Cougars lose AAC Championship to Huskies
The Houston Cougars momentous tournament run came to an end by way of a 7-2 defeat from the University of Connecticut Huskies in the conference championship on Sunday.
The Cougars fell behind early and struggled to find any momentum in the championship game.
Junior right-handed pitcher Andrew Lantrip started the game for the Cougars, but his start was cut short due to a 63 minute weather delay. Lantrip pitched the first three innings, however did not return when the game resumed in the fourth inning.
Lantrip struggled in his three innings, allowing four hits, including a two-run home run to UConn first baseman Bobby Melley in the second inning.
The Huskies junior starting pitcher Anthony Kay showed why he is projected to be a top pick in this summer’s Major League Baseball Draft. The left-hander was not phased by the lengthy weather delay and managed to return to the game following it.
Kay was able to pitch six innings in which he allowed just six hits and two runs. Despite recording just five strikeouts, the junior dazzled with his curveball and kept Cougar hitters from making solid contact.
Following his performance, Kay was named “Most Outstanding Player” of the 2016 All-Tournament Team.
Upon returning from the weather delay, Huskie utility man Tyler Gnesda immediately hit a ball to left field that plated a run, extending the early UConn advantage to 3-0.
A bright spot for the Cougars came in the sixth inning when freshman first baseman Joe Davis hit his third home run of the tournament and his 14th of the season. The solo blast extended Davis’ freshman single-season home run school record and cut the Huskie lead to 3-1.
Missed opportunities were the theme of the Cougars’ afternoon as they went just 1-11 with runners in scoring position.
Both teams were able to score a run in the seventh inning which kept the Cougars in striking distance heading into the late innings.
However, the Huskie lineup added three additional runs in the top half of the ninth inning by of a Jack Sundberg RBI single, a Willy Yahn RBI triple and another RBI by Melley.
The victory seals an automatic bid for the Huskies giving them their fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last seven years.
Houston will now play the waiting game as the NCAA selection committee will fill out the rest of the NCAA Tournament’s field of 64 on Monday morning. The selections will be made at 11 a.m. and revealed to a national television audience on ESPNU.