Cougars open season with win over No. 13 Minnesota
It was an explosive one-sided game Friday night as the No.3 Houston Cougars opened their season with a 9-1, 10-hit victory against the No. 13 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The pace was fast early on at Cougar Field as junior catcher Ian Rice hit a two-run home run to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead at the bottom of the first.
“I was just looking for something to drive,” Rice said about his mindset at the plate. “Wasn’t trying anything too much to shorten up, just hit something in the middle of the field.”
In addition to Rice, junior designated hitter Chris Iriart and sophomore third baseman Connor Hollis both had two-hits with Hollis getting an unearned score at the bottom of the fourth and Iriart putting up a home run in the bottom of the fifth. Minnesota’s pitching staff struggled with the Cougars offense for the rest of the game.
Rice and Iriart weren’t the only ones to belt a home run against Minnesota as freshman shortstop Connor Wong went 3-4 at the plate with three RBI off of a double and a two-RBI home run.
Sophomore starting pitcher Andrew Lantrip earned the first win of the season as he struck out five batters through five innings and allowed only one hit. Lantrip’s reliever, junior Kyle Dowdy, surrendered only three hits and a walk during his three-inning tenure. Junior transfer Austin Moore pitched for the game’s final inning and allowed the Gophers’ only run of the game, denying the Cougars their first-game shutout.
“It’s hard not to give up runs (the relievers) did really good job pitching around,” head coach Todd Whitting said. “I’m really proud of the way they got out of that hole (in the ninth inning).”
The Cougars face the Gophers for game two of the weekend series Saturday at 6:30 p.m. back out on Cougar field and look to continue to play strong with the momentum of Friday’s win.