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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Baseball

UH baseball season ends in a loss to ECU in AAC tournament title game


Ben Sears retired all eight batters he faced in UH baseball's loss to ECU in the AAC tournament championship game. | Courtesy of American Athletic Conference/Mary Holt

Ben Sears retired all eight batters he faced in UH baseball’s loss to ECU in the AAC tournament championship game. | Courtesy of American Athletic Conference/Mary Holt

East Carolina showed why it was the American Athletic Conference’s top seed on Sunday afternoon in Clearwater, Florida, winning its 18th straight to win the conference tournament title 6-1 over UH baseball, ending the Cougars’ season.

“They fought all the way to the last pitch,” said UH baseball head coach Todd Whitting after the game. “It’s disappointing cause that’s one of those teams where you think it’s going to work out for them just with the magic we’ve had here the last week and we’ve had throughout the season.”

ECU freshman standout Jacob Jenkins-Cowart provided the first punch with a three-run opposite field homer off of UH junior right-hander Logan Clayton in the first inning. This was the third straight game in the conference tournament that Jenkins-Cowart went deep.

Jenkins-Cowart picked up his fourth RBI of the afternoon in the third inning on a single up the middle. Later in the inning, the Pirates’ other Jacob, second baseman Jacob Starling, doubled to drive in a pair of runs and increase the ECU lead to 6-0.

Junior relievers Maddux Miller and Ben Sears did all that they could to keep UH in the game, throwing a combined 5 1/3 shutout innings, striking out eight Pirates. But it the six run deficit proved to be too much as the Cougar bats, which entered the game red hot with 35 runs on 55 hits in the tournament, went cold when it mattered most.

Freshman left fielder Cameron Nickens was one of the few bright spots for the Cougars, going 3-for-3 including driving in UH’s only run of the game on an RBI single in the seventh.

UH finished its 2022 campaign at 37-24, an 18-win improvement from a season ago.

“The future’s bright at the University of Houston,” Whiting said when looking forward to the future of the program.

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