Lumberjacks chop Cougars
When Cougars right-hander Mo Wiley took the ball and stood atop the pitcher’s mound before Tuesday’s matchup with the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, he figured that would be the only climbing he and the Cougars would see that evening.
Instead, the Cougars (17-22) faced the daunting task of climbing a bigger hill – an early six-run deficit after two innings. UH didn’t win their game of catch up, dropping an 11-7 decision to SFA.
The Lumberjacks (15-23) exploded for 17 hits – eight coming off Wiley – and took advantage of the Cougars’ sloppy defensive play to steal their first victory ever at Cougar Field.
Wiley (2-3) gave up a leadoff home run to Lumberjacks center fielder Zach Gardner in the first and surrendered five more runs in the second before his night was finished.
‘Not a good performance by Mo tonight,’ UH head coach Rayner Noble said. ‘They’re not a bad team, hitting wise. You have to pitch down in the zone when the wind is blowing out, and he didn’t do that.’
With one out in the top of the second, Lumberjacks right fielder Bo Coffman reached base on an error and was brought home on Joe Staley’s single to make it 2-0 SFA. Gardner upped the Lumberjacks’ lead to 3-0 when he laced a triple into right-center that plated Coffman. Tanner Hines followed with a single that brought in Coffman.
Designated hitter Sean Meyers increased SFA’s advantage to 6-0 when he hit a monstrous two-run shot to right-center. Wiley escaped further damage by striking out Justin Long to end the inning and his night.
Wiley, who has lost his last two starts, said he was not pleased with his performance and felt like he let his teammates down.
‘I just didn’t locate my pitches well enough,’ Wiley said. ‘It’s difficult seeing our team put up some runs and me not going out and shutting them down like I know I’m capable of.’
Cougars reliever Chris Wright came on in the third and was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise horrendous pitching performance. He gave up only two runs in 4 1/3 innings before Jimmy Raviele replaced him.
‘ UH finally got on the board in the fifth when Zak Presley and Blake Kelso led off with back-to-back singles. Both moved to second and third, respectively, on a wild pitch. Caleb Ramsey then hit a sacrifice fly that brought home Presley and cut the Cougars’ deficit to 6-1. Matt Murphy followed with a single that plated Kelso and made it 6-2.
The Lumberjacks punished the Cougars’ bullpen for three runs in the final two innings to put the game out of reach. The Cougars tacked on another run in the sixth and two in the eighth and ninth, respectively, but the pitching problems continually set back UH’s comeback attempt.
‘We tried to battle back and it seemed like every time that we got something started, another thing would go wrong,’ first baseman Ty Stuckey said.
The Cougars will try to bounce back when they host Lamar at 6:30 p.m. today at Cougar Field.