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Saturday, September 23, 2023


UH baseball takes weekend series

Nine runs over three innings gave the Cougars another weekend series win as they beat San Francisco 10-8 Sunday at Cougar Field.

After earning a run in the second inning, senior designated hitter Jake Stewart started the third with a leadoff double to right field. Senior first baseman Bryan Pounds then drove him in with a single to left field. Pounds’ hit extended his career-long hit streak to 18 games.

Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for sophomore catcher Austin Goolsby, who drove in two more runs with a single to left-centerfield. Two more singles by senior right fielder Bryan Tully and sophomore centerfielder Zak Presley brought the Cougars’ lead to 1-6.

Presley finished the afternoon with three hits, a run, an RBI and a stolen base. He entered the weekend with a .200 batting average, but head coach Rayner Noble said he thinks Presley is starting to find his stride.

"We need Zak to start coming around, and he’s been doing that." Noble said. "He’s been showing signs of being the guy we all know he can be. Hitting is kind of one of those things that comes and goes and, hopefully, his hitting is coming right now. We need that guy."

Presley feels the same way.

"I got off to kind of a slow start, but things are starting to come together at the plate," he said. "The whole team’s been very good offensively, and I think we really carried the team today and did a great job."

After freshman starter Ty Stuckey (1-1) struggled in the fifth inning, allowing five runs on just one hit, the bullpen held the Dons (8-10) to just two more runs to give Houston (12-6) the win. After sophomore Barrett Bruce (3-0) and junior Jimmy Raviele (1-1) pitched three solid innings of relief, sophomore John Touchton entered in the eighth with two runners on base to close the door.

After struggling earlier in the season, Touchton struck out two and allowed just one hit to get the save and wrap up the series win.

"I felt pretty good out there." Touchton said. "My location and my fastball were good and I had my changeup working real good today. That changeup is what really helped me get some crucial outs, especially in the eighth inning with the jam I came into."

Starting the season as the team’s closer, Touchton (1-1, 2 saves) had not been in a save situation since giving up the winning runs to Rice on Feb. 27. However, Noble never hesitated to keep the hard throwing right-hander in the game.

"We were going to stay with him," Noble said. "I had all the confidence that he’d get the job done. He was throwing the ball well."

On Saturday, Houston snapped its four-game win streak with a 6-4 ten-inning loss. San Francisco senior outfielder Kyle Morgan went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and senior pitcher Matt Baugh (2-2) pitched all 10 innings as the Dons beat the Cougars.

Sophomore pitcher Wes Musick (4-0) pitched another gem, allowing just two earned runs on ten hits over eight innings of work. The Cougars beat the Dons 8-3 with the help of Pounds, who went 2-4 with two runs and an RBI.

The Cougars will face off against Lamar (10-7) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cougar Field before they head to East Carolina to start conference play against the Pirates next weekend.

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