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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sports

Cougars blow past Broncos


This time, there was no letdown. Only domination.

The Cougars flexed their muscles against a downtrodden Texas-Pan American squad in a three-game set, sweeping a series for the first time this season and extending their season-long win streak to six games with Sunday’s 15-3 victory at Cougar Field.’

UH (13-17) torched the Broncos’ pitching staff for 16 hits, including six extra-base hits. Left-hander Wes Musick allowed only two runs (one earned) on four hits in seven innings to claim his second win of the season. The defense made several sharp plays, committing only one error.

For the Cougars, who won the first two games of the series by respective margins of 15-2 and 8-2, the wins are coming at the right time, especially with Tuesday’s matchup against Texas A&M on the horizon.

‘(The sweep) was huge,’ shortstop Blake Kelso said. ‘Just getting win after win helps you move along. It helps you keep up team chemistry and everything, so we’ve just got to keep it up going into the A&M game.’

Left fielder Caleb Ramsey provided the biggest offensive boost in Saturday’s game, batting 3-for-5 with two runs and a career-high six RBIs, two coming on a massive two-run homer that one-hopped the scoreboard in center field. Kelso hit 5-for-6 with three runs and an RBI from the leadoff spot, and catcher Joey Cesario went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.

The multitude of run-support made it easier for Musick (2-5), who had to start Sunday after being removed from his normal Friday slot because of inconsistent outings. He needed only 88 pitches to get through seven innings against UT-Pan Am (5-27), walking only one batter while striking out two.

‘Having watched the other two starters (Frank Corolla and Michael Goodnight) come out here Friday and Saturday and do good built up confidence in me,’ Musick said. ‘I just copied pretty much what they did: throw strikes, keep the ball down and get ground balls. That’s what I did, and it worked out for me.’

UT-Pan Am took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but it didn’t last long.

UH first baseman Chris Wallace, playing in only his fourth game after missing 18 games with a fractured orbital bone, scored Kelso and Ramsey with a one-out double off Broncos starter Mike Lankford (1-3) to put the Cougars ahead 2-1 in the bottom frame.

RBI-singles by Cesario and Ramsey in the second inning increased UH’s lead to 4-1.’ Ramsey continued the onslaught by driving in three runs with a two-out, bloop single to right field that pushed the Cougars’ advantage to 8-1 in the third. Two innings later, Ramsey put the nail in the coffin with his two-run shot off Broncos reliever Shane Janecka.

From there, the runs kept coming, as they did for the entire series.

‘Their pitching was below average, and we should do those kinds of things against pitching like that,’ head coach Rayner Noble said. ‘But you still have to put the bat on the ball, and some guys had a good weekend. Hopefully, we can carry that kind of confidence into Tuesday and on into the rest of this week.’


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