Houston Swept; Heads for Conference Tournament

The Houston Cougars and the Central Florida Knights closed out the regular season on Saturday with a briskly played, 2-1 game that the Knights won on their home field in Orlando.

Matt Lazzaro got the start for Houston for the second week in a row, his third start of the season . . . Lazzaro had everything working and he was cruising early.

With the game scoreless in the fourth, Tyler Bielamowicz hit a one-out single . . . Designated hitter Derrick Cherry then hit a liner toward the hole at second base into right field, Bielamowicz moved easily to third, but carelessness by the Knights defense allowed Bielamowicz to race home from third and just barely beat a throw home to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

The Knights tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when a double to left-center allowed a runner on second to score . . . Central Florida took a 2-1 lead on a grounder to short that plated a runner on third.

Matt Lazzaro’s day was complete after six innings, another great outing for the lefty . . . Maddux Miller replaced Lazzaro, and after two quick outs to start the frame, he was hit on his pitching hand by a liner off a batted ball . . . Miller tried to stay in the game, but he threw one pitch which sailed high and away, and he was immediately replaced.

Colby Casey had another nice outing for the Cougars out of the bullpen, he recorded the final four outs.

The Cougars offense never threatened further after the run-scoring fourth, the team mustered just four hits, two on them by Dylan Post who was 2-for-4 in the loss.

The Cougars head to Clearwater now and will play their first game of the American Athletic Conference tournament at 3pm on Tuesday . . . Look for Robert Gasser to start the game for Houston in the double-elimination tournament.

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. –

Houston Drops Two as Tulane Continues Hot Streak

Three notable streaks were on the line as the Houston Cougars traveled to Turchin Stadium in New Orleans for a four-game American Athletic Conference (AAC) set this weekend with the Tulane Green Wave.

Tulane as a team entered play with a ten game winning streak . . . Tulane leadoff hitter Collin Burns entered with a seventeen game hitting streak . . . And catcher Bennett Lee entered with a sixteen game hitting streak.

There was also a great pitching matchup to open the weekend between Tulane’s Braden Olthoff and Houston’s Robert Gasser, two premiere pitchers not only in the AAC, but in all of college baseball.

Lefty Robert Gasser retired Collin Burns to open the bottom of the first before three straight singles plated the first run of the game, and Tulane led 1-0.

Houston did not get its first hit off of Olthoff until the fourth inning, the first of only five hits in the game. Meanwhile, Gasser was cruising as well, striking out eight as he went six complete innings and left trailing 1-0.

The Green Wave added two runs in the seventh off of Houston relief pitching, including the final run on a bases loaded walk that made it 3-0.

After a scoreless eighth for Olthoff, Tulane went to the bullpen to close out Houston in the ninth for the 3-0 five-hit shutout win . . . Gasser and the Cougars bullpen were able to end Burns’s hitting streak at seventeen games.

Houston struck first in Friday’s second game when they scored a run in the top of first on a Ryan Hernandez bloop single into right that brought Brad Burckel home from second . . . The Cougars added a run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Luke Almendarez to score Will Pendergrass and give the Cougars a 2-0 advantage.

In the third, Tyler Bielamowicz lined a one-out triple to right-center and he was brought home moments later on a Ryan Hernandez single into center to put the Cougars in front 3-0.

Tulane plated a run in the third off Houston starter Jaycob Deese to get back in the game.

Tulane’s starter left the game with one out in the sixth and two Cougars on base . . . Houston added a run moments later on a bizarre play at the plate on a wild pitch allowing Dylan Post to score and extend the Cougars lead to 4-1 . . . Post broke for home on a wild pitch, but the pitch ricocheted quickly back to Tulane’s catcher and he recovered the ball and raced back to the plate as Post went right at Hastings, but he snuck his left leg around the catcher and managed to touch home plate before he was tagged.

The Green Wave got a two-run home run in the sixth to get to within one at 4-3 . . . Collin Burns tied the contest at four in the seventh with a one-out home run to straight-away center field . . . Deese went 6 1/3 innings in a solid outing before exiting, but the game got away from the Cougars at that point. A few pitches later, a liner down the first base line drove in Tulane’s go-ahead run at 5-4.

The Green Wave scored six runs in the eighth while they scored ten unanswered runs overall and led 11-4.

Tulane closed out the contest in the ninth while extending their win streak to twelve games.

The two teams return to Turchin Stadium on Saturday with first pitch coming at 4pm . . . Ben Sears will take 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. –

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. –

Gasser Dominates, Cougars Open Conference with 5-3 Win

Robert Gasser opens American Conference play Thursday at Schroeder Park

685 days after their last game within the American Athletic Conference, the Houston Cougars welcomed conference foe Wichita State University to Schroeder Park on Thursday night and walked away with a 5-3 win behind another outstanding mound performance by Robert Gasser.

The Cougars offense got things started in the first when Luke Almendarez reached base on a one-out single . . . That was followed by a Ryan Hernandez single . . . A wild pitch moved both runners up a base before Tyler Bielamowicz plated Almendarez on a grounder to second as the Cougars took a 1-0 lead . . . Worth noting that Brandon Uhse was back in the lineup after leaving Sunday’s game after he was hit by a pitch that caught hi front section as he was squaring to bunt.

In the second, Will Pendergrass led the inning off with a double to left-center . . . Brad Burckel followed with a single that scored Pendergrass . . . Three batters later, Burckel stole second, his tenth stolen base of the season, and Brandon Uhse hit the next pitch into left field scoring Burckel and increasing the Cougar lead to 3-0.

For the second consecutive time through the order, in the fourth inning, Pendergrass and Burckel both led off the inning by getting on base, this time a hit batter and a walk put the two on base . . . Ian McMillan put down a sacrifice bunt that moved the runners up . . . With the runners going on the pitch, Kyle Lovelace executed perfectly on a suicide squeeze as he put a ball in play that stopped moving about ten to twelve feet from home plate and no play was made anywhere as Pendergrass scored to extend the Houston lead 4-0.

Robert Gasser was cruising, he had allowed one hit through four and his second hit in the fifth, and did not allow a hit in his final two full innings of work . . . Houston added a run in the seventh when Tyler Bielamowicz hit a sacrifice fly to left-field to score Brandon Uhse from third and giving the Cougars a 5-0 lead.

Gasser exited after 7 2/3 of scoreless baseball, having only allowed only two hits while striking out twelve . . . Gasser struck out his final batter, and he also struck out the side in his last complete inning, the seventh . . . Derrick Cherry entered the game tasked with getting the final four outs.

The Shockers plated three in the eighth after Gasser’s exit on a hit to center and a throwing error that allowed an extra run to score, followed by a single that squeaked through up the middle and into center field, the Cougars still led 5-3 . . . Cherry pitched a scoreless ninth to end the game and send the Cougars home victorious . . . Gasser picked up the win improving to 4-2 on the year.

The Cougars offense scattered eight hits throughout the game, and Luke Almendarez was the only Cougar with multiple hits as he went 2-for-4.

The Cougars and the Shockers meet again on Friday for a double-header . . . Carter Henry, making his first start since the 2017 season, will start game one . . . Henry is one of only three Houston pitchers who have pitched in American Conference action prior to this weekend . . . Jaycob Deese will start game two, his second start and second consecutive weekend start . . . First pitch is at 2pm at Schroeder Park. –

Hernandez Homers Three Times in Opener, Cougars Drop Twin Bill

Jaycob Deese offers up the first pitch in game two of Saturday’s double-header

The Mavericks of UT-Arlington took both games of a Saturday twin bill by a combined score of 20-14 over the Houston Cougars at Schroeder Park.

Before the Cougars came to bat in the first, they were already attempting to erase a 3-0 deficit . . . With one out, Luke Almendarez hit his first collegiate home run to trim the UTA lead to 3-1 . . . The Mavericks then added a grand slam in the third to increase their early lead to 7-1 . . . Carter Henry relieved starter Blake Schultz in the third.

In the Cougars half of the third, Ryan Hernandez hit a two-out three-run home run to draw the game closer at 7-4 . . . After the Mavericks added two runs in the top half of the fifth, Hernandez hit his second home run in as many at-bats, sending one 424 feet to cut into the UTA lead 9-5.

Hernandez hit his third home run of the game in the seventh, a two-run shot with Luke Almendarez on second after a one-out double to left-center . . . Almendarez (3-for-5) and Hernandez (3-for-4) were the only Cougars with multiple hits in game one, they each had three hits . . . Hernandez is the first Houston Cougar to homer three times in a single game since Connor Wong did it against Tulane in April 2017.

Carter Henry threw 5 2/3 innings in his appearance, allowing three hits and three strikeouts . . . Henry’s outing was a tremendous boost for the bullpen as he ate up a lot of innings after a short start from Blake Schultz . . . Tyler Bielamowicz recorded the first out in the top of the ninth when he went high on the left field wall to bring back what was sure to be a two-run home run, instead it was recorded as a long out.

Mavericks shortstop Josh Minjarez hit his second home run of the game with two outs in the ninth to give his team a 12-7 lead that the Mavericks would hold on to after a scoreless final two innings from the Cougars offense.

Jaycob Deese took the mound for the Cougars in game two, making his first start for Houston but his ninth appearance.

In the bottom of the first, Steven Rivas doubled to plate one run in giving Houston an early 1-0 lead. . . Will Pendergrass followed with a two-run home run to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead . . .For Pendergrass, it was his second home run in as many days and his fourth of the season as he went 2-for-3 and walked once in the second game.

UTA took a 4-3 lead in the fourth when a sacrifice fly to center scored a runner from third who had reached base on a double and then moved over to third on a groundout . . . Brad Burckel put the Cougars back in front when he hit a two-run home run off the scoreboard in right field to give the Cougars a 5-4 advantage in the fourth.

UTA tied the game at five in the seventh on a solo home run to center field as Deese’s night came to an end . . . Prayer relieved Deese after the home run and go three fast outs to end the frame . . . Prayer went 2 2/3 innings being replaced with two outs in the eighth by Layne Looney . . . Looney would add another inning of work, holding the Mavericks and keeping the Cougars within three at 8-5 . . . The Cougars mounted a two-run rally in the ninth but they fell a run short in the 8-7 Saturday finale.

The Cougars and the Mavericks close out the four-game weekend series on Sunday at Schroeder Park . . . Houston has not yet announced a starting pitcher, though with recent history it would be safe to assume right-hander Ben Sears will take the ball for Todd Whitting’s team . . . First pitch is at 1pm. –