UH baseball drops two out of three to No. 19 Texas in weekend series
From a complete game, 14-strikeout shutout to a walk-off home run, the Houston-Texas three-game series at Schroeder Park, in which the 19th ranked Longhorns took two out of the three games, had everything a baseball fan could ask for.
Here is a closer look at how each game went down:
Coming into the weekend, UH baseball head coach Todd Whitting said that the series would have a Super Regional feel to it and the opener Friday night certainly lived up to the hype.
Junior left-hander Robert Gasser took the mound for the Cougars and mowed down Longhorn hitters one by one, allowing only four hits while striking out five over seven shutout innings.
“I thought (Gasser) pitched outstanding,” Whitting told reporters after the game. “If he gives us a chance to win like that every Friday night we’re going to win a bunch of games once we get the bats going a little bit.”
But the night belonged to Texas’ Ty Madden. The sophomore right-hander showed why he was ranked the No. 3 overall 2021 MLB prospect by D1baseball.com, throwing a complete game, 14 strikeout shutout.
The game’s lone run came in the top of the eighth inning when sophomore reliever Derrick Cherry walked the bases loaded to bring home Texas’ Trey Faltine, leading to a 1-0 Longhorn victory.
Senior outfielder Tyler Bielamowicz stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the 11th of a tied game. That changed in the blink of an eye as Bielamowicz hit a 0-1 curveball over the left-field wall to walk it off for the Cougars and even the series at one game apiece.
“As soon as I hit it I thought I got it but with the wind, I didn’t know,” Bielamowicz said after the game. “As soon as I saw it go over (the left-field wall) running around first base everything just went blank.”
Like game one, runs came at a premium as both starters pitched well. Sophomore right-hander Ben Sears pitching 5 and 1/3 innings allowing two runs and striking out six for UH while Texas starter Tristan Stevens pitching 5 and 2/3 innings of two-run baseball.
Junior catcher Kyle Lovelace, who drew praise for his excellent defense behind the plate all weekend, got things going for the Cougars offense with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the second to break UH’s 19 and 1/3 inning scoring drought.
Texas responded with one run in both the fifth and sixth inning to take a 2-1 lead, but UH immediately tied things back up in the bottom of the sixth thanks to freshman infielder Will Pendergrass’ RBI triple.
Neither team would cross home plate again until Bielamowicz ended things with his solo home run in the bottom of the 11th to deliver a 3-2 UH victory.
A costly first-inning error combined with 10 walks from the UH pitching staff plagued the Cougars in the series finale, falling 8-2 to the Longhorns.
Sophomore left-hander Cameron Prayer started the game for the Cougars coming off short rest after pitching 4 and 2/3 innings in UH’s loss to Lamar Wednesday night. Prayer struggled to find his command, walking four Texas hitters, which combined with a fielding error by sophomore second baseman Brad Burckel led to Prayer being pulled only 2/3 of an inning into Sunday’s game.
The Cougars clawed into the Longhorns 4-0 lead, scoring a run in both the second and third innings to cut their deficit in half.
Texas blew the game open in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs, and added another run in the top of the ninth to cruise to an 8-2 victory over UH to win the series.
Kolby Kubichek earned the win for the Longhorns while Prayer took the loss for the Cougars.
After the game, Whitting talked about his overall takeaways from the weekend and how the 7-4 Cougars can bounce back from the tough loss.
“We had an opportunity to have a nationally ranked opponent here and get some signature wins and we just let that one getaway today,” Whitting said. “The season goes one week at a time for me. We just got to turn the page on this week. Next week we got two quality opponents coming up.”