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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Baseball

Sun sets on UH baseball season


Head coach Todd Whitting's support of his team was unwavering throughout the last game of the season.  |  Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

Head coach Todd Whitting’s support of his team was unwavering throughout the last game of the season. | Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

“Baseball breaks your heart,” wrote the late Commissioner of Major League Baseball, A. Bartlett Giamatti. “It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”

UH lost only 18 times this year, almost as many games as it had won just a handful of years ago. This year they won 48 before falling twice to the University of Texas, who will be going to Omaha for the 35th time in their program’s history, a record for any school.

Falling 4-0 despite a 10-hit today, UH will return home, its season, memorable as it was, over.

“I’m extremely proud of my players and my senior class, especially these two guys (Landon Appling and Chase Wellbrock). They’re the only two that have been with me for four years,” said UH head coach Todd Whitting. “It’s a great day and a sad day — we were so close with getting to the ultimate goal. I want to thank all the folks in Houston, Dr. Khator, Mack Rhoades, all the former players that played for us, all the supporters. You have no idea how many people back in Houston care about this team.”

The team, the Cardiac Coogs, famed for not getting runs until it was absolutely necessary, ran out of gas, according to Whitting.

“Our team played today like we have all year, we never stopped,” Whitting said. “We just couldn’t get that knock.  It just didn’t happen. We ran out of gas.”

“Our team played today like we have all year, we never stopped,” Whitting said. “We just couldn’t get that knock. We couldn’t get that one hit. It just didn’t happen. We ran out of gas. They were out there fighting as hard as as they can go. It’s just as simple as that.”

UT, which won back-to-back by scores of 4-2 and 4-0, relied on its pitchers to handcuff UH batters, preventing that fabled one hit from falling.

“We just didn’t catch any breaks this weekend,” said senior closer Chase Wellbrock.

Concordantly, Longhorn starter Parker French said he was keeping motivated through putting pressure on himself.

“I wasn’t going to let these guys down today. That was the biggest thing. Just pure willpower, pitching for my teammates,” French said.

Head coach Todd Whitting praised his team's seaon in the post-game press conference.  |  Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

Head coach Todd Whitting praised his team’s seaon in the post-game press conference. | Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

UT head coach Augie Garrido was quick to praise the communal mindset of his team.

“The guys are really playing for each other. I keep saying that, and I see it. They’re connected. They rallied, and they gave us a couple extra bases and a couple extra outs. That was critical to take some of the pressure off the mound and off the defense. Just a really, really good team effort,” Garrido said.

UH now heads home, with more wins than any season since 2002 and the knowledge that Chase Wellbrock, Jared West, Aaron Garza, Tyler Ford and Casey Grayson have all been selected in the MLB draft.

“I can’t think of any negatives throughout this whole season and my college career,” said Wellbrock, who was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. “It’s been a great experience playing for Coach Whitting and UH. We just need to keep our heads up.”

Senior outfielder Landon Appling echoed the sentiment on Twitter.

“Cougar Red till I’m dead,” Appling said in a tweet.

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