Late Rally Costs Houston, Split Series with Memphis

With a chance to win their first conference series of the year, the Houston Cougars were without a usual weekend starter as they took on the Memphis Tigers for the fourth time in three days on Sunday at FedEx Park.

Jaycob Deese missed a start this weekend out of an abundance of caution for a tweaked hamstring, so Matt Lazzaro made only his second start of the season for the Cougars, and his first start since the Cougars visited Lamar on March 3rd. 

Scoreless in the second, Steven Rivas led off the inning with a single to center, his seventh hit of the weekend in Memphis, and he subsequently stole second base . . . Skyler Trevino, facing an 0-2 count, picked up his first collegiate RBI on a two-out single to right field that plated Rivas and gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

Brad Burckel led off the third inning with a home run over the right field wall, his fifth home run of the season, and the Cougars led 2-0 . . . One out later, Ryan Hernandez hit his tenth home run of the season over the left field wall to increase the lead to 3-0.

Still 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh, a leadoff single would lead to Lazzaro’s exit . . . The Tigers only threatened Lazzaro in a couple of frames as he scattered five hits over six innings to go with eight strikeouts . . . Maddux Miller took the mound with no outs and a runner on first . . . The Tigers loaded the bases, but Miller struck out a pinch-hitter looking and got a ground out to short to end the inning.

A Trevino RBI single in the eighth pushed the Houston lead to 4-0 . . . Trevino was 3-for-4 with 2 RBI in Sunday’s game.

Things fell apart for Houston in the bottom of the eighth as Memphis scored eight runs and brought thirteen batters to the plate . . . Walks were the story of the inning as the Houston bullpen issued six free passes in the eighth and before the inning was done, Memphis led 8-4.

Bielamowicz doubled with one out in the ninth, but that was the extent of the Houston offense as Memphis closed out the game and evened the weekend series at two wins each.

Houston has a few days off now before they face University of Central Florida in a series which begins on Thursday . . . First pitch from Orlando is at 1pm, expect to see Robert Gasser on the mound for the Cougars for his final start before the American Athletic Conference Championship tournament in Clearwater. –

Houston Wins in Comeback Fashion, 7-5

The Memphis Tigers looked headed to an easy win on Saturday at FedEx Park, before all things started working for the Houston Cougars who eventually took the game 7-5.

Houston starter Carter Henry did not seem long for the game in the first inning as Memphis took a 3-0 lead on three hits and two wild pitches . . .  The Cougars bullpen was active in the first, never a good sign . . . The Tigers added another run in the second when a two-out walk later came around to score.

Skyler Trevino walked to lead off the third . . . That was followed by singles by Brad Burckel and Tyler Bielamowicz to load the bases for Ryan Hernandez . . . Hernandez dropped a single into left field which scored Trevino and Burckel and cut the Memphis lead to 4-2.

Dylan Post and Ian McMillian hit back-to-back singles to lead off the fourth . . . Samuel Tormos delivered a sacrifice fly ball to center field to score Post and get Houston to within a run at 4-3.

Bielamowicz led off the fifth with a walk, and that was followed by Hernandez being hit by a pitch . . . Memphis went to the bullpen and then Steven Rivas delivered a game-tying double to left-center . . . Will Pendergrass was then hit by a pitch to load the bases . . . Post flew out to the left-fielder and Bielamowicz scampered home on the sacrifice as the go-ahead run at 5-4.

Trevino and Tormos both walked to get the Cougars sixth inning started . . . Burckel was ruled out at first on a batters interference call . . . Bielamowicz was batting when the Tigers catcher attempted to pick off Tormos at first, but the throw got past the first baseman and Trevino raced from second to score and increase the Cougars lead to 6-4.

Henry departed in the sixth after getting two outs, Derrick Cherry took the mound to get the final out and end the Tigers threat . . . Henry settled down after those first two innings and left the game with his team leading after blanking Memphis for his final 3 2/3 innings.

The Tigers got a run in the seventh on a leadoff home run to cut the Houston lead to 6-5.

Brandon Uhse led off the eighth with a pinch-hit double, Burckel was then hit by a pitch . . . After the Tigers went to the bullpen, Bielamowicz (2-for-4) singled to left to score Uhse and extend the Cougars lead to 7-5.

Cherry (5) pitched the final 3 1/3 innings to earn the save for the second time in as many days, he struck out the final two batters of the ninth to end the game, the final out being the conference leader in home runs, Hunter Goodman . . . The hard-earned win also improved Henry’s record to 2-4.

After being set down in order in the first two innings, the Cougars got their leadoff batter on base in each of the next four innings, all innings in which they scored at least one run . . . Two of those times it was the eighth spot in the order.

Houston and Memphis close out their weekend series on Sunday with a first pitch scheduled for 11am . . . The Cougars have not yet announced a starter at this time. –

Cougars, Gasser Take Game One; Split in Memphis

A classic, well-pitched game was followed by a lopsided affair as the Memphis Tigers hosted the Houston Cougars for a Friday doubleheader at FedEx Park . . . Houston took game one 2-1, while Memphis ran away with game two 13-7.

Robert Gasser had the ball for the Cougars and he worked his way the Tigers lineup with relative ease through the first three innings.

The Cougars scored their first run in the fourth when a single to right field by Steven Rivas scored Tyler Bielamowicz from second base for a 1-0 lead.

Memphis tied the game in their half of the fourth when a fielding error at short allowed the tying run to score.

Still tied in the seventh, after one-out singles by Rivas (3-for-4) and Will Pendergrass (2-for-3), Ian McMillan (2-for-3) doubled off the wall in left to score Rivas from second and put the Cougars in front 2-1.

Despite minor threats the rest of the way, including a bases loaded no-outs situation for the Cougars in the top of the ninth, no more runs would cross the plate.

Derrick Cherry took over on the mound to begin the eighth and he got the final six outs, despite a couple of deep flies (one foul, one caught in left) to save the game for Gasser and pick up his fourth save of the season as the Cougars took game one . . . Cherry struck out two batters in the ninth.

Gasser improved to 6-5 with his seven innings pitched, allowing no earned runs and only three hits with ten strikeouts.

Before Ben Sears even took the mound for the Cougars in game two, he was spotted with a 2-0 after a two-RBI triple in the top of the first with two outs by Rivas.

But a home run by Hunter Goodman tied the game at two in the bottom of the first and it was a brand new ballgame.

A one-out double in the second put the Tigers in front 4-2.

Rivas (10) led off the fourth with a two-run home run to get the Cougars to within 4-3 . . . Pendergrass immediately followed with a double and he was brought home when Dylan Post doubled off the wall in right to tie the game at four.

Sears loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth without recording an out, aided by a fielding error behind him . . . Sears would exit at that point and Colby Casey would take the mound in a difficult situation . . . Casey induced a fly-out to right in which one unearned run crossed the plate, and then we would retire the next two batters to escape the inning and with the Tigers leading 5-4.

Brad Burckel led off the fifth with a single down the right field line and then he stole second base to get into scoring position . . . Ryan Hernandez (9) hit a one out two-run home run to left to give the Cougars a 6-5 lead.

Colby Casey helped the game along with two solid innings pitched in his fifth appearance of the season for Houston . . . Casey did not allow a run and his ERA on the year remains 0.00 . . . Skyler Trevino collected his first collegiate hit in the sixth inning when he connected on a one-out double.

The Tigers wrestled the lead back in the seventh on a walk, a triple, and a wild pitch as they took the 7-6 lead . . . At that point the Tigers broke the game open, scoring a total of eight runs in the frame taking a 13-6 lead into the eighth inning.

Patrick Dunn took the mound for the eighth and pitched a three up, three down frame, striking out two . . . It was Dunn’s first appearance since March 13 at Texas State.

The Cougars plated one more run on an innocent ground out to first base in the top of the ninth, but that was all they would get as they fell 13-7 in game two.

The Cougars and the Tigers will do it all over again tomorrow at 2pm in Memphis . . . Carter Henry will take the mound for Houston. –

Cougars Walk-off Winners in the Ninth, 6-5

Ben Sears delivers Saturday’s first pitch at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats needed all nine frames to decide a winner at Schroeder Park on Saturday as the Cougars walked off winners 6-5.

Ben Sears was on the mound for Houston on Saturday and his first two innings were smooth as he was getting ahead of batters and getting first-pitch outs.

Cincinnati led off the third with a solo home run and added two in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead.

Ryan Hernandez led off the Houston fourth by hitting his eighth home run of the season over the left field wall on the first pitch of the inning.

Samuel Tormos, who collected his first college base hit on Saturday, added his second hit in the second inning on Saturday, a double to the left field corner . . . He added his first collegiate home run in the fifth when he hit a no-doubter over the wall in left, Tormos knew he had hit it well off the bat.

The Cougars were not done in the frame though, as three of the next four batters singled and Ryan Hernandez was hit by a pitch to walk in a run . . . Will Pendergrass followed with a single to center to put the Cougars in front 4-3 going to the sixth.

A Brandon Uhse single in the sixth scored Tormos from second and increased the Cougar lead to 5-3 heading to the seventh inning.

Cincinnati got a run back in the seventh on a leadoff solo home run which led to the exit of Ben Sears and the arrival of Derrick Cherry . . . Cherry retired the side to end the seventh, striking out two.

Cincinnati tied the game at five in the bottom of the ninth on a single to left that plated a runner from second base.

Ryan Hernandez (2-for-4) led off the ninth with a single deep behind second base, he was able to leg-out a close attempt at first to reach base . . . Samuel Benjamin pinch-ran for Hernandez and promptly stole second base . . . With one out, Steven Rivas was intentionally walked to put two runners on . . . Ian McMillan hit a ground ball through the hole at second and Benjamin raced around third and beat a throw to the plate to give the Cougars a 6-5 win.

Derrick Cherry, who pitched the final three innings in relief of Ben Sears, picked up the win, his second of the season . . . The Houston offense pounded out twelve base hits in the Saturday contest.

“The Coaches have been working with me and I’ve been squaring the ball up the last two days,” Tormos said after the game . . . “Awesome,” Tormos replied with a sigh when asked about his first collegiate home run . . . The freshman, who was 2-for-3 in the game with two RBI, expects to hit well after his stellar high school career and a solid fall camp which included a home run in the Red vs. White series . . . When asked how that first collegiate home run felt, and about the fact that he knew it was gone off the bat, Tormos just laughed and said, “yeah.”

The Cougars and the Bearcats close out the series and the final Cougars home game of 2021 on Sunday at noon . . . Prior to the game, Houston will recognize its seven senior student athletes . . . Carter Henry will be on the mound for the Cougars. –

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. –

Cougars Drop Two in Wichita on Friday

Will Pendergrass bats in game two Friday in Wichita

The Wichita State Shockers welcomed the Houston Cougars to Wichita, Kansas on Friday with two sound conference wins in a day-night double-header that the Shockers took by scores of 10-2 and 7-1.

Jaycob Deese got the start in game one on Friday and Deese was scoreless through four but ran into trouble in the fifth . . . The Shockers plated six in an inning where nothing went right for Houston, from bad luck and bad hops to odd plays that never felt right . . . Lefty Cameron Prayer entered the game with one out and the bases loaded he got one groundout that allowed a sixth run to cross the plate, but he got a flyout to end the inning as the Shockers took a 6-0 lead into the sixth.

In the sixth, Dylan Post reached base on a one-out single into right-center . . . Brandon Uhse followed with a walk . . . With two outs, Ryan Hernandez powered a single into left-center that plated Post . . . Tyler Bielamowicz followed with a run-scoring single to cut the deficit to 6-2 going to the bottom of the sixth.

The Shockers continued to pad their lead on Cougars pitchers Maddux Miller and Tristen Bayless eventually taking a 10-2 lead and final score in game one.

The Cougars mustered just six hits in game one, two of those were by Brad Burckel, who was the only Cougar with multiple hits in the game as he went 2-for-3 in the loss.

Robert Gasser took the mound in game two and the story of game two was much the same as the story of game one, the Shockers scored plenty while the Cougars offense scuffled.

Things started well for the Cougars as Brad Burckel worked a one-out walk, and after reaching second on a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch moved Brad to third, and another wild pitch allowed him to score and give the Cougars an early 1-0 advantage to end the top half of the first . . . But that would be the Cougars only run of the night.

The Cougars offense could not get anything going against Shockers starter Liam Eddy in game two . . . Aside from two hits, the last coming in the third, Eddy retired sixteen straight batters to close out his eight innings of work before giving way to the Wichita State bullpen for the ninth . . . Steven Rivas added a single in the ninth, but that would be all for the Cougars as they fell 7-1 in the nightcap.

Andy Belcik pitched 1/3 of an inning in relief of Gasser who went 6 2/3 innings . . . Dravin Barber got in two innings of work and allowed just one run as rain fell and the wind howled . . . Tyler Bielamowicz exited game one with an apparent back injury after making a defensive play and he did not play in game two.

The two squads return to action in Wichita on Saturday . . . Carter Henry will make his second consecutive weekend start after a tremendous outing last Friday . . . First pitch takes place at 2pm. –

Cougars Edged Out in Weekend Finale, 3-2

Ben Sears delivers the first pitch in Sunday’s finale at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars lost their third straight game of the weekend by a single run in spite of another solid outing by a starting pitcher, this time Ben Sears was the hard-luck loser in the 3-2 defeat Saturday afternoon.

Cloudy skies, saw the sun trying to peek through at times and delivered rain drops at other times as the Cougars tried to even up the weekend series . . . In a scoreless game in the second inning, Will Pendergrass hit a two-run home run with one out to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead . . . For Pendergrass it was his fifth home run of the season.

The Shockers got a run back in a complicated third when a bases loaded walk got Wichita State within one . . . After holding Houston scoreless for the next several frames, the Shockers tied the game at two on a solo home run by Paxton Wallace in the sixth.

Ben Sears pitched seven complete innings before Derrick Cherry took the mound to begin the eighth, making his tenth appearance of the season . . . Sears was very good on Saturday, a long third inning elevated his pitch count, but he kept the game close as he struck out five along the way.

In the Shockers threatened in their half of the eighth inning, a lazy pop fly to right was caught by Steven Rivas who quickly threw a low hopper to Kyle Lovelace who had time after he caught the ball to block the plate and apply the tag for the final out of the inning.

Former Cougar Spencer Hynes exited in the eighth after giving up a leadoff single to Brandon Uhse . . . Luke Almendarez bunted the first pitch he saw up the first base line to move Uhse to second base on the sacrifice . . . An intentional walk to Ryan Hernandez followed, after the Shockers brief attempt to avoid pitching to Hernandez resulted in a 3-0 count . . . Tyler Bielamowicz then grounded out to the pitcher moving the runners up to second and third . . . Steven Rivas then drove a ball to center but Shocker center fielder Couper Cornblum made the catch up against the wall to end the frame and send a tied game to the ninth.

Wichita State plated a go-ahead run in the ninth after a ground ball that resulted in an out at the plate was followed by a run-scoring single to right past a drawn-in infield . . . The 3-2 lead would hold up in the ninth as the Cougars were unable to get a runner to second . . . Brandon Uhse was 2-for-4 and was the only Cougar with multiple hits, and one of only four Cougars to get a base hit.

The two teams played to a relative draw, both getting five base hits in the Saturday contest, but Wichita State scored one more run and walked away with a 3-1 weekend series win . . . In the weekend series overall, the Shockers scored eleven to the Cougars ten runs.

The Cougars and the Shockers will both be traveling to Wichita, Kansas, the Shockers today, the Cougars late next week as the two teams with resume their American Athletic Conference schedule with a four game set in Kansas next weekend . . . First pitch Friday afternoon from Eck Stadium in Wichita is set for 1:00pm in game one with game two following at 6:00pm unless game one runs long. –

Two Great Mound Starts Not Enough As Cougars Drop Two

Carter Henry delivers Friday’s first pitch at Schroeder Park

Cougars pitching stole the show Friday, as Carter Henry and Jaycob Deese each pitched brilliant games, but the Houston offense was stymied as Wichita State took both games of the weekend double-header by scores of 3-2 and 2-1 at Schroeder Park.

Carter Henry made the game one start, making his first start since the 2017 season, has been a reliever, and often a long reliever in the past . . . Last Saturday, Henry pitched a solid 5 2/3 innings in relief against UT Arlington . . . The Shockers got to Henry for a run in the first inning, one of three runs off Henry on the day.

Brandon Uhse hit a pitch that was over the middle of the plate over the left field wall for a leadoff solo home run to tie the game at one in the bottom of the first . . . An inning later, Will Pendergrass scored on a wild pitch, after reaching base with a single, to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead . . . The Cougars would not score again in game one.

Shockers tied the game in the fourth, at which point Carter Henry went the next four innings without allowing a run . . . With the game tied at two in the ninth, a leadoff home run by third baseman Paxton Wallace gave the Shockers a 3-2 lead.

The Cougars began a rally in the ninth when Steven Rivas hit a one-out opposite field double to left, the first Cougars hit since the second inning . . . The rally was not to be though as the final two batters could not plate Rivas to tie the game, which the Shockers took by a final of 3-2.

In a semi-repeat of game one, the Shockers got one run off Deese in the top of the first to take an early 1-0 lead . . . Deese was solid over the next 6 2/3 innings, holding the Shockers scoreless until they added a run in the eighth after Deese left the game with a runner on second . . . Andy Belcik did end the inning, but not before Wichita State had taken a 2-0 lead.

After fourteen scoreless innings on the day, the Cougars finally put a run on the board in the eighth when Will Pendergrass hit a sacrifice fly to right . . . Aside from that, Schocker pitching was tough on the Cougars on Friday, allowing three total runs on eleven combined hits in both games . . . Four Cougars had one hit in game one, and Dylan Post (2-for-4) and Ryan Hernandez (2-for-4) were the only Cougars with multiple hits in game two.

Both teams have scored eight runs in the series to this point, and Houston is 13-13 overall and now 1-2 in American Conference play . . . Henry and Deese were hard luck losers on Friday, each pitched well enough to win but for lack of runs to back them up . . . Henry tossed 8 1/3 innings yielding six hits and striking out five . . . Deese countered by throwing 7 2/3 innings allowing eight hits and striking out six.

The Cougars close out the homestand and the opening series of conference weekend on Saturday when they host the Shockers in a noon finale at Schroeder Park . . . Ben Sears will be on the mound for the Cougars. –

Houston Walks-Off Series Finale in 10

Luke Almendarez makes a throw to first in Sunday’s series finale with UTA

Fresh off a Saturday double-header, the Houston Cougars and UT-Arlington Mavericks needed one extra inning to settle Sunday’s series finale at Schroeder Park . . . The Cougars prevailed 5-4 in ten innings to split the weekend series as heavy clouds and sporadic rain showers held of just long enough.

The Mavericks wasted little time getting things going, a two-out single was followed by a two-run home run to right for an early 2-0 lead against Houston starter Ben Sears.

Houston leadoff hitter Brandon Uhse was attempting to bunt and instead got a pitch right in the mid-section of his body . . . He stayed in the game long enough to take his base and was eventually erased on an inning-ending double-play, but he left the game and Jonathan Thomas took his place in the batting order and in center field for the remainder of the game.

Steven Rivas led off the second inning by hitting the first pitch saw over the right field wall . . . The next three straight batters reached base for the Cougars on two singles and a walk . . . Samuel Tormos then hit a chopper to short and the fielders choice allowed Will Pendergrass to score from third . . . With Brad Burckel on third, Tormos took off for second in an attempt to steal second, Mavericks catcher Andrew Miller fired to second and Burckel broke for home, second baseman Tommy Williams was not able to field the throw cleanly, Burckel crossed home plate just moments before Tormos was thrown out at first base allowing the run to count and giving the Cougars a 3-2 lead.

Ben Sears got two outs in the sixth and after a walk he was relieved by Derrick Cherry . . . Cherry got a fly out to center to end the sixth frame for the Mavericks who stranded runners on second and third . . . Sears went 5 2/3 innings and only allowed the two earned runs in the first inning, he exited with the lead and the chance to win the game if the Houston lead held . . . Sunday’s outing was a solid rebound outing for Sears.

Derrick Cherry followed with a scoreless seventh, but the Mavericks tied the game in the eighth as they manufactured the unearned tying run . . . A scoreless ninth for both offenses sent the game to an extra frame.

In extra innings, with the rule in place that a runner starts on second base to begin each inning, the Mavericks immediately bunted their runner to third . . . A shallow fly to right-center was then caught by Steven Rivas and with the runner at third tagging, Rivas fired home, the throw was wide and Houston catcher Kyle Lovelace had to move to his right to field the ball and then dove toward the plate to attempt to get the runner, but the runner was ruled safe at home and UTA took a 4-3 lead.

The Cougars began their half of the tenth with pinch-runner Andrew Papantois on second base . . . Brad Burckel hit a slow roller up the first base line that the pitcher was unable to get a grip on, Papantonis moved to third on the play . . . It was Burckel’s second hit of the afternoon and he was the only Cougar with multiple hits . . . Ian McMillan followed with a single toward second base that the second baseman fielded but his throw to first as he was falling away from first was weak, and it allowed McMillan to reach on the single while Papantonis scored the tying run.

Kyle Lovelace came to the plate with no outs and runners on the corners . . . Lovelace bunted the first pitch between the mound and first base, the first baseman fielded with his glove and tossed the ball home in the same motion but Brad Burckel snuck in around the catchers tag attempt to score the winning run and give the Cougars a 5-4 win.

Ryne Huggins picked up the win, his first of the season, as the result of pitching 1/3 of an inning, ending the tenth . . . All told, Derrick Cherry pitched four innings and did not allow an earned run and added two strikeouts . . . In ten innings, the Cougars offense managed just six hits, but it was enough as five runs scored . . . The Cougars improve to 12-11 with the win Sunday and they spilt the series with the Mavericks; a series which featured thirteen home runs over the four games between the two squads.

The Cougars open conference play Thursday at Schroeder Park when they host Wichita State University for a four game series . . . The Easter weekend schedule will open with Thursday’s game beginning at 6:30pm, a double-header will be played on Friday beginning at 2pm, and the concluding game will begin at 11:30am on Saturday. –

Run-Rule Ends Cougars Road Trip

Steven Rivas faces Oklahoma on Sunday in Norman, OK

A disappointing road trip to Norman, Oklahoma came to a close on Sunday as the Sooners swept their three game home series with a 12-2 defeat of the Houston Cougars in a seven-inning run-rule shortened game.

Ryan Hernandez was not in the lineup at all in the weekend series with Oklahoma . . . Ryan has not appeared in a game since last Tuesday when he had a single pinch-hit appearance against Texas A&M.

After being held scoreless through two innings, the Sooners opened up the scoring with four runs in the third inning, capped by a two-run home run to left by Conor McKenna . . . Ben Sears rebounded nicely with a quick fourth inning facing only three batters, striking out one.

The Cougars put together a two-run fifth inning started on a one-out single by Brad Burckel, who moments later stole second . . . Brandon Uhse hit an infield single to third which scored Burckel from third . . . After a single by Will Pendergrass, Steven Rivas doubled deep into the left field corner, Uhse scored easily, but Will Pendergrass was thrown out at home on a nice relay from the third baseman . . . The scoring had cut the Sooner lead down to 4-2.

But the Sooners had a rebound of their own when they exploded for five runs in the fifth keyed by a Brandon Zaragoza two-run home run giving the Sooners a 9-2 lead . . . Ryne Huggins relieved Sears with two outs and ended the inning without further damage.

The Sooners added a run in the sixth on a solo home run, and one-out later Huggins would be relieved by Layne Looney . . . Looney issued two walks and was quickly relieved by Sean Bretz, who also walked two on his way out of the game . . . Maddux Miller entered the game and walked one, the fifth straight Sooner, before getting an inning-ending fly out to center, but Oklahoma had taken a 12-2 lead.

The Cougars had a chance to extend to the game in the seventh with the run-rule in effect for a Sunday game, but after putting runners on first and second courtesy of two lead off walks, a double-play and a strikeout ended the frame and the game as Oklahoma took the game 12-2 and swept the three game series.

Brad Burckel was 2-for-2 in the Sunday contest while Steven Rivas was 2-for-3, the only two Cougars with multiple hits, accounting for four of the team’s seven total hits in the defeat . . . The bottom three spots in the batting order totaled three hits and two walks in the seven inning game, this is always a good sign for the Cougars when the bottom of the order is getting on base, but the top and middle of the order is hampered with the absence of Ryan Hernandez.

The Cougars will now work their way back to Houston where they will host a double-header against Prairie View A&M on Wednesday . . . Look for right-hander Blake Schultz to get one of the starts on Wednesday . . . First pitch is at 2pm from Schroeder Park. –