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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Baseball

Cougars fall hard to in-town foes


M.P. Cokinos was one of may Cougars who struggled at the plate against Rice on Thursday, as UH recorded only one hit against in a 6-0 loss to its in-town rival. | Justin Flores/The Daily Cougar

On Thursday, the Cougars were looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s disappointing loss to Texas-San Antonio and snap a four-game losing streak with a win over Rice.

But a combination of efficient work by Rice starter Taylor Wall and regular doses of situational hitting lifted the Owls to a 6-0 victory, marking their first shutout over UH since a 12-0 walloping in 2007.

The loss gives UH (12-12, 2-2 Conference USA) a two-game losing streak overall and a five-game losing streak to the Owls (15-12, 2-2). The Cougars are also fell to 2-0 in the Silver Glove Series for 2010, and 83-61 all-time against the Owls.

In the first inning, UH starter Michael Goodnight weaseled in and out of what appeared to be a game-deciding jam. With runners on second and first and only one out, Goodnight retired Anthony Rendon and Diego Seastrunk to escape unscathed.

Goodnight, however, would get himself into one too many jams and allowed too many runners on base. In the second inning, runners were on second and first with two outs and Chad Mozingo hit a single in the hole between third and short. Blake Kelso ranged deep in the hole and kept the ball from rolling to left field, but the ball squirted out of his glove and rolled away, scoring Jeremy Rathjen to give Rice a 1-0 lead.

“It just went in the hole, hit off the heel of my glove, and my knee hit it. When I was on my way to pick it up, I saw him turn third, so I picked it up and threw it home. I thought I had him, but it was a close play,” Kelso said.

Rice scored again with one out in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Rathjen, who’s hit plated Rendon and gave Rice a 2-0 lead. The Owls added two more runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Ratterree and a sac fly to go up 4-0.

Goodnight only went 3.1 innings and was fortunate to only allow three earned runs, considering he gave up seven hits and five walks.

The Cougars’ offense had just as many problems against Wall. After Joel Ansley hit a single in the first inning, the Cougars were no-hit the rest of the way. The Cougars had only four runners reach base after the first inning, via two errors and two walks.

Wall at one point retired nine consecutive batters, and went the whole nine for a one-hit shutout, recording seven strikeouts.

“He was getting ahead with his fastball, and spotting it up pretty good first pitch and we weren’t hitting it,” Kelso said. “He was getting the low calls — just pitchers’ pitches, and that’s the way it is.

The Owls scored one run in the sixth and one in the seventh for good measure.

The Cougars will try to bounce back with two more games against Rice at 6:30 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday at Reckling Park.

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