Weekend recap: Baseball, softball earn wins in first conference series
It was another busy weekend for Cougar athletics as six different teams were in action, including two conference matchups and an upset of a ranked team.
After dropping the first two games of the weekend to the No. 19 East Carolina University Pirates, the Cougars rebounded with a win to split their first series of American Athletic Conference play 1-2.
Sophomore pitcher Seth Romero suffered his first loss of the season, surrendering five runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings in Saturday’s 5-1 loss. The Cougar offense couldn’t get anything done against ECU starter Jimmy Boyd, who gave up only one run on six hits in 8.2 innings.
The Cougars, who are 17-10 on the season, were able to get the offense back on track Sunday morning, totaling six runs on 10 hits in the 6-1 victory. Senior infielder Josh Vidales led the way, going 2-3 with three RBI while freshman pitcher Mitch Ullom was lights out, giving up one run on seven hits in 7.1 innings and striking out four.
Also playing on the East Coast was the women’s tennis team, who fell 4-2 to ECU on Saturday. The Pirates got off to an early lead after the Cougars were forced to play with only five players.
Sophomore Mina Markovic scored the first point of the day for the Cougars, winning her singles match 6-3, 3-2, 6-2, her second of the weekend after a victory against the College of William & Mary.
Senior Rocio Martin gained the only other point for the Cougars, securing her 11th victory of the season, battling through a pair of tiebreakers, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).
The No. 32 Cougars competed in the 3M Augusta Invitational in Augusta, Georgia, finishing in a tie for seventh after picking up three spots in Sunday’s final round. Sophomore Michael Perras and senior Vincent Martino led the way for Houston, shooting -1 under par and tying for 20th overall.
After shooting -3 on Saturday, redshirt freshman Logan Davis faltered on Sunday, shooting an +8 round to finish tied for 38th. Senior Blair Hamilton (225-T53) and redshirt sophomore Papito Gonzalez (229-T64) closed out for the Cougars.
The No. 29 women’s golf team traveled to South Carolina for the Clemson Invitational, finishing with a +19 total for sixth place, 22 strokes behind winner No. 8 Florida.
Sophomore Yuka Kajiki led the way for the Cougars, shooting a +1 to finish in eleventh after gaining 15 spots on Sunday with a -3 round of 69. Three different Cougars finished at +7 as senior Raegan Bremer, freshman Leonie Harm and sophomore Megan Thothong all tied for 31st overall.
Junior Emily Gilbreth secured the fifth slot for the Cougars, finishing tied for 53rd with a +12 total for the tournament.
After falling to the first place University of South Florida Bulls 4-0 on Friday night, the Cougars responded by splitting the remaining games, dropping 6-2 on Saturday and winning 5-2 on Sunday afternoon.
The Cougars (17-18, 2-4) handed the Bulls their tenth loss of the season and first in AAC play. Freshman Savannah Heebner and junior Shelby Miller combined to hold USF to two runs on five hits, with Miller only giving up one hit in four innings of relief.
Senior Katie St. Pierre continued her impressive season, going 5-9 from the plate with two runs scored over the two games. She also picked up her 60th career stolen base, one shy of the school record, and has now reached base safely in 36 straight games, a count dating back to last season.
Track and field
The Cougars put on an impressive performance at the Texas Relays in Austin, with the longest standing record in the program falling Friday night. Junior Brian Barraza broke the school record in the 10,000-meter with a time of 29:04.11, beating the 29:36.40 set by Olympic medalist and Cougar great Al Lawrence in 1960.
The momentum would continue Saturday for the Cougars, as the fifth ranked 4×100-meter relay team ran a 39.31s, moving them No. 4 nationally. Senior Issac Williams ran a 13.67s in the 110-meter hurdles, the second fastest time in the nation, and freshman Marcus McWilliams was just behind him with a 13.78.