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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Baseball

Cougars search for solid pitching against UTSA


Michael Goodnight has been one of the few bright spots this season for the beleaguered UH pitching staff, but the Cougars will need their other pitchers to improve if the team is to pull itself out of its recent slump. | Newton Liu/The Daily Cougar

Going into their game against UTSA at 6 p.m. today in San Antonio, the Cougars (13-17) have hit their worst stretch of the season after suffering a three-game sweep versus TCU this weekend.

Their 13-17 record marks the lowest point the Cougars have sunk below .500 this season. Since March 14, when they swept Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the Cougars have lost 12 of 17 contests.

With only a little more than a month left in the season, head coach Rayner Noble says UH has the chance to turn things around but is undeniably concerned.

“When you can’t play defense, you can’t pitch, and the hitting is kind of in a swoon, (it makes me) very concerned,” Noble said. “But I have faith in my team; I have faith in my coaches. I think we can get this thing rectified and get moving on the right track.”

Ironically, this rough stretch began March 30 against UTSA (13-17). The Cougars lost 6-5 to the Roadrunners, who were 10-13 at the time.

They were coming off an impressive series win against Central Florida in their Conference USA opener, and against UTSA at Cougar Field, Houston had a 4-3 lead going into the top of the ninth inning before the Roadrunner score three runs to steal the victory.

Since then the Cougars have dropped seven of eight. As the Cougars have struggled during this stretch, so too has their pitching staff, which has a team ERA of 5.46. Over the past eight games, their starters have an ERA of 8.67.

“We’ve got to find some people that want to start a game, and go out there and put up some zeros, and we’ve really struggled with that lately,” Noble said. “Nobody has really taken the bull by the horns and gone out there and given us a quality start on the weekend. Last weekend was horrible, so I’ve got to find somebody that wants to go out there and start a ball game on the right foot for us.”

In Noble’s eyes, today’s game against the Roadrunners gives his team a chance to turn things around.

“It gives us an opportunity to go out there and redeem ourselves a little bit after we played so poorly for three games,” he said.

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