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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Baseball

Cougars conquer Classic


UH proved its team has the potential to play with any other school in the nation this weekend as they beat two quality opponents at the Houston College Classic.

Dominant pitching and a resurgent offense powered the Cougars (6-5) past Tennessee and No. 4 Arkansas (11-2), but a lackluster performance against Texas Tech (9-3) cost them a perfect weekend.

“We had a good weekend,” head coach Todd Whitting said. “Winning two out of three is a great weekend in this tournament. I’ve seen a lot of teams come in here and get worn out three times.

“Any time you lose a Sunday game you’re not happy, but overall I thought it was a great weekend for us. The competition here, as always, was really good. It gave me a good idea of where we’re at as a team and I like what I see so far.”

The Cougars used a career performance by Jared Ray and an offensive outburst to beat Tennessee 7-4 in their first game at the Classic.

Ray pitched a seven-inning gem, allowing one run on five hits with a career-high 10 strikeouts and no walks.

“Ray was outstanding,” Whitting said. “He went out and set the tone for us the whole game. That’s as good as I’ve seen Jared Ray.”

Prior to Friday’s game, the UH offense had only produced one run in its last 24 innings. However, thanks to some timely hitting by a reshuffled lineup, the club produced seven runs and 13 hits.

“We were due,” Whitting said. “We have struggled to get two-out hits. The first three runs tonight are what I’m most proud of because we manufactured them.”

UH’s strong play continued on Saturday with a 4-1 win over Arkansas.

Starter Jordan Lewis picked up where Ray left off, delivering six innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out three.

Inserted into the lineup as the designated hitter, Cory Kay showed he has some pop in his bat. He belted a solo home run into the Crawford Boxes in the third inning to put UH up 1-0. Kay went 2-for-3 on the day, with two runs and two RBI.

The weekend was not all high-fives and attaboys as UH dropped its last game of the tournament to the Red Raiders, 10-4.

Starting pitcher Aaron Garza had a rough outing, pitching three innings and allowing four runs on six hits. UH used six pitchers in the game.

The defense also had a disappointing day, posting three errors that directly lead to Red Raider runs.

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