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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Baseball

Cougars’ bats guide team to Classic wins


The Cougars, including freshman designed hitter Kyle Kirk, crossed the plate 23 times at the Astros Foundation Classic. The baseball team went 2-1, defeating Baylor and Texas A&M.  | Esteban Portillo/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars, including freshman designed hitter Kyle Kirk, crossed the plate 23 times at the Astros Foundation Classic. The baseball team went 2-1, defeating Baylor and Texas A&M. | Esteban Portillo/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars looked like a new baseball team as they slugged, fielded and threw their way to a 2-1 showing during the Astros Foundation College Classic this weekend.

Over a span of three games, the Cougars scored 23 runs and were able to defeat two respected programs.

“I feel good about the weekend. I’m happy with where the ball club is at,” said head coach Todd Whitting.

The Cougars overpowered Texas A&M and Baylor before falling to the University of California-Berkeley. In the process, they scored 23 runs with 41 hits and collected 20 walks with 14 coming in the game against the Aggies on Saturday.

Junior infielder Frankie Ratcliff set a College Classic record with four walks in the seven-inning game against Baylor.

“I had the same approach going up to the plate to not try and do anything special and just get the next guy up,” Ratcliff said. “(If you are) able to foul balls off and attack pitches in the zone, the rest will fall into place.”

The highlight of the Baylor game was UH’s statistical curiosity, scoring 15 runs on only 6 hits. One hit from junior infielder Jonathan Davis was good for four of those runs as he socked his first career grand slam into the left field Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park.

“I went up there with the approach of just trying to get the guy in,” Davis said. “I was looking for something to hit, and the guy threw me a 3-1 fastball. I was able to put a good swing on it.”

Cougar pitching and defense was solid for most of the Classic. Junior catcher Caleb Barker threw out two runners over the course of the Classic and junior outfielder Landon Appling made several good defensive plays throughout all three games.

Cougar pitching shown with timely performances by senior Austin Pruitt who got his third win of the season while keeping his ERA at 1.71 in his win against Baylor on Saturday. Junior right-hander Chase Wellbrock held a high-powered Aggie offense to only one run over four innings of long relief Friday.

The Cougars are back home this week for a series against Penn State starting 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cougar Field.

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