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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Baseball

Arizona State sweeps Cougars


Caleb Ramsey batted 3-for-5 with a run and two RBIs in the Cougars’ 6-5 loss to Arizona State in Sunday’s series finale. | Justin Flores/The Daily Cougar

An inability to hit and pitch will almost guarantee struggles for any baseball team, and it did for the Cougars in their three-game series against Arizona State, which is ranked No. 1 by USA Today.

UH got swept by the Sun Devils in a three-game series over the weekend at Packard Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., losing 10-1, 6-0 and 6-5.

The series concluded UH’s eight-game, West Coast road trip and evened their record at 9-9.

After a six-game winning streak that featured three wins in the Houston College Classic and a road sweep of Cal Poly, the Cougars have lost four of their last five.

The Cougars’ best chance of snapping the funk came in Sunday’s game. In the third inning, Blake Kelso hit a one-out double and was driven in on a double by Caleb Ramsey to put UH up 1-0.

The Sun Devils (20-0) responded with a three-run double by Zack MacPhee in the bottom of the third off UH starter Matt Creel.

The Sun Devils were in control heading into the ninth inning, leading 6-2, but the Cougars scored three runs to pull within one with two outs remaining.

The game ended when Zac Presley was forced out at second base on Matt Murphy’s grounder with the bases loaded.

In the second game, the Cougars started righthander Michael Goodnight, who only lasted three innings and could not keep runners off base.

Goodnight allowed six hits and walked three. He surrendered one run in the first inning before allowing a three-run homer to first baseman Zach Wilson in the third inning to put the Sun Devils up 4-0.

The Sun Devils scored two more runs in the fourth off Taylor Hammack to increase their lead to 6-0. The Cougars’ offense, though, couldn’t do anything against starter Merrill Kelly and had only five baserunners for the entire game.

The Cougars had problems as soon as they stepped on the field Friday. In the top of the first inning, they had runners on second and third with no outs, but came up empty when the next three batters struck out.

MacPhee cracked a two-run homer off UH starter William Kankel in the bottom of the first, and the Cougars eventually fell too deep. UH had only three hits in the next five innings, and the pitching collapsed.

Ty Stuckey walked in a run and gave up two homers, including a grand slam, in the sixth inning, but he set up the damage with a throwing error. Those runs were all unearned.

The Cougars’ only run was a hollow solo shot by Caleb Ramsey in the seventh.

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