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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Baseball

UH baseball splits weekend series against UTA


Junior catcher Kyle Lovelace was the hero for UH baseball, delivering a walk-off bunt in the Cougars victory Sunday afternoon | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

Junior catcher Kyle Lovelace was the hero for UH baseball, delivering a walk-off bunt in the Cougars victory Sunday afternoon. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

After playing seven of the last eight on the road, Houston baseball returned home and split its four-game weekend series against UT Arlington.

Here is a closer look at each game:

Game one

UH’s ace Robert Gasser took the mound to kick off the weekend, and was once again magnificent.

The junior left-hander mowed down one Maverick hitter after another on his way to pitching 7 2/3 innings of one-run, nine strikeout baseball.

A two-run bottom of the fifth thanks to RBI hits from sophomore infielder Brad Burckel and junior catcher Kyle Lovelace.

Freshman infielder Will Pendergrass went yard in the seventh for his third home run of the year.

The Cougars added an insurance run in the eighth to put UH up 4-1.

After coming out of the bullpen to record the final out of the eight, sophomore Derrick Cherry sealed the deal in the ninth, retiring UTA hitters in order to earn the save and secure the 4-1 Cougar victory.

Gasser picked up his third win on the year.

Games two and three (Doubleheader)

Ryan Hernandez started out game one of Saturday’s doubleheader with a bang.

The junior first baseman blasted three home runs to tie the American Athletic Conference record for most home runs in a single game, as well as become the ninth NCAA Division I player to have three homers in a game this season.

Freshman infielder Luke Almendarez launched his first career collegiate home run in the bottom of the first.

But Hernandez’s six RBI’s, along with Almendarez’s solo shot, were not enough for UH as it was a rough afternoon for the Cougars on the mound.

Sophomore right-hander Blake Schultz got the start for UH and never settled in, allowing seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings pitched.

Although Hernandez’s bat kept the Cougars in the game, the Mavericks never gave up the lead as they tacked five more runs off UH relievers to win 12-7.

UH looked to bounce back in the second game, jumping out 3-0 after n RBI double from junior Steven Rivas, followed by a two-run shot to left by Pendergrass.

But once again, UH pitchers could not keep the UTA bats at bay as the Mavericks plated three runs in the third followed by a run in the sixth, two in the seventh and another in the eighth.

Down 8-5 in the ninth, the Cougars plated two runs and had the tying run on third before Almendarez grounded out to short to end the game with UTA on top 8-7.

Sunday

Kyle Lovelace, known for his stellar play behind the plate, was the hero for UH Sunday afternoon.

Tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 10th, Lovelace laid down a perfectly placed bunt that allowed Burckel to slide past the UTA catcher’s reach and score the winning run.

A huge second inning sparked by Rivas’ team-leading ninth home run gave the Cougars an early 3-2.

UTA tied things up in the eighth and took the lead in the 10th before UH plated two in the bottom of half of the inning, highlighted by Lovlelace’s heroics for a 5-4 walk-off victory.

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