2 lead.

Robert Gasser completed eight innings and exited having thrown 114 pitches allowing six hits and striking out seven . . . Maddux Miller came in and got the final three outs to secure the victory for Gasser, who improved to 5-3 on the year.

Jaycob Deese got the start in game two and after a scoreless opening inning, his offense started building some support behind him.

Brad Burckel walked with one out in the first, he subsequently stole second and third, and then scored on a wild pitch for an early 1-0 lead . . . In the second, three straight singles to start the frame added two runs to the Cougars tally as Ian McMillan drove home a run and Dylan Post plated one on a sacrifice fly to left and the Cougars led 3-0.

Deese struggled in the third, allowing a three-run home run to tie the game, but he settled down and went seven strong innings, striking out six, and retiring the final ten batters he faced before giving way to Derrick Cherry for the eighth . . . Cherry tossed scoreless eighth and ninth innings and the Houston offense had a chance to walk the game off in the ninth when Tyler Bielamowicz and Steven Rivas both singled to start the inning, but two pop-ups and a strikeout left the runners in place.

The game went to extra innings and as has sometimes been the custom this season, both teams were able to start the inning with a runner on second base . . . The Bulls took advantage of two defensive miscues in the inning to score five runs (all unearned) and take a commanding 8-3 lead into the bottom of the tenth . . . The Cougars were able to score their runner from second but nothing more even though they loaded the bases and had the tying run at the plate, they fell 8-4.

The Cougars are now 14-19 overall and 2-8 in American Athletic competition . . . The Cougars had relatively good offensive balance in both games, where seven of the nine spots got base hits and each spot got on base at least once, one way of the other, aside from the nine spot in game one.

The Cougars and the Bulls will return to action early on Saturday with first pitch at Schroeder Park scheduled for 10am . . . Game one on Sunday will only last seven innings, and a second game will be played 45 minutes after the conclusion of game one. –