Cougars Drop 12 Inning Thriller

Houston Cougars Spencer Hynes 2-25-2020
Spencer Hynes throws the first pitch against UTRGV Tuesday night.

The Houston Cougars and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros played a game Tuesday night that few who were in attendance will be able to forget; this game had it all.

After neither team could push a run across in the first inning, in the bottom second Ian McMillan put down a sacrifice bunt to score Brett Cain from third for an early 1-0 lead.

Spencer Hynes started the game on the mound and threw two scoreless innings . . . Nick Rupp followed Hynes and went three scoreless before yielding to Tanner Green . . . For Rupp, it was his first appearance for the Cougars.

The Vaqueros tied the game in the sixth with a run-scoring single . . . The next batter put a ball deep into the outfield and the runner from first had been moving on contact with two outs. Right-fielder Rivas threw to his cut-off man Ian McMillan who fired home to catcher Dylan Post to stop a go-ahead run from scoring by mere inches.

With the game tied at one in the eighth, UTRGV hit a grand slam to not only take the lead, but also to have some cushion . . . The Cougars would chip away at the four-run deficit by countering with three runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth, spurred by freshman Rey Mendoza’s first hit as a Cougar, a two-out, two-run single to center in the pinch-hitting role . . . Tyler Bielamowicz followed with a run-scoring single to get the Cougars within one at 5-4.

Bielamowicz in the leadoff spot reached base in five of six plate appearances, with two walks, a double on the first pitch of the night from UTRGV, an eighth inning single, and an error at second base that resulted in Bielamowicz safe at first . . . It is no secret that having a leadoff guy getting on base is crucial, and sometimes a ballplayer just has to put the ball in play to make things happen.

Steven Rivas stepped to the plate with one out in the ninth . . . Rivas went after the first pitch he saw from UTRGV’s Max Balderrama Jr. and drove it over the scoreboard in right-center field . . . The ball cleared the scoreboard by five feet and by the time Rivas crossed the plate, there was a brand new ballgame tied at five all . . . Rivas had three hits in the game, only he and Tyler Bielamowicz enjoyed a multi-hit game.

Before Rivas had a chance to tie the game, the Cougars had to get to that point . . . In the top of the ninth, the Vaqueros were threatening when Coleman Grubbs drove a ball toward the gap in left-center with two runners on base . . . Tyler Bielamowicz covered some real estate and then laid out for the catch of the year thus far . . . If the ball had dropped, a run would have scored, if the ball had gotten by and gone to the wall, two runs would have scored . . . Bielo ended the threat with a catch for the ages.

A scoreless tenth ran into a scoreless top of the eleventh . . . In the bottom of the frame, the Cougars loaded the bases with no outs . . . Jonathan Thomas put a pitch in play and when all was said and done, confusion and bewilderment on the basepaths resulted in an inning-ending triple play.

In the top half of the twelfth, The Vaqueros managed to get a run across on a sacrifice fly to deep left for a 6-5 lead . . . The Cougars went quietly in the bottom half and four hours and forty-two minutes after the first pitch, the game came to an end.

The Cougars return to action on Friday night at Schroeder Park when they play host to the Texas State Bobcats in a three-game weekend series . . . First pitch Friday is scheduled for 6:30. –

Cougars Fall in Finale, Series

Jared Pettitte throws the first pitch on Sunday at Schroeder Park.
Jared Pettitte throws the first pitch on Sunday at Schroeder Park.

The Houston Cougars dropped the rubber game against the visiting Youngstown State Penguins on Sunday afternoon at Schroeder Park . . . And for the second day in a row, the two teams needed extra innings to get things settled.

Jared Pettitte got the Sunday start and was sharp early, striking out the first two batters. Pettitte gave up a homerun in the second inning, and a manufactured run in the fifth.

The Cougars got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. After Tyler Bielamowicz walked and then stole second, setting the table for Ryan Hernandez . . . Hernandez went deep to left field for a two-run homerun and an early 2-0 Cougars lead . . . For Hernandez it was his second homerun in as many games, and part of an impressive first series with the Cougars.

Fellow newcomer Steven Rivas added a three-run shot of his own in the third, concluding a four-run inning for the Cougars and giving them a 6-1 lead.

Pettitte lasted into the fifth, striking out four, and exited because of a pitch count with a 6-2 lead and one out . . . Tanner Green entered the game to get two outs to end the inning and pitched another three innings in relief.

The Penguins stormed back in the ninth with their backs against the wall. A three-run homerun got them within a run, and after a pitching change, a solo homerun tied the game at six . . . The Cougars offense could not answer back in the ninth, sending the game to the tenth inning.

The Penguins continued their late-inning heroics by putting the ball in play and executing flawlessly . . . They would load the bases with no one out, Houston would make a pitching change, but eventually two Penguins would score to take an 8-6 lead into the bottom of the tenth . . . Despite getting a runner on base, the Cougars could not crawl back and Youngstown State took finale and the series.

The Cougars hit the road now, and they open up the Round Rock Classic at Dell Diamond next Friday at 3pm. –

2020 Alumni Day Game Recap

05B6072E-BCC2-4D12-9EB2-B28EE97453CD
Red vs. White at Schroeder Park on Sunday.
(Photo courtesy of @Astronile on Twitter)

The 2020 baseball season got a step closer on Sunday at Schroeder Park as the Houston Cougars saw former ballplayers return home for a yearly event that included batting practice, players introductions, and this year, a solemn salute.

Prior to the game, a moment of silence was observed for John Altobelli, a tribute was read to the crowd while the video board displayed Altobelli’s picture with his years as a Cougar listed, then came the silence and head-bowing . . . The only time Schroeder Park is ever that quiet is when the games are over and the campus is empty . . . Coach Todd Whitting said before the game that he would be attending the memorial for Altobelli tomorrow in Anaheim, California at the Angels ballpark.

The game itself was basically an intrasquad affair, with former Cougars and now professional pitchers Joey Pulido and Nick Hernandez each throwing the first inning for Team White and Team Red respectively, but all fielders and hitters were members of the 2020 squad.

It is hard to tell much during what is an unpredictable game scenario of players switching sides, predetermined innings to pitch, along with only five innings of action to begin with . . . Spencer Hynes, Rey Mendoza, Nick Rupp, Tristen Bayless, Carter Henry and Randy Garza all saw some time on the mound.

Defensively there were some bright spots . . . Newcomer Ryan Hernandez is a big kid and he moves well at third base, he made at least one great play on a weak bouncer which he fielded cleanly and made an accurate off-balance throw . . . Kyle Lovelace threw out a runner trying to steal third . . . Newcomer Steven Rivas fielded a fly ball single on a bounce and the hitter tried to turn the single into a double, but Rivas’s throw to second was right on line and the runner was tagged out with room to spare . . . And Kobe Hyland continues to move smoothly at short.

All told the game ended after five innngs, as was scheduled . . . The rain in the forecast held off long enough for the game to be completed, the kids ran the bases, and autographs were signed in the Cougars dugout to cap off the day.

The Cougars start 2020 action on Friday at 6:30pm at Schroeder Park against Youngstown State, the first of a three-game weekend series to get the season underway.

Cougars Drop Opener in Orlando

Houston Cougars Baseball

The season’s final series of the year got underway on Thursday evening in Orlando, Florida as the University of Central Florida Knights hosted the Houston Cougars . . . The Knights and the Cougars entered Thursday with relatively equal records overall, both in and out of conference.

Knights starter Grant Schuermann had the Cougars solved early on it seemed . . . Houston had a runner reach third only once, in the fourth inning . . . Schuermann went eight scoreless innings allowing only four Cougars hits.

Lael Lockhart Jr. was a tough-luck loser on the night, he pitched reasonably well and was not hit very hard . . . A pop foul that should have been caught by either Kyle Lovelace or Joe Davis was instead a second chance for catcher Dallas Beaver, who then walked, and would eventually score, while there were also two errors behind Lockhart in the inning, an inning where the Knights scored three times to take a 3-0 lead.

Nolan Bond relieved Lockhart in the sixth and took the game into the ninth when Spencer Hynes pitched a scoreless frame in his first game action since April 6.

Only five Cougars had base hits on Thursday, with Joe Davis collecting two of them in a 2-for-4 effort . . . The Cougars led off the ninth who two singles by Wendell Champion and Joe Davis, but they would remain on second and first respectively as the next three batters each went down on strikes and handed UCF an 8-0 shutout.

The final regular season series of the season continues Friday in Orlando at 5pm Houston time. –

Bats Alive as UH Scores 16 Runs in Victory

Houston Cougars offense on the scorecard vs Stephen F. Austin. Photo and scorecard by Cougars Beat.
Houston Cougars offense on the scorecard.
Photo and scorecard by Cougars Beat.

Offense.

Lots of it.

That describes what took place in Nacogdoches, Texas on Wednesday afternoon as the Houston Cougars paid a visit to the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks . . . There was so much offense in fact, that the game was done after just seven innings.

Six pitches into the game, the Cougars already had one run . . . The seventh pitch was to Joe Davis who launched it for a two-run homerun . . . The top of the lineup would set the table again in the second, and Davis would power another homerun, this one of the three-run variety . . . This was the beginning of a four hit, six RBI game for Davis.

Jared Pettitte got the start for the Cougars, the first of his career and only his third appearance all season . . . In what looked to be a good day to give a lot of guys an opportunity to get some work in, especially some guys that have seen much or any extensive action in a while, Pettitte was relieved in the second inning to make way for Carter Henry.

Grayson Padgett was not to be outdone by Davis on the hit count, as he also collected four hits on a perfect 4-for-4 afternoon . . . Every spot in the lineup scored at least once as the Coogs knocked out seventeen hits in just seven innings of work.

When all was said and done, the Cougars offense had put up sixteen runs and the pitching had only allowed one, so the ten-run rule was put into play and the game ended after the seventh inning.

This was the second win in the last 19 hours for the Cougars . . . Jared Pettitte got his first career win in this one . . . The bullpen saw four pitchers get some work in, including Tyler Bielamowicz who went 2 1/3 innings and Spencer Hynes who went 2 innings . . . In all, the pitching only allowed four hits to the Lumberjacks in the shortened game.

The Cougars now have a day off as they head to Memphis where they will take on the Tigers in a three game weekend series starting Friday night. –

 

Newspaper column version if this recap

Rice Tops Cougars 5-3

Houston Cougars scorecard by Cougars Beat vs. Rice 3-5-2019
Houston Cougars vs. Rice. Scorecard by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars hosted the Rice Owls Tuesday afternoon at Schroeder Park . . . A brilliant sky was marred only by a first pitch temperature of 48 degrees.

The Cougars sent left-hander Spencer Hynes to the mound for the mid-week start . . . Hynes would struggle with command and would allow three runs in the second inning before the Cougars called on Nolan Bond out of the bullpen . . . Bond came in to stop the bleeding and stranded two Rice Owls on base to end the second.

The bottom of the order would help the Cougars manufacture two runs in the third . . . Tyler Bielamowicz would highlight the inning with a triple, and he would score on a Grayson Padgett sacrifice bunt as the Cougars clawed closer making the score 3-2.

Bond continued to made quick work of the Owls going four innings, striking out three, and walking none . . . Fred Villarreal came in to relieve Bond and after and infield hit, he would strike out Rice shortstop Trei Cruz looking to end the sixth inning.

The Cougars had a chance to do more scoring damage in the sixth with Bielamowicz and Jared Triolo reaching base for the middle of the order, but Joe Davis and Lael Lockhart Jr. would make quiet outs and the threat was snuffed out.

In the top of the seventh, the Owls would get two singles and a walk to load the bases with no one out . . . The Owls would score two runs and after a fielders choice, extending their lead to 5-2. Villarreal would strike out the final two batters before the fans on hand enjoyed a chance to warm up a bit during the seventh inning stretch. 

Rey Fuentes would get the Cougars eighth started with a leadoff triple. He would be brought home on a Bielamowicz single . . . Three outs later Bielamowicz was still on first base as the Owls took their 5-3 lead into the ninth and closed out the game.

The Cougars could only muster five hits on the afternoon, and they would leave five runners on base.

The Cougars are off until Friday when Army comes to Schroeder Park for a three game weekend series . . . Stay tuned for weather updates as the forecasts look very questionable. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Hang Close, Lose 3-2 to Texas A&M

Lael Lockhart, Jr. throws the first pitch against Texas A&M on Sunday. Photo by Cougars Beat
Lael Lockhart, Jr. throws the first pitch against Texas A&M on Sunday.
Photo by Cougars Beat

The Houston Cougars will be glad to wake up tomorrow morning knowing they do not have any more games at Minute Maid Park this year . . . The Cougars took on the Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday afternoon in their final game of the 2019 Shriners College Classic.

The Cougars had a nice crowd on hand to see left-hander Lael Lockhart, Jr. take the mound for the third time this season . . . The Aggies would counter with a lefty of their own, Jonathan Childress.

The Aggies would open the scoring in the fourth inning on a line-drive double down the third base line that brought home one run.

Childress for his part went three scoreless, hitless innings . . . During his warmup tosses in the fourth inning, Childress felt something he did not like in his arm, and after bringing the Aggies head coach and trainer to the mound, Childress would depart the game . . . Chandler Jozwiak would replace Childress, and second baseman Brad Burckel would promptly get the first base hit for the Cougars.

Lockhart would exit the game in the fifth inning with two outs and two runners on base . . . Right-hander Devon Roedahl would enter the game and he would induce an inning-ending ground ball . . . Roedahl was solid out of the bullpen. He ran into trouble in the eighth when he loaded the bases with no outs, but he got a double-play and a strikeout to work out of the jam only allowing one run.

The Cougars were still in the game when Lockhart exited, down only 2-0 . . . But the offense was struggling . . . Joe Davis was 0-for-9 entering Sunday’s action . . . Davis would get his first base hit of the weekend, a towering blast to deep right-center field that the Aggie center-fielder would get his glove on but not reel in . . . One batter later the Cougars had the bases loaded with one out and would score one run on a fielders choice by Grayson Padgett to cut the Aggie lead to 2-1.

Down 3-1 in the eighth Jared Triolo reached base on a walk, and Joe Davis followed that with his second consecutive double, this one off the out-of-town scoreboard in front of the Crawford Boxes, and he had the Cougars back within a run at 3-2.

Devon Roedahl would leave the game in the ninth after a leadoff single, he threw 56 pitches in his 3 1/3 innings of solid relief work . . . Spencer Hynes would inherit a runner and get three outs to get out of the inning by throwing seven pitches, all of them for strikes.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Cougars were not able to get anything going and went down in order . . . The offense left seven runners on base in the game, a glaring number in the eyes of a one-run defeat . . . The Cougars have now lost their last nine games at Minute Maid Park.

The Cougars return to action on Tuesday when they will host Rice at Schroeder Park . . . The weather will be on the chilly side, so dress warm and get to the ballpark and root for the Coogs. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap