Cougars Open First Homestand with 11-4 Win Over TSU

Skyler Trevino apllies a tag on an attempted steal of second base Friday night

Houston was able to play the long game better than Texas Southern on Friday evening at Schroeder Park as the Cougars scored in each of their final four at-bats, nine runs in total after the fifth inning to take the 11-4 victory on opening night of their home schedule.

Kerry Wright was on the mound Friday afternoon for Houston after a disappointing opening start for him last Sunday in Scottsdale . . . After a scoreless first inning, Texas Southern scored in the second inning on a play that was close enough at the plate that it needed to be reviewed before it was confirmed.

The Cougars added two runs in the bottom of the second when Zach Arnold (2-for-4) singled with the bases loaded to put Houston in front 2-1.

The Tigers tied the game in the third . . . Wright gave way to Colby Casey in the fourth inning having struck out four in his three innings and allowing just the two earned runs . . . Casey went two scoreless innings in which he also did not allow a hit.

Houston catcher Anthony Tulimero, who is swinging a hot bat to start the season, is doing his part behind the plate as well, on Friday he had thrown out two base runners trying to steal, including speedy former Cougar Jonathan Thomas, by the end of the fifth inning.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth, Samuel Tormos hit a drive deep the left that in normal conditions would have landed on Elgin . . . Instead, the drive off of Tormos’s bat was caught up against the left field wall and the ball was fired in to second base . . . Chaos ensued as the umpires gathered and tried to figure out what had just happened . . . Eventually, a run was counted as it crossed the plate before the runner was apparently called out at second for having left early trying to tag up . . . The inning came to an end on the double-play with the Cougars once again in the lead, 3-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Cougars added a run on a single by Ian McMillan (3-for-4) . . . Brandon Uhse keyed a three-run seventh inning with a two-out double off the right field wall to push the Cougar lead to 7-2 . . . Tulimero (3-for-5) drove in two more in the eighth with a double to right-center . . . An error on a fly to right field allowing another run was followed by a McMillan RBI single to left.

Jaycob Deese took the mound to start the sixth inning and his stuff was electric, despite the conditions outside . . . Deese struck out a career-high nine batters, of the twelve outs he recorded, in many cases he simply overpowered guys.

Head coach Todd Whitting was ecstatic about the performance from his right-hander out of the bullpen, “Difference in the game was Deese coming in and shutting down TSU.” Whitting added, “In those conditions tonight it took a tough competitor to come off the bench and give his team a great performance like he did.”

“Tuli has been exactly what we thought he would be coming into the season,” said head coach Todd Whitting after the game, “a great receiver and the ability to deliver at home plate in the clutch.” Of the runners Tulimero caught trying to steal Friday night, Whitting added. “His performance to shut down TSU’s running game was huge tonight.”

Casey (1-0) was the pitcher of record, so he picked up the win with Deese earning the save, his first of the season, with his four inning performance to finish the game . . . Ryan Hernandez was 3-for-5 in Friday’s game, and while the power numbers are not there yet, he is going to the gaps and hitting the ball hard.

Houston has won two straight games now and returns to action on Saturday afternoon against UT Rio Grande Valley, first pitch is at 4pm at Schroeder Park, with Nathan Medrano making his second start of the season.

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Cougars Open 2021 with Series Sweep

Blake Schultz opens Sunday’s game against TSU

The Houston Cougars continued their perfection against the Texas Southern Tigers Sunday at Schroeder Park with a 14-4 win, increasing the series record to 32-0 . . . The two teams began playing each other in 1987.

Blake Schultz took the hill for the Cougars in his first outing since coming to Houston . . . Schultz looked strong with good command as he struck out three and did not allow any walks over 4 1/3 innings in which he allowed a single earned run . . . Blake picked up the win (1-0).

In the third inning, Steven Rivas hit a two-run home run to right that traveled 460 feet to extend the Cougars lead to 4-0 . . . Four batters later Ian McMillan hit a grand slam to left to put the Cougars well in front . . . In addition to five RBI, McMillan also dazzled in the field with some incredible defensive plays, many at times when the team really needed them . . . In a post game interview, McMillan noted that he found the partially missing tooth of Luke Almendarez before the game today . . . Almendarez lost part of his tooth in a collision at home plate on Saturday . . . For McMillan, the partial tooth might be a good luck, it might be worth carrying around again to see if it delivers another five RBI.

Sean Bretz made his return to the Cougars after missing all of 2020 after Tommy John Surgery . . . Sean inherited a batter with two strikes already, and he dispatched the batter with a 93mph fastball for a one-pitch strike out . . . Bretz would strike out the next batter to end the Tigers fifth . . . Sean exited after another full inning of work.

Steven Rivas was not done as he doubled to the right field wall in the eighth, part of a 3-for-4 afternoon . . . Rivas is obviously happy to be playing again after having been unable to compete for 347 days prior to this weekend, “you feel like a little kid again,” Rivas said after Sunday’s game.

Tyler Bielamowicz came off the bench for the second day in a row to deliver for the team . . . Tyler hit a bases loaded double to left-center to score two runs, the final runs Houston would score on Sunday.

Derrick Cherry pitched the final two innings to close out the 14-4 victory for the Cougars . . . Derrick struck out one and allowed one hit as he threw twenty-six pitches in his two innings, he was also steadily hitting 93mph and topped out at 95mph.

The 32-0 series record against Texas Southern holds until the two teams meet again, 34 years of dominance by the Cougars will set a standard for all future teams, as will the combined runs in this weekend series win of 30-9 over the three games.

“I have the hammer right now,” Ian McMillan pointed out after the Sunday win, and referring to teammates Ryan Hernandez and Steven Rivas, the only other Cougars to lift the hammer so far this season he said, “they gotta get it back from me.”

The Cougars return to the field on Tuesday at 3pm against Texas A&M Corpus Christi at Schroeder Park as Cameron Prayer will get the start in making his Cougars debut, and other Cougars hitters will try to wrestle the hammer from Ian McMillan, and maybe a partial tooth.

Houston Cougars Sweep Opening Day Doubleheader

The Houston Cougars pre-game fielding drills Saturday at Schroeder Park.

Based on the weather in Houston just a handful of days ago, it is somewhat difficult to believe that actual college baseball took place at Schroeder Park on Saturday . . . But baseball did happen and the Houston Cougars took both games of a doubleheader with their neighbor across Scott Street, the Texas Southern Tigers by scores of 6-1 and 10-4.

Pitching dominated game one as left-hander Robert Gasser threw five innings and did not allow an earned run while limiting the Tigers to a single hit and striking out seven . . . Gasser got the win for his effort.

Steven Rivas and Ryan Hernandez did their part to support the pitching performances . . . The duo hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth to cushion the Cougar lead at 4-1 . . . Rivas went 2-for-3 in the game. . . Designated hitter Andrew Papantonis went 3-for-4 with two singles and a double, along with a stolen base.

Newcomer Junior College transfer Jaycob Deese was lights out over four scoreless innings to earn the save . . . Deese was throwing his fastball consistently over 90mph in all four innings he worked, and he was hitting 94mph on consecutive pitches at one point, topping-out at 95mph . . . Deese also dropped a pitch to 80mph to end an inning with a strikeout.

With the game one win, Houston improved to 30-0 all-time against Texas Southern, with one more game to play on the day.

Ben Sears took the hill for game two and though he got off to a rocky start, led by a defensive miscue behind him, he kept the Cougars in the game and ended up tossing five strong innings . . . Sears was consistently hitting 85-87mph, and hit 91mph at least once.

The Cougars offense really started to claw back in the fifth when they scored two to trim the deficit to 4-3 . . . With the game tied at four in the bottom of the sixth, Ryan Hernandez hit his second home run of the day to put the Cougars in front 6-4, it was his seventh home run in his first seventeen games as a Cougar . . . Hernandez was 4-for-4 in the second game with an intentional walk . . . In the seventh, Steven Rivas hit his second double of the game in going 2-for-3 . . . Tyler Bielamowicz contributed three RBI and continues to get on base dating back to his 2020 campaign.

Dylan Post got the start at catcher from game two on Saturday and went 3-for-4 with a walk, including a single in three consecutive innings.

Matt Lazzaro also saw his first action of the season, and he was relieved by Andrew Belcik who would pick up the win, neither allowed a run . . . Layne Looney pitched the final three innings for the Cougars to earn the save . . . Six of Looney’s outs were strikeouts . . . Lazzaro, Belcik, and Looney were all making their debut with the Cougars.

The Cougars upped the record to 31-0 all-time versus Texas Southern . . . The two teams play one more game in this opening weekend series, Sunday at 2pm at Schroeder Park.