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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Baseball

UH baseball ‘itching’ for success after intrasquad series


Houston baseball first baseman Ryan Hernandez on deck as he prepares to go up to bat during the 2020 Red-White intrasquad series. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

UH baseball first baseman Ryan Hernandez on deck as he prepares to go up to bat during the 2020 red-white intrasquad series. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

Following a 4-0 loss at the hands of team white, junior first baseman Ryan Hernandez, who was on team red during this past weekend’s three-game Houston baseball intrasquad series, was not thrilled with the result.

“I hate to lose, but we’ll be back tomorrow,” Hernandez said after the matchup.

Despite the game essentially being a scrimmage, the first baseman was already in regular-season mode. Even though he was not happy with the outcome, he was delighted with getting a taste of a competitive contest again.

While the Cougars had their season cut short just 15 games in, UH had started off the 2020 campaign with a bit of a rocky stretch, and sat at 6-9 when the year had the plug pulled due to COVID-19.

Now with new additions on the roster and a few subtractions, UH capped off its fall practices, which began towards the middle of September with its traditional red-white series at Schroeder Park.

Despite the 2021 season, which has more question marks than a college final at this point, still being months away, the Cougars like the vibe they have gotten from this new batch of players.

“This team has a lot of team camaraderie,” Hernandez said. “I think this year, more than last, everyone gets along with one another and everyone is starting to play fluidly.”

One of the key reasons for optimism from the UH baseball team is its new additions.

When asked about who stood out, Hernandez and junior outfielder Steven Rivas each listed off different student-athletes, and the one that both made sure to point out was sophomore outfielder Brandon Uhse, who spent his 2020 season at Weatherford College.

Rivas said that the center fielder does a little bit of everything and once he is at the plate, he rakes the ball all over the field.

Everybody should keep their eyes out for him,” Rivas said. “He’s somebody.”

One mission

As for the UH baseball team’s goal, the players aren’t aiming small. They are aiming sky-high once they are able to compete against other teams on the diamond.

“We’ve been itching for this World Series,” said Rivas, who is excited about the team’s potential because of the competition he has seen in their practices. “No one has a set spot right now.”

Not being able to complete last season made the players feel like they had it taken away, and it is just another extra layer of motivation for the Cougars’ next campaign.

“We have a lot of enthusiasm,” Hernandez said. “We play together and we play hard, and we’re going to exemplify that and bring it more this upcoming season.

We’re going to be a serious task on everyone’s schedule.”

The Cougars love to add pressure on themselves, Hernandez said.

While the 2021 schedule is anything but clear, one thing is, the UH baseball team’s end game for the season.

“This year we’re going to go out there and take what is ours, and that is a trip to Omaha,” Rivas said.

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