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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Baseball

UH needs to get it together


The Cougars stranded 37 runners this weekend when they were swept by UCF. The Knights outscored the Cougars 20-5 over the three-game series. The Cougars face second-place East Carolina this weekend.  |  Hendrick Rosemond/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars stranded 37 runners this weekend when they were swept by UCF. The Knights outscored the Cougars 20-5 over the three-game series. The Cougars face second-place East Carolina this weekend. | Hendrick Rosemond/The Daily Cougar

Halfway through the regular season and two series into the conference schedule, the Cougars’ season is on the brink of taking a steep downward spiral.

The Cougars (10-16, 1-5 Conference USA) have lost four consecutive games and six of their last seven. They’ve stumbled out of the C-USA blocks and find themselves at the conference cellar dwellers.

But the mounting losses are not because of a lack of effort or will from the Cougars; it could be more because of the arduous schedule they’ve had to play.

Through the team’s first 26 games, they have played 10 games against teams previously or currently ranked in the top 25 (No. 4 Arkansas , No. 5 Rice, No. 14 Ole Miss., No. 17 Central Florida, No. 21 Baylor and No. 24 Texas Tech).

Six more games have come against top-50 teams Oklahoma State and Texas State and three more against perennial C-USA power Southern Miss.

Also factoring in to the sub-par record is the performance, or lack of it, on the field. Head coach Todd Whitting said that the team has been inconsistent in two facets of the game — fielding and hitting.

Though they show occasional flashes of brilliance on all sides of the diamond, the Cougars just can’t manage to consistently play games where all parts gel together.

When they get a great performance from one of their starting pitchers, it goes by the wayside because the offense can’t string hits together or get the timely one to plate a few runners. And the same goes for the offense and defense.

In nine games this season, the Cougars have stranded double-digit runners.

The only thing consistent about the Cougars’ season has been their inconsistency.

The biggest problem that has plagued the team this season is errors. The defense has given up a league-leading 48 errors, nine more than any other team in conference. Their .952 fielding percentage is also 242nd out of 291 teams that play division-I baseball.

The good news for the team is if they can manage to climb up the conference standings and finish the season on a tear, their RPI and strength of schedule is good enough to earn them a bid to postseason play. They do invite 64 teams to the tournament, after all.

There is still a lot of time left in the season for the Cougars to fix things before the wheels fall off their wagon, but the clock is ticking.

The second half of their season gets underway at 6:30 p.m. as they take on McNeese St. at Cougar Field.

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