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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Sports

Goodnight coming up big


UH right-hander Michael Goodnight is well on his way to joining the list of freshman pitchers who have stood out with the Cougars during the last few years. As it stands, he’s already established himself as the Cougars’ best starter.

With a 4-1 record and 3.37 ERA after eight appearances (six starts), Goodnight’s r’eacute;sum’eacute; stands up favorably with former freshmen standouts Chase Dempsay (8-3, 2.53 ERA, 11 saves in 2008), Wes Musick (6-5, 3.00 ERA in 2007) and Luis Flores (6-3, 3.00 ERA in 2006). En route to becoming one of the Cougars’ top arms, Goodnight has been promoted from Sunday starter to Saturday starter.

Goodnight would be 5-1 had the Cougars’ bullpen managed to preserve an early lead against Alabama-Birmingham on March 21. He labored throughout five shutout innings and exited with the Cougars leading 3-0, but reliever William Kankel was touched up for four runs in the sixth, leaving Goodnight with a no-decision after UH rallied for a 6-5 win.

Entering Tuesday, Goodnight was second in Conference USA in batting average against (.195), eighth in ERA and tied with eight others for fourth in wins. He also has allowed only one home run this season.

Most notably, Goodnight is one of the few UH arms who hasn’t been affected much by the team’s sub-par defense (53 errors in 31 games). The Fielding Independent Pitching statistic, created by sabermatrician Tom Tango, calculates ERA by using the only three factors the defense can’t affect (home runs, walks and strikeouts). Goodnight has a 3.32 ERA when his numbers are run through this formula.

Goodnight has played a huge role in the Cougars’ stretch of 10 wins in their last 12 games. During the stretch, Goodnight went 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 17 strikeouts. He also had 10 walks in those three starts, placing his FIP ERA at 2.98.

With former ace Musick (2-5, 6.57 ERA) struggling to find his magic from last season, the Cougars have had to rely heavily on Goodnight’s contributions.
Fortunately for the Cougars (14-17, 4-2 C-USA), the freshman has delivered the goods.

Sidelined aces

Arm troubles continue to plague Rice’s top two pitchers.

Right-hander Mike Ojala, the Owls’ Friday starter, has been inactive with a sore elbow since his last start March 20. He is 1-0 with a team-leading 1.38 ERA and 40 strikeouts in six appearances (five starts).

Joining Ojala on the shelf is right-hander Ryan Berry (4-0, 1.96 ERA), who has a shoulder injury. The Houston Chronicle reported that Berry likely won’t pitch again until early May.

Head coach Wayne Graham said Ojala might see some action as reliever when the Owls (22-7, 7-2 C-USA), ranked No. 6 in Collegiate Baseball’s poll, take on East Carolina in a three-game series this weekend in Greenville, N.C.

‘He is going with us, and he could see a little duty on Sunday, but he won’t start,’ Graham told the Chronicle. ‘He has been instructed by the doctors to pitch through it. So, what they may consider is that some of the pain is just scar tissue or adhesions that have to be broken loose. I imagine that’s why they have told him to go pitch through it.’

Tough times for Wave

Tulane can’t buy a break these days.

The struggling Green Wave suffered its fourth consecutive loss and sixth in its last seven games with Tuesday’s 6-3 setback to Louisiana-Lafayette. Tulane (17-15, 1-5 C-USA) received next to nothing in the clutch-hitting department Tuesday, leaving the bases loaded twice and stranding a total of 11 base runners.

Tulane will be hard pressed to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament this season. Its paltry Ratings Percentage Index of 102 isn’t impressing anyone.


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