Team suffers sixth consecutive defeat

One could hardly criticize UH head coach Rayner Noble if he decided to tear up his team’s blueprint and start from scratch after only 10 games.

The Cougars fell to 2-8 after Wednesday’s 14-8 loss to Texas-San Antonio, their sixth consecutive defeat. Their bullpen, which surrendered eight runs (three earned) against UTSA, has a cumulative ERA of 5.45 after 46 2/3 innings pitched. The defense has committed three errors in three of the last four games. Their offense is hitting only .246.

Clearly, a new blueprint might be in order with nearly a fourth of the Cougars’ regular season in the books.

For the moment, Noble is still trying to construct a reliable offense and defense and figure out his pitching staff. But some immediate changes will occur, starting with this weekend’s three-game series with Collegiate Baseball No. 17 Cal Poly (6-1) at Cougar Field.

Left-hander Wes Musick (0-2, 4.91 ERA) will start the opener at 6:30 p.m. today, but right-hander Frank Corolla (0-1, 3.60) will have his normal Sunday start pushed up to 2 p.m.

Saturday, becoming the third different UH pitcher to start a Saturday contest. Freshman right-hander Michael Goodnight (1-0, 3.38), who tossed a perfect inning of relief against UTSA, will make his first weekend start in the series finale at noon Sunday.

So far, these three have been the most consistent performers in the starting rotation. Three other pitchers (Jared Ray, Ty Stuckey and John Touchton) have combined to post a 12.86 ERA in five starts, and none has lasted more than 3 2/3 innings in their starts.

‘We’ll go with Musick, Corolla and Goodnight, and hopefully, that’s good enough to keep the opposition down, granted we can field the ball and throw it straight,’ Noble said.

The bullpen will also see some changes, particularly in middle to late-inning relief. Right-hander Chase Dempsay (1-0, 1.42) remains the closer, but right-hander Chris Wright (13.50 ERA), who began the season as a setup man, and left-handers Donnie Joseph (7.94 ERA) and Jimmy Raviele (32.40 ERA after two appearances) could see their roles reduced in favor of newcomers.

Freshman right-hander Mo Wiley and junior transfer left-hander William Kankel, who doubles as the starting right fielder, have pitched well in recent outings. Along with right-hander Barry Laird (1.59 ERA), these two could be counted on to provide some much needed setup relief.

‘I was really pleased with the way Mo Wiley threw (in Tuesday’s 6-1 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette),’ Noble said. ‘He’s moved way up on the totem pole, and William Kankel has thrown the ball really well. He’s another guy who will probably move into a greater role on the mound.’

Cal Poly has won six consecutive games since dropping its season opener to No. 7 Rice. The Mustangs will bring a potent offense (.326 team batting average) to Houston, plus a quality starter in left-hander Jared Esker (2-0, 3.38), who will oppose Musick today.

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