Younger players fuel early wins
Sophomore pitcher Aaron Garza and freshman pitcher Jake Lemoine combined to hold Sam Houston State to three runs. Cougar bats roared to life in the top of the ninth to break the 3-3 tie and win the night at 6-3. Lemoine’s relief appearance enabled him to get his first collegiate win.
The two pitchers gave up eight hits and only two earned runs against four strikeouts over the course of the game, which helped to keep the team ERA at 3.00. Garza issued two walks in his six innings of work. The solid pitching performance helped UH to its fourth win of the season.
“I’m really proud of the guys tonight,” said head coach Todd Whitting. “This was a big win for us as it was the first time to be on the road (with UH) for a lot of these players.”
Several of the younger players, including five freshmen, contributed to the outpouring of runs. Freshmen Kyle Survance and Kyle Kirk led the hitters with two hits apiece, while they teamed with freshman first baseman Justin Montemayor and redshirt sophomore Chris Waylock to drive in one run each.
Junior catcher Caleb Barker extended his streak of games with an RBI to four, as he went 1-4 in the game. It was Berker’s fifth hit and fourth RBI of the season. Redshirt freshman outfielder Ashford Fulmer and junior outfielder Jonathan Davis also contributed with RBIs.
“We competed really well,” Whitting said. “That was my challenge to the team tonight. We competed from the time the game started to the last pitch was thrown. There were plenty of times to shut down, but they kept grinding and that is championship baseball.”
The defense did more than its share to back up the pitchers. Junior outfielder Landon Appling helped assist in a double play that erased a Bearkat runner. Junior shortstop Frankie Ratcliff showed his fielding skills with a snag of a hard-hit ball up the middle. Both plays occurred after Lemoine came in relief in the seventh inning.
The Cougars will stay on the road from Friday to the Sunday with a three-game series in San Marcos versus Texas State. UH will return to Cougar Field on Tuesday to face Houston Baptist University.