Houston rises after win over Cincinnati
The Cougars defeated the Bearcats over the weekend to improve to 8-7 in the American Athletic Conference and take third place.
Houston’s last inning on the first day fell short as the team’s rally was quieted for a 3-2 loss.
The pitchers kept everyone off the board for the first four innings but struggled to get strikeouts, and the fielders had to work for the outs.
Junior Lael Lockhart Jr. did not have a perfect night, but he kept Cincinnati from scoring for four innings despite five hits and a walk.
The dam broke in the fifth, and Cincinnati made Lockhart Jr. pay for the hits allowed with a three-run home run.
Junior RHP Devon Roedahl kept the lead to a minimum as he retired the last 11 batters he faced.
Houston rallied back in the sixth off of three singles by freshman infielder Brad Burckel, sophomore catcher Kyle Lovelace and junior infielder Jared Triolo, who delivered Burckel to make it 3-1.
Houston also rallied in the bottom of the ninth with a one-out bases loaded. Freshman Derrick Cherry made it a 3-2 game with a RBI single, but that was it for Houston.
Junior infielder Kobe Hyland played a great defensive game alongside Roedahl in the last couple of innings.
UH led early after senior Rey Fuentes III doubled for the first run of the game. Cherry put another run on the board for the Cougars with a single to left field, and an error by Cincinnati that ran Fuentes home put Houston up 2-0.
After it led off with a single and a stolen base, the Bearcats took advantage of a walk to make the game 2-1.
Things heated up in the seventh after UC put two runners in scoring position. A line drive out dashed Cincinnati’s hope, and both potential scorers were left stranded.
Houston found itself in a similar position in the eighth with the bases loaded and walked away with only one run for insurance. The Cougars did not need it, as Villarreal closed the door and earned his ninth save of the year.
The teams closed out the series Saturday in a high-hitting contest, as the teams combined for 19 hits.
Houston loaded the bases with three walks but had two outs. The situation did not faze Triolo, and he singled down the left field line to make it 2-0 in the second inning.
Both teams embraced small ball and scored a pair of runs each to make it 4-2 at the end of the fourth.
The Cougars poured on another three runs in the sixth and one in the seventh after a few hits and some smart plays by the base runners to bait throws and steal home.
Cincinnati rallied back and had the tying run in the batter’s box, but a pair of fly outs ended the game and the Cougars won 8-4.
Houston now has the same conference record as Cincinnati but is ahead due to tiebreaker rules.
Next for Houston is the conclusion of the Don Sanders Cup series against Sam Houston at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.