Cougars advance as freshman dominates
Needing a dominant outing to keep the Cougar’s postseason hopes alive, first year pitcher Trey Cumbie delivered a statement performance on Tuesday afternoon in a 9-1 win for UH.
The Cougars advanced to the second round of the American Athletic Conference Championship by upsetting the No. 4 seeded University of Cincinnati Bearcats in Clearwater, Florida.
The freshman left-handed pitcher looked poised from the first pitch he threw, despite being in just his first career tournament game. Working both sides of the plate, Cumbie confused Cincinnati hitters all afternoon en route to recording nine strikeouts.
Cumbie worked seven innings, in which he surrendered just five hits. The Bearcats struggled to make contact, managing just one run on the freshman by way of a Ryan Noda home run in the fifth inning.
Tallying nine runs, the Cougar offense took the pressure off of their pitcher allowing him to operate without the stresses of a close game.
Leading the way was reliable sophomore catcher Connor Wong, who recorded two hits and scored two runs to help the Cougar cause. Wong’s third inning single drove in a run that got the scoring started for the Cougars early in the game.
Sophomore infielder Connor Hollis played a pivotal part in securing the Cougar victory by recording three RBI in his two at bats. In a rather unusual play, Hollis earned two of his RBI on a squeeze play that scored both Corey Julks and Wong.
Senior infielder Josh Vidales left his mark on Cougar baseball history by taking his 133rd walk of the year, a new single season record for the school.
After the Bearcats loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning, head coach Todd Whitting called on dependable closer Nick Hernandez.
Hernandez shut down the Cincinnati threat in the eighth inning and went on to close the game out in the ninth inning. In just one and one-third innings, Hernandez managed to strike out four batters and secured the victory for the Cougars.
The Cougars will now prepare to play the winner of Tulane University and the University of Central Florida. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday from Bright House Field in Florida.