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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


UH tames Tigers with pair of wins

Michael Goodnight gave the Cougars a strong showing Saturday, but his teammates were unable to keep the Tigers at bay, as UH dropped the second game of its series against Memphis. UH took Friday’s opener and Sunday’s finale to ensure a winning weekend. | Newton Liu/The Daily Cougar

This weekend’s Conference USA series at Cougar Field between Memphis and UH was a chaotic one, featuring plenty of mistakes in the field, base running blunders and a rain delay in Sunday’s finale.

When it was all said and done UH took two or three from the Tigers, with the Cougars snagging the opener 10-7 on Friday, the Tigers claiming the second game 8-2 Saturday, and UH winning Sunday’s finale 8-6. The Cougars are now 16-18, with a 4-5 record in C-USA.

“I think it was the team that made the fewest mistakes, and (Friday and Sunday) that was us,” head coach Rayner Noble said of the outcomes.

In Sunday’s game, UH was ahead 3-1 after the fourth inning, but Phillip Chapman hit a two-run homer in the fifth to tie the game just before the showers re-emerged.

The break seemed to serve both squads well, as Memphis put up a run in the top of the sixth, but the Cougars answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame.

The rally was ignited when the Tigers botched a sacrifice bunt by UH’s Ryan Still and Caleb Ramsey followed with a two-run single. William Kankel gave up two runs in the ninth, but Codey Morehouse relieved him to save it for winning pitcher James Conlee.

The first game featured the most fireworks and mistakes, but UH happened to make the fewest of the latter.

The teams committed seven errors combined, with Memphis committing five, including three in the first inning. Two of those first-inning errors resulted in a pair of runs as the Cougars took an early 3-1 lead.

The Tigers regrouped and scored six runs over the next three innings, highlighted by Chapman’s three-run homer off lefty Taylor Hammack.

The Cougars, though, scored five runs over the next three innings including a three-run sixth inning, which featured a two-run triple by Joel Ansley. They were back in front 8-7 after six.

Meanwhile, the Cougars’ bullpen, which has been erratic to say the least, got a strong showing from the trio of Eric Brooks, Chase Dempsay and Matt Creel, who prevented the Tigers from scoring a run from the fifth inning on.

“As up and down as we’ve been, it doesn’t matter how we get into the win column, it’s just a matter of getting into the win column,” Noble said. “Our starting pitching was non-existent again, but you know, you’ve got to hand it to the guys that came out of the bullpen.”

UH made the costly mistakes in the second game, but it wasn’t so much as how many as much as it was when they did it and how they did it.

With the score tied at 2-2 after seven, UH starter Michael Goodnight walked Tyler Huelsing, who moved to second on a sac bunt.

Dempsay relieved him and threw a wild pitch in the dirt that probably should’ve been blocked by catcher M.P. Cokinos, and Huelsing went to third.

Huelsing scored the go-ahead run on a sac fly, and the Tigers then scored five more runs off Creel in the top of the ninth to ice the game.

The Cougars will hit the road to take on non-conference opponent Lamar at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Beaumont.

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