Bullpen implodes in loss to UTSA
Sometimes, it’s the little things that decide a game.
The Cougars got a little help early in Tuesday’s game against Texas-San Antonio, but let it all go to waste en route to dropping a 6-5 decision at Cougar Field.
Trailing 3-0, the Cougars (12-11) received an extra out in the third inning via a dropped fly ball and turned it into two runs.
UH added two in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead and looked well on its way to carrying that momentum deep into the game.
The Cougars’ relief staff held onto the slim lead until the ninth inning, when the Roadrunners (10-13) scored three runs on a rally started by a botched third strike.
“The relief pitching just wasn’t there in the ninth and sometimes it can be that way,” head coach Rayner Noble said.
James Conlee made his second start of the season for UH and was effective the first two innings. But a two-run homer by UTSA’s Ryan Rummel contributed to a three-run third inning.
The Cougars, down three with two outs in the bottom of the third, had only three runners reach base to that point against UTSA soft-throwing lefthander Justin Martinez.
UH’s Zac Presley walked on four straight balls to extend the inning and stole second with M.P. Cokinos at the plate. Cokinos hit a routine fly ball to right-center, where UTSA centerfielder Daniel Rockett tracked it down.
Rockett, however, dropped the ball, and Presley scored from second.
The Cougars scored two in the third and two more in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead.
Strong relief work preserved the that advantage until the top of the ninth when Matt Creel came in to close it out.
Creel struck out UTSA leadoff hitter Jake Wood on a 1-2 pitch, but the ball got away from Cokinos, who was catching, and Wood reached first base.
Pinch runner Eric Johnston advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jeff Taliaferro and scored on Casey Selsor’s single to tie the game at 4. The Roadrunners added two more runs on a single by Tyler Carpenter and a force out.
The Cougars scored a run in the bottom of the ninth and had runners at first and second with two outs, but UTSA reliever Kevin Clark struck out pinch hitter Joel Ansley to end the game.
“I thought, for the most part, that we bounced back, and guys went out there and pitched well,” Noble said. “We just made poor pitches in critical situations. That was the thing tonight.”
UH will return to action when it resumes the Silver Glove Series against in-town rival Rice at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Reckling Park.