Step in the right direction
The Cougars claimed their first Conference-USA series victory of the season this weekend against Marshall.
In what was essentially a game to stay out of last place, the Cougars emerged victorious, winning 4-3 on Sunday at Cougar Field.
“For us to win two one-run ball games — two pretty dramatic games — at home, (will) hopefully will be a big boost for our ball club,” head coach Todd Whitting said. “It’s been a while since we won a series, so it’s good to get a series win.”
Marshall got on the scoreboard first, scoring two runs in the top of the second, but the Cougars cut the lead in half with a Jacob Lueneberg RBI single to center that scored Jonathan Davis, who reached earlier in the inning on a walk. The Thundering Herd and the Cougars both scored in their respective halves of the fourth to keep it a one-run game, 3-2.
With one out in the fifth inning, Price Jacobs reached base on a wild-pitch strikeout. He advanced to second on another wild pitch and scored on a Landon Appling single to left center to tie it at 3-3.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the eighth when Taylor White was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a double play. But Price Jacobs sent a fly ball deep to the right-field foul territory that allowed Davis to tag up and score from third.
“I think the key was to just keep playing,” Whitting said. “They just kept fighting, fighting and fighting. When you do that, most of the time you’re going to win.”
Chase Wellbrock pitched 6 1/3 innings in relief of starter Matt Hernandez and allowed one run on six hits with four strikeouts.
In the series opener, the Cougars came out on top, 3-2. UH took an early 2-0 lead in the third inning after Appling led the frame off with a single to left field. Appling then stole second and third base and was driven in on a Chase Jensen double. The next batter, Casey Grayson, drove in Jensen with a single to left.
The Thundering Herd scored a run in the sixth inning and another in the eighth to knot it up at 2-2, but the Cougars would not be denied. With two outs in the inning, Appling singled to center and then stole second base. After a Lueneberg single to short, Jensen followed with the game winning RBI single up the middle.
Saturday’s game was another tight game, but it wound up as a reversal of fortunes for the Cougars, as they dropped the game 4-3. After Marshall scored an early run in the top of the fourth, UH responded in their half of the frame with three runs to take a 3-1 lead.
But the lead would not hold up as Marshall scored runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth to steal the game away from the Cougars.
The Cougars get an extended break with no mid-week game and get back in action on Friday when they head to Birmingham, Ala. to take on C-USA foe UAB for a three-game series.