Houston resides in slump

The UH bullpen doesn’t have a nickname at this point, but any list of possible monikers would have to include ‘Gas Can Gang.’

Houston’s dismal start to the season hit a new low when the bullpen was torched for eight runs in a 14-8 loss to Texas-San Antonio on Wednesday at Cougar Field.’

But that was just one of many problems.

The Cougars (2-8), who dropped their sixth consecutive game, received nothing resembling a quality outing from starter Jared Ray, who lasted only 3 1/3 innings and gave up six runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks. Their defense committed three errors for the second consecutive game. The offense sputtered after the fifth inning, recording only one hit in the final 4 innings.

Still, the bullpen will deservedly get most of the blame for this bumbling loss.

The Cougars fell behind 9-3 after 4 1/2 innings, but scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull within one. However, UTSA (6-3) jumped on reliever Donnie Joseph for five runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach, leaving the Cougars searching for answers.

‘We’re not a real good baseball team right now because we have trouble commanding the strike zone with at least two pitches, and we make errors,’ UH head coach Rayner Noble said. ‘It seems to me that when we make an error, we’re not good enough mentally to shake free of it and get out of a jam. It’s just poor baseball.’

An error allowed the Roadrunners to open the floodgates for four runs in the third, wiping out the Cougars’ early 2-0 lead. Marshal Davis and Tyler Carpenter reached on a walk and a single, respectively, to place runners at first and second base with no outs. The next batter, Brett Aguilar, hit a chopping grounder to UH second baseman Taylor White, who allowed the ball to roll under his glove and into center field.’

Davis and Carpenter sprinted home on the miscue. Two outs later, Jose Hernandez crushed a two-run homer to left-center, putting UTSA ahead 4-2.’

UTSA never trailed after that, adding two runs in the fourth off Ray (0-2) and three in the fifth off right-hander Chris Wright before hitting the jackpot in the seventh.

UH jumped on Roadrunners starter Ryan Proudfoot for one run in the fourth and five in the fifth to cut their deficit to 9-8, but UTSA relievers Casey Selsor (2-0), J.P. Holton and Zach Calhoon combined to hold the Cougars scoreless from there.

Noble hopes the Cougars can shake their slump in this weekend’s series against Cal Poly.

‘We just need to start playing better fundamental baseball,’ Noble said. ‘We haven’t yet passed the first grade in fundamental baseball, and that’s why we’re 2-8 right now.’

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