Cougars cut down Lumberjacks
After being swept in a three-game series at No. 1 Arizona State to end their eight-game west-coast road trip, the Cougars could’ve used a breather.
UH took Monday off before going back to work Tuesday against Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches. From the second inning on, the Cougars had little to worry about, cruising to a 10-3 win.
In the first game of a home-and-home series, both clubs scored a run in the first inning. In the second inning, UH (10-9) put up seven runs, and the Lumberjacks (13-6) found themselves in too deep of a hole.
“Our guys came out prepared to play, and we swung the bats well,” UH head coach Rayner Noble said. “Mo Wiley pitched pretty good and held them down to a couple of runs and gave us five hard innings. Chase Dempsay gave us a couple of good innings (in relief), so it was a good day for us.
“I was a little worried about today and tomorrow. But today we didn’t play like we had jet lag, and hopefully we can get ourselves together to get after it again tomorrow.”
The Cougar’ offensive outburst in the second inning left little doubt as to the outcome. UH scored seven runs in meticulous fashion, registering six singles and drawing two walks.
Austin Gracey and Chris Wallace led off the frame with hits. Gracey scored on a single by Travis Trial to give UH a 2-1 lead. Back-to-back walks extended the lead to 3-1 with nobody out.
Joel Ansley followed with the biggest single of the inning, driving in Blake Kelso and Trial to push the Cougars ahead, 5-1. After batting around and adding three runs, UH held a commanding 8-1 advantage.
The Cougars added single runs in the third and eighth frames. Stephen F. Austin scored once in the sixth and ninth, respectively, but it was too little, too late.
“Their pitcher was falling behind in the count and kind of left pitches in there for us, and we did a good job of lacing them, and scored seven runs,” Noble said of the big second inning. “That’s very hard to overcome, when you give up a seven-run inning.”
With the win, the Cougars improved to 36-11 all-time against the Lumberjacks.
The Cougars will have the chance for a season sweep of SFA when they return to Cougar Field for a 6:30 p.m. game today.