Dempsay prepares to pitch Bobcats a loss
UH freshman pitcher/outfielder Chase Dempsay proved that he could hold his own both at the plate and with the glove in the Cougars’ first three games; now he’ll test his luck on the mound.
Dempsay, a right-hander, will be the starting pitcher when UH takes on Texas State at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Cougar Field. It’ll be the teams’ first meeting since UH defeated Texas State 7-3 on April 8, 2003.
Dempsay, who started at designated hitter for two games and in right field for another of the Cougars’ three-game series against Pacific last weekend, earned the nod over freshman left-hander Ty Stuckey, who begins the season in the bullpen.
"Ty Stuckey was right there with him, but Ty had a little bit of a setback with a little situation with his arm, and we haven’t been able to stretch him out like we wanted to," UH head coach Rayner Noble said. "Chase has, through intrasquad (scrimmages), thrown in excess of 75 pitches, so he’s more prepared to start than Ty."
Dempsay played a huge role in Sunday’s 10-9 victory, which allowed the Cougars (2-1) to win their series with Pacific two games to one. He led off the bottom of the ninth inning with his first career home run, a solo shot that tied the game at 9, and senior outfielder Jake Stewart drove in senior infielder Bryan Pounds with a two-out, bases-loaded single for the game-winning run.
Noble is confident Dempsay can perform equally well on the mound.
"Chase has done a real nice job of throwing three pitches for strikes, and I think that’s why he warrants the start," Noble said.
Texas State (3-0) enters tonight’s matchup on a wave of momentum after knocking off Stephen F. Austin, Illinois and Sam Houston State at the Texas-Pan American Tournament. All three games were decided by one run, the last being a 5-4 decision over Sam Houston State on Sunday.
Junior Bobcat right-hander Kane Holbrooks will probably make his first start of the season against UH. He pitched 1 2/3 innings and surrendered a run in the Bobcats’ 2-1 win over Illinois on Saturday.
Noble said he hopes Dempsay will be able to go five or six innings, but he will be limited to about 90 pitches. After that, Noble will turn things over to the bullpen.
Last season, the bullpen was a source of frustration for the Cougars. Against Pacific, it was a source of relief.
Junior right-hander Chris Wright and sophomores Donnie Joseph and John Touchton combined to toss three scoreless innings in Friday’s 3-1 win, with Touchton earning the save. Touchton and junior left-hander Jimmy Raviele came up big in Sunday’s win, combining to hold Pacific scoreless over the final two innings.
"I think it’s very evident that the depth of our bullpen is going to be crucial to us; getting consistency out of the guys we’ll be bringing out on a consistent basis," Noble said. "I think Chris Wright, Bryan Tully and Jimmy Raviele, along with Touchton, are really going to have to pull the load there for a while until we can get guys like Dereck Cloeren and (Ricky) Hargrove back to where they need to be."
Touchton sees promise for this year’s bullpen.
"The staff (with) the starters and the bullpen is tremendously deeper this year," said Touchton, who was the winning pitcher in Sunday’s game. "Our starters feel good coming out of the game now (knowing) that they’re going to get a win, and we’re going to hold it and not drop the game."