UH baseball wins series, finishes second in AAC
UH Baseball concluded its regular season schedule with a 2-1 record in a three-game home series against Cincinnati.
However, with East Carolina University sweeping its final series of the season, Houston came up a half-game short of the American Athletic Conference regular season title.
Thursday’s series opener saw a high-scoring affair for both teams, with Cincinnati taking the series opener 12-7.
A solo home run from Cincinnati in the second inning proved to be the lone score for either squad for nearly the first half of the game, until the Bearcats scored two more runs in the top of the fifth inning to lead 3-0.
The Cougars responded in the bottom of the fifth, with a left-center double from junior utility player Justin Murray and a center-field single from sophomore outfielder Cameron Nickens bringing a total of three runs home for UH.
Despite tying the game in the fifth inning, the Cougars fell behind once again in the sixth – this time by a much higher margin, as the Bearcats would score six runs in the inning.
In the seventh inning, Cincinnati scored two more runs, bringing its lead to a commanding 11-3 scoreline. Another single from Nickens brought a single run home in the bottom of the seventh inning, and a single from junior utility player Alex Lopez would score two runs for UH.
In the eighth inning, UH attempted to salvage the evening, scoring two more runs on a single from Murray and a ground-out from Nickens, respectively, to pull the deficit to 11-7.
Despite UH’s best efforts, the comeback effort fell short; Cincinnati would score one more run in the ninth before it was all said and done.
Friday afternoon’s rematch went Houston’s way this time, with the Cougars taking home a ten-inning, 8-7 victory.
The scoring opened in the second inning; Cincinnati scored two runs on a right-field homer in the top of the inning, while UH scored a lone run on a homer from sophomore outfielder Malachi Lott.
The homer-ridden afternoon continued in the fourth inning for the Bearcats, as two center-field home runs in the inning followed by a right-side single scored three runs for the visitors in the inning.
In the fifth inning, a ground-out managed to bring sophomore infielder Brandon Burckel home for the Cougars.
With the score at 5-2 in favor of Cincinnati, the Bearcats scored two more times before UH could respond in the ninth inning with a series of runs that would level the game at 7-7 and demand extra innings.
UH’s five-run comeback was completed shortly thereafter, as a tenth-inning home run from junior catcher Dylan Post handed UH the slim 8-7 victory.
UH clinched the series with a 7-6 win on Saturday.
The Bearcats scored the game’s first run in the top of the fourth inning. But the Cougars swiftly responded in the bottom of the fourth, as a three-run home run courtesy of Lott would give the Cougars a 3-1 lead.
In the fifth inning, Cincinnati knocked out their own three-run homer, retaking the scoreline in their favor.
Cincinnati’s lead, though, proved brief once again, as a homer from Murray and two more scores for the Cougars put the Bearcats at a deficit once again.
In the following innings, Cincinnati ate away at Houston’s 6-4 lead, scoring once in the sixth inning and once in the top of the eighth to tie the game up entering the series’ final stretch.
The bottom of the eighth, though, saw UH solidify its lead, with a single from junior infielder Zach Arnold bringing freshman infielder Thomas Lyssy home for what proved to be the decisive score.
With Saturday’s 7-6 victory, UH finished the season without losing a conference series all season.
The Cougars will enter the AAC baseball tournament as a two-seed with action beginning on Tuesday.