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Friday, April 10, 2020

Baseball

UH heads West for 9-game road trip


The Cougars began the season with a lowly 2-5 start, but had a weekend to remember at the Houston College Classic.

UH won all three of its games to improve to 5-5 and virtually redeemed itself of the early season woes.

That performance sets up the Cougars for a nine-game road trip, beginning with a stop in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where they will begin a three-game series against Cal Poly (6-6) at at 8 p.m. today.

Head coach Rayner Noble said this team has the ability to play the way it did during the Classic, when UH posted back-to-back shutouts in the first two games.

“I was just proud of our crew,” Noble said. “We’ve never done this before. We’ve never won three games in this tournament, so it’s a big deal.

“I’ve said from the beginning, I’ve thought this team has ability. It’s just a matter of (whether) they were going to draw the line in the sand and say they’ve had enough and start competing.”

With the exception of Sunday’s 15-8 victory over Texas Tech, the most encouraging sign was the Cougars’ pitching, led by starters Michael Goodnight and Chase Dempsay, who didn’t allow a run for two games.

Dempsay set the tone against Missouri by going five shutout innings, and Goodnight was even better against Texas. Goodnight went seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits and striking out nine to help the Cougars record their first win over the Longhorns since 2002.

Goodnight realizes that last weekend’s performance may have been just what the team needed.

“The team was in desperate need. Our starting (pitching) has kind of been slacking,” Goodnight said. “It really showed Friday that we’re making a step in the right direction, and we’re improving on every start. I think more is going to come.”

The Cougars will next have  midweek games against San Francisco and California before a three-game series against undefeated Arizona State (11-0).

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