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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Baseball

Cougars drop fifth consecutive game


Second baseman Ryan Still, second from left, and the Cougars saw their losing streak extended to five games after losing to Sam Houston State 5-3 on Tuesday in Huntsville. | Daily Cougar file photo

Tuesday’s game between UH and Sam Houston State featured two struggling pitching staffs.

Yet, what occurred was a low-scoring affair that Sam Houston won 5-3 at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville.

The Cougars (16-23) received solid efforts out of their pitchers, but they were outworked by SHSU (17-25). UH, which defeated the Bearkats 4-2 in the teams’ earlier meeting April 6. extended its losing streak to a season-high five games and suffered its sixth defeat in the last seven games.

While five runs allowed by the Cougars’ pitchers is an improvement on how the staff had previously been doing performing, head coach Rayner Noble said it still represents their problems.

“We really didn’t pitch the ball very well tonight; we had too many pitches up in the zone,” Noble said. “The difference in the game was they kept the ball down, and we didn’t.”

Mo Wiley made his fifth start of the season and went 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and one walk.

Taylor Hammack, who’s been struggling of late, allowed two runs in two innings of relief and was charged with the loss.

“He’s just having trouble locating his pitches, and that’s the bottom line with him,” Noble said. “You know he had a couple of hitters on the ropes and just couldn’t make the pitch when he needed to make it.

“That’s kind of been the story the last several weeks.”

Barry Laird made an appearance and allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings.

“Our pitching was just very average, which is the way it’s been for the last month,” Noble said. “I don’t think Sam Houston State is a really good hitting team, and the pitches that we gave them, anybody could’ve hit them.

“Our guys have just got to start understanding what a good pitch is and what a bad pitch is, and we still haven’t understood that.”

Meanwhile, SHSU’s trio of Justin Jackson, Brent Powers and Paul Spinn, in particular, did their job.

Jackson entered with the best resume of the three with a 1-3 record and a 4.38 ERA in six starts. He went three innings and allowed two runs, with one scoring on a balk.

Spinn, who started the day with a 1-5 record and a 6.57 ERA in seven starts, allowed one run on six hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings of relief.

The Cougars made things interesting by placing runners at second and third with one out in the top of the ninth while trailing by two. But Powers retired the next two batters to end the threat.

“We went up against two of their better pitchers that were weekend starters for them, and they pitched like weekend starters,” Noble said. “They did a good job.

“We had an opportunity for a couple of guys to be difference makers at the end of the game, and they didn’t do it. We had a chance to get back in the game and we didn’t.”

The Cougars will have another rematch when face Lamar at 6:30 p.m. today at Cougar Field. The Cardinals used a walk-off home run to beat the Cougars 7-6 on April 21 in Beaumont.

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