UH mistakes prove costly

The Cougars made sloppy play seem like an art form against Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday.

Pitching, hitting, fielding, throwing – you name it, the Cougars did it sloppily. Well, all except for losing, which they’ve done all too well lately.

Thanks largely to another poor outing by right-hander John Touchton, a lack of clutch hitting and an erratic defensive effort, the Cougars dropped a 6-1 decision to the Ragin’ Cajuns at M.L. ‘Tigue’ Moore Field in Lafayette, La., pushing their losing streak to five games.

The Cougars (2-7) out-hit the Cajuns eight to four, but they stranded 10 base runners. UH was only 1-of-6 with runners in scoring position, recording its only run on a Cajuns’ error in the sixth inning.

The Cougars’ defense committed three costly errors, and four pitchers combined to surrender seven walks and three hit-by-pitches. These free passes allowed ULL (3-5-1) to build a 6-0 lead after five innings, much to the chagrin of UH head coach Rayner Noble.

‘I really thought our pitching would be a whole lot better, and the whole thing has probably been a major disappointment,’ Noble said. ‘I thought guys would really take the moment and run with it, but they just haven’t.’

The early lead was more than enough for Cajuns starter Alex Fuselier (1-0), who allowed only one unearned run on seven hits and a walk over seven solid innings. Fuselier, who also had five strikeouts, helped his own cause at the plate, going 1-for-2 with two walks, a stolen base and a run.

He reached base twice off Touchton (0-2), who struggled with his command, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks in only 1 1/3 innings. He allowed four of the first five batters he faced to reach base, including Travis Whipple, who drove in Fuselier with a one-out double to right field to put the Cajuns ahead 1-0 in the first.

Things only worsened for Touchton in the second, when he allowed three of the first four batters to reach base. Tyler Benzel was hit by a pitch, moved to second on Kyle Bostick’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Brian Bowman’s infield single.

Touchton walked the next batter, Fuselier, on four pitches and was replaced by right-hander Barry Laird. One batter later, Bowman scored on an errant throw by UH second baseman David Murphy to increase ULL’s lead to 3-0.

Reliever Mo Wiley gave the Cougars a boost by allowing only two unearned runs over four innings, but the Cougars’ offense was unresponsive after the sixth. The Cajuns added an insurance run in the fourth and two more in the fifth.

The Cougars will try to break their skid when they face Texas-San Antonio at 4 p.m. today at Cougar Field. Right-hander Jared Ray (0-1) will start for UH.

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