Cougars Rally Falls Short 3-2

The Houston Cougars baseball team took their show, and their undefeated record, on the road Friday to begin a weekend series in Corpus Christi at Whataburger Field . . . The Cougars faced-off again with the Islanders of Texas A&M Corpus Christi for the second time this week, but this time the Islanders played host and unlike the previous game, the Islanders took Friday’s contest 3-2.

Robert Gasser got his second start of the season on Friday night, and he went five innings giving up two runs while certainly keeping his team in the game . . . Gasser took the mound for the sixth, but after a hit batter, he was replaced by Jacob Deese . . . Desse promptly struck out the first batter and got the next batter to hit into an inning-ending double play.

The Cougars were scoreless until the sixth inning when Tyler Bielamowicz delivered a one-out single to left to score Steven Rivas from third . . . Bielamowicz was one of the offensive stars of the night going 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI, and Tyler reached base a fourth time when he walked.

The Islanders added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, and were about to add a run but for an alert play by Steven Rivas on a grounder just beyond the reach of a diving Brad Burckel. Rivas fielded and immediately fired to Dylan Post at home for a catch-and-tag at the plate.

Ryan Hernandez was 2-for-4 and Steven Rivas drove in the only other Cougars run on a ninth inning error that scored Cole Turney from second in a last inning would-be comeback . . . The Cougars left eleven runners on base Friday night . . . Just as in the season opener last Saturday, the Cougars used only two pitchers in the game, Robert Gasser and Jaycob Deese . . . Gasser took the loss to even his record at 1-1 on the season.

The 3-2 defeat was the first of the season for the Cougars . . . The two teams get back at it Saturday when they face off again at 6pm at Whataburger Field.

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Cougars Improve to 4-0 to Start 2021

Cameron Prayer throws the first pitch Tuesday afternoon

The Houston Cougars scored double-digit runs for the third consecutive game on Tuesday while downing the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders 12-8 at Schroeder Park.

Cameron Prayer took the mound for his first start as a Cougar . . . Prayer’s teammates got him some early offense, plating five runs in the bottom of the second inning.

The scoring in the second began when third baseman Adam Becker hit a ball off the wall in left-center and two runs crossed the plate to tie the game . . . After an RBI single by Brad Burckel, Steven Rivas hit is third home run of the young season . . . Before the inning was over, the Cougars had re-taken the lead 5-2.

Steven Rivas was not done . . . After a home run by Brandon Uhse to lead off the fourth, Rivas hit another home run, a towering shot to center that cleared the fence to the left of the black screen in center . . . For Rivas it was part of a 3-for-5, 3 RBI afternoon, he has 8 RBI in the first four games.

Tyler Bielamowicz would hit a home run in the seventh that allowed the Cougars to re-take a five run lead 10-5. For Tyler it was his first of the season and part of a 2-for-3 afternoon . . . Ian McMillan continued to swing a hot bat going 3-for-5.

Brad Burckel homered in the seventh as well to extend the lead to 12-5. Burckel went the opposite way for his first home run of the year in a 2-for-4 effort.

A bevy of other Cougars pitchers saw some innings in Tuesday’s game, including Sean Bretz, Carter Henry, Ryne Huggins, and Dravin Barber . . . The Cougars offense scored a run in five of eight innings and pounded out sixteen hits.

Maddux Miller went 1 2/3 innings, struck out three batters, and earned the win for his work to go 1-0 on the year . . . Derrick Cherry closed the door in the ninth, after inheriting a bases-loaded and no outs situation, Derrick recorded three outs, striking out two batters, to lock down the 12-8 victory for the Cougars.

The Cougars hit the road now for their first road trip of the season, heading southwest to take on these same Islanders in a three-game series at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi over the weekend, first pitch Friday night is at 6pm.

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.

Houston Drops Series Finale in Arizona

Houston Cougars Derrick Cherry 3-8-2020
Derrick Cherry bats against Arizona Sunday in Tuscon.

TUCSON – The Houston Cougars entered Sunday’s rubber game with the Arizona Wildcats with a chance to get their first series win of the season.

Tanner Green took the mound in his first career start for the Cougars . . . Green would be the first of eight pitchers for Houston in the game, and Arizona took an early 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning . . . Robert Gasser would relieve Green in the second with two outs, he would end the inning and carry the Cougars into the sixth inning, going 3 1/3 and throwing 58 pitches in a very good outing.

Houston was scoreless going into the fourth when Tyler Bielamowicz hit a one-out triple down the right field line scored Kobe Hyland from second . . . The next batter, Rey Mendoza put a bunt in play on the right side of the infield and Mendoza was too quick to first for the defense which allowed Bielamowicz to cross the plate and tie the game at two.

In the Houston fifth, freshman Rey Mendoza hit a two-out homerun to right for the first homerun of his young career as a Cougar to tie the game at three . . . Mendoza hit a 1-1 pitch deep to right, which bounced off the side wall of a batting facility the Wildcats have just outside the right field fence . . . Brad Burckel countered with a solo homerun with one out in the sixth to give the Cougars a 4-3 advantage, the first lead of the game for the Cougars.

Arizona took the lead in the bottom of the seventh when multiple walks, multiple batters hit-by-pitch, and bad luck added up to an insurmountable situation and the Wildcats scored five runs to take a 9-4 lead . . . Arizona added a run in the eighth to take a 10-5 lead into the ninth.

Cole Ferguson pitched a nice 2/3 of inning getting some work in for the young pitcher in only his third appearance as a Cougar . . . And freshman Randy Garza got a little work in, making his first appearance as a Cougar getting the last out of the eighth.

The Cougars managed some baserunners in the ninth on walks to Dylan Post and Tyler Bielamowicz, a single by Ryan Hernandez would bring home a run to make the score 10-6, but that is where the offense stopped as Arizona took the weekend series two games to one.

The Cougars head to Las Vegas next for a two-game midweek matchup with UNLV . . . First pitch Tuesday night is at 8:05pm Central Time. –

Cougars Win Behind Aguilar, Cherry Pitching

Houston Cougars Clay Aguilar 3-7-2020
Clay Aguilar faces the Arizona Wildcats Saturday in Tucson.

TUSCON – After dropping Friday’s first game in Arizona on Friday night, the Houston Cougars needed many things to change in order to win Saturday’s second game against the Wildcats.

Houston went down in order in the top of the first, and Arizona made Houston starter Clay Aguilar work, but they only managed a single run in the first frame, thanks in part to an alert play at first base by Ryan Hernandez. With runners on first and second, a groundball has hit to Kobe Hyland’s right at shortstop . . . Hyland fielded and threw to first to get the batter, but the runner from second never stopped running, he rounded third and Hernandez was able to get him at the plate and prevent the run from scoring . . . Score it a 6-3-2 double-play.

Both teams remained scoreless into the fourth inning when the Cougars manufactured three runs . . . Brad Burckel put the first run across on a one-out double that scored Hernandez . . . With the game tied, Kobe Hyland singled two batters later to score Steven Rivas and Burckel as the Cougars took a 3-1 lead.

That was the extent of the scoring Saturday night, for either team.

Clay Aguilar threw  into the sixth inning going 5 2/3 with 96 pitches. This was not a typical, crisp Aguilar start as he walked five batters and hit another, but he kept the ball around the plate and kept it in the ballpark as the Wildcats also collected eight hits.

Carter Henry entered and got a strikeout to end the inning, stranding an inherited runner at first. In the seventh, Henry loaded the bases and gave way to Derrick Cherry . . . Two pitches later Cherry got his first batter to pop-up in the infield, and Cherry made the catch to end the bases-loaded threat.

Cherry was not done yet . . . He would double to left-center in the top of the eighth, but he would be left on basepaths . . . Cherry would go the final 2 1/3 innings to earn his second save of the season . . . He was aided by an outstanding catch by right-fielder Tyler Bielamowicz in the ninth inning near the warning track in right-center, he had to go a long way to get the ball and he made it look easy.

Clay Aguilar improved to 2-0 this year with the 3-1 victory . . . Cherry threw 35 pitches, 25 for strikes in earning the save.

The Cougars and the Wildcats meet Sunday at 2pm for a rubber game in Tucson before the Cougars move on to Las Vegas for a two-game midweek set with UNLV to conclude this road trip. –

Cougars Lose in Arizona, 7-1

Houston Cougars Tyler Bielamowicz 3-6-2020
Tyler Bielamowicz bats in the 6th inning Friday night in Tucson.

TUCSON – The Houston Cougars arrived in Arizona fresh off a win at Rice on Wednesday night, attempting to put together their first back-to-back wins on the young season. The Arizona Wildcats were having none of it.

The Cougars faced a typically strong Friday night starter in Arizona’s Garrett Irvin, and they were not able to get much going against the strong lefty.

Tyler Bielamowicz in the leadoff spot, seemed to have the only beat on Irvin and the rest of the Wildcats pitching staff, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances, twice on singles, once on a hit-by-pitch, and once on an error by the Arizona third baseman . . . It has been said many times in the history of the game, put the ball in play, and anything can happen . . . An error by the third baseman counts as “anything.”

Trailing 2-0 in the top of the fourth, Bielamowicz led off with one of his two singles, and Ryan Hernandez would single behind him. After a double-play put Bielamowicz at third, an error at second on a Rey Mendoza batted ball allowed Bielomowicz to score the Cougars only run of the night.

Arizona did not explode for a massive run-scoring inning at any point, but they nibbled and scored in five of their eight innings at the plate, flustering Cougar pitching, which also walked ten batters while striking out nine . . . Isaiah Blaylock had an effective outing, going 1 1/3 inning in relief of starter Lael Lockhart Jr., only allowing an unearned run and one hit.

Cole Ferguson came out of the bullpen for the eighth inning for only the second time this season, having just made his debut as a Cougar last Sunday against Texas State . . . Cole only allowed a single, which was subsequently wiped out on a double-play behind him, and he only threw a total of six pitches in the inning.

In the 7-1 Wildcats win, Arizona’s Irvin improved to 4-0 on the season with his 6 2/3 innings of work . . . Bielamowicz was the only Cougar with multiple hits, raising his batting average to .317 in the process.

The two teams square off again Saturday afternoon, first pitch is at 5pm Central Time from Tucson. –

Cougars Win at Rice, 6-4

Houston Cougars 3-4-2020 via FERGTEXAS409
The Houston Cougars win at Rice on Wednesday night.
(Photo courtesy of @FERGTEXAS409 via Twitter)

The Houston Cougars traveled a few miles to Rice’s Reckling Park on Wednesday night for the first of three games against the Owls in the 2020 Silver Glove Series.

Nick Rupp got the start on the mound for the Cougars and faced early trouble loading the bases with no outs, but he would work out of the situation without allowing a run.

Ian McMillan led off the top of the second with a single, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Rey Mendoza and then a fly out to right by Luke Almendarez, before finally scoring on a passed ball to give Houston a 1-0 lead . . . Rice would take the lead right back in their half of the second on a back-to-back single and double.

In the top of the third, Brad Burckel, in his first game back since suffering an injury in Round Rock, singled home Steven Rivas from second to tie the game at two.

Tanner Green entered in the third and pitched 2 1/3 innings and did not give up any runs while only yielding two hits and walk.

The Cougars took 4-2 lead in the fourth when Tyler Bielamowicz singled to center to plate Luke Almendarez and Kyle Lovelace, both reached base on singles . . . After a scoreless fourth for Cougar pitching, Derrick Cherry doubled off the wall in right-center, and was brought home from second two batters later on an Ian McMillan single to increase the Cougars lead to 5-2.

The Cougars ran into trouble in the sixth as two runners reached base with no outs behind Jared Pettitte . . . Derrick Cherry entered the game and gave up a quick RBI single on a wild hop past third baseman Ian McMillan, then an RBI double by Trei Cruz to put Owl runners on second and third with no one out . . . Cherry then struck out the next three Rice batters swinging, the heart of the Owl lineup could not deliver as Cherry buckled-down and held on to a 5-4 lead.

Cherry followed with a scoreless seventh inning in which Kobe Hyland made two great defensive plays at shortstop, showing range and movement on both, one to his right, and one to his left in which he was well behind second when he threw the ball to first.

Tyler Bielamowicz brought home an insurance run in the eighth when he doubled to left-center to bring home Rey Mendoza from second . . . Mendoza had walked to reach base in a ten-pitch at-bat that included fouling-off five pitches . . . For Bielamowicz, the double capped-off a 3-for-4 night with a walk and a stolen base . . . Ironically, Tyler’s stolen base came when he was on first because of a fielder’s choice, the one time he did not reach base cleanly all night.

Meanwhile, Derrick Cherry was dominating on the mound, going four scoreless innings, hitting 87-89mph in his final inning of work . . . Cherry struck out five, only allowed three hits and picked up a save for his effort . . . Tanner Green got the win by virtue of his being the pitcher of record when the Cougars took the lead once and for all.

The Cougars are off tomorrow before opening a series at Arizona Friday night at 7pm. –

Cougars Lose Finale, Series to Bobcats

Houston Cougars Photo via 5_Coogs
The Cougars hosted Texas State for the series finale Sunday.
(Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs on Twitter)

Gray skies and periodic light rain hung over Schroeder Park Sunday afternoon as the Texas State Bobcats and the Houston Cougars opened-up March and closed out their three-game weekend series with a rubber game.

Sunday starter Jared Pettitte had a tough go of things after a scoreless first and was knocked out of the game in the second inning once Texas State had a 3-0 lead.

The Cougars got their first run in the second after Luke Almendarez was hit by a pitch, then stole second and third, and was brought home on a one-out Kyle Lovelace groundout to short to cut the Texas State lead to 3-1.

Kobe Hyland tied the game in the fourth with a one-out single to right . . . Kyle Lovelace followed with a double down the left field line to put two runners in scoring position for Tyler Bielamowicz, who grounded out to short to bring home Hyland and give the Cougars a 4-3 lead.

That was the final run the Cougars would score on Sunday as Texas State would score nine unanswered runs afterward . . . Texas State scored multiple runs in five of the nine innings.

Freshman Cole Ferguson saw the first action of his Cougar career as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning retiring all three batters he faced, striking out one.

Derrick Cherry took the mound to pitch the ninth with the Cougars trailing 10-4 . . . For Cherry, it was his first time on the mound as a Cougar . . . He would pitch 2/3 of an inning, possibly because of a low pitch count in his first pitching action . . . Tyler Bielamowicz then took the mound, also for his first pitching action of the season, he would eventually get a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the inning.

The Cougars have a couple of days off before heading over to Rice for the first game of this year’s Silver Glove Series Wednesday at 6:30pm . . . The next six games for the Cougars are away from Schroeder Park. –

Cougars Rally in 9th, Fall Short 11-10

Houston Cougars Lael Lockhart Jr. 2-28-2020
Lael Lockhart Jr.’s first pitch against Texas State Friday night.

The Texas State Bobcats arrived in force at Schroeder Park on Friday night as they opened their series with the Houston Cougars with a big win.

The Bobcats got two quick runs in the first inning off of Cougars starter Lael Lockhart Jr. . . . After a strikeout to lead off the game, two singles and a triple added up to a quick 2-0 lead . . . Texas State would keep Houston off the scoreboard long enough to put up a three-spot in the third to take a 5-0 lead.

The Cougars put together a comeback of sorts in the fourth when they scored two after a leadoff single by Ryan Hernandez, one of his two hits on the night, and a double to right-center by Brett Cain . . . Tyler Bielamowicz was hit by a pitch for the fourth time already this season to load the bases for Ian McMillan . . . McMillan hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Hernandez from third.

Freshman Rey Mendoza pinch-hit with the bases loaded and two-outs after a Kobe Hyland walk . . . Mendoza quickly fell behind 0-2, but he stayed patient and he did not chase, eventually he worked a big walk to score another run and get the Cougars within three at 5-2.

Texas State would get a run back in the fifth . . . The Cougars got that run back in the sixth when Kobe Hyland hit a solo homerun to right field . . . But the math was not adding up as the Bobcats plated five runs in their seventh and eighth innings to take a commanding 11-3 lead into the ninth . . . The Bobcats made the Cougars pay for defensive errors, those hitters scored to increase the pressure on the trio of Cougars pitchers that handled the duty on Friday night.

The Cougars mounted a rally of sorts to close the gap . . . Dax Dathe led off the inning with a solid single, and he would move to second on a wild pitch . . . An error by the Texas State shortstop would allow the Cougars runners on the corners with no one out . . . Derrick Cherry would deliver with an RBI single, his first hit of the 2020 season in his first game this year, and the Cougars were trailing 11-4 as Texas State went to the bullpen.

Another run would score on a Ryan Hernandez groundout to make the score 11-5 . . . Blake Way followed with a two-out two-run homerun to left-center to get the Cougars within four at 11-7 . . . Tyler Bielamowicz worked a two-out walk to keep the inning alive. Bielmowicz reached base in three of his five plate appearances, capping his night with a stolen base.

Ian McMillan kept the ninth inning going with a single to right . . . Freshman Luke Almendarez roped a two-out double into the left field corner and two runs would score to make the score 11-9 before Texas State went to the bullpen again . . . A single to right by Dylan Post would get the Cougars within one, but the rally would end there with the winning run base as the Cougars fell 11-10 despite scoring seven runs in the final frame.

Houston and Texas State are back at it on Saturday evening at 6:30 at Schroeder Park. –