College Classic showed weak points in Cougars game
The Cougars entered the 2016 Shriner’s Hospital for Children College Classic tournament last weekend looking to improve their 4-0 record, but the team struggled in each of its three matchups.
The Cougars went 0-3, losing games to nationally ranked Texas Tech University Red Raiders, the University of Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs.
On Friday night, Houston dropped a hard-fought battle to the No. 23 ranked Texas Tech.
Star pitcher junior Andrew Lantrip gave an outstanding effort, but in the end suffered his first loss of the season.
The Cougars tied a tournament record when they stole six bases in the game.
Despite the hustle on display, the team was not able to score runs late and fell by a score of 3-2.
Saturday and Sunday afternoons were different stories for the Cougars as they were outscored by a combined 22-4.
Saturday afternoon, the team faced off against the No. 18 Arkansas Razorbacks.
Things looked promising for Houston when it took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.
The star-studded Razorback lineup then rattled off nine unanswered runs thanks in part to Michael Bernal, who hit two homeruns in the rout.
After the dust settled, the Cougars found themselves on the short end of a 12-3 final score against the Razorbacks.
Sunday’s tilt against the No. 13 Horned Frogs went much like Saturday.
The Cougars struggled to get runners on base and failed to drive them in when they did. TCU jumped out to a 5-0 lead and did not look back as they wound down the Cougars 10-1.
The Cougars Achilles’ heel in their tournament losses was leaving runners on base.
They faced tough pitchers and would have liked to capitalize more frequently on the times they were able to get hits on them.
“When you’ve got situations early in the game where the table is set, somebody has got to come to the table and eat,” head coach Todd Whitting said. “I thought we played tight for whatever reason.”
Even with their struggles, the Cougars still have multiple players who are excelling this season.
Freshman Joe Davis is putting up outstanding numbers so far.
After adding a 4-4 performance on Saturday to his resume, Davis elevated his batting average to a solid .538. The freshman is making his hits count as he also leads the team with 13 RBI.
Sophomore outfielder Zac Taylor is wreaking havoc on the base paths. Taylor is perfect at 7-7 in stolen bases this year, and opposing pitchers are taking notice anytime he’s standing on first base.
The tournament came as a disappointment for the Cougars who won the first four games of the season. Fueled by a high-powered offense in the first week of the season, the team struggled mightily, hitting just .222 with 33 strikeouts in their three losses.
“It was a tough weekend, but we will be fine,” Whitting said. “This tourney can expose you a little bit, and we got exposed.”
The Cougars look to get their season back on track this weekend when they open a three-game set against the Baylor University Bears at Darryl and Lori Schroeder Park.