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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Commentary

Pruitt’s one-hitter helps Cougars capture series victory


Senior pitcher Austin Pruitt threw a complete-game one-hitter against Texas State during a pitcher’s duel Saturday. Texas State’s starter pitcher Taylor Black gave up one hit in seven and a third innings.  |  Courtesy of UH Athletics

Senior pitcher Austin Pruitt threw a complete-game one-hitter against Texas State during a pitcher’s duel Saturday. Texas State’s starter pitcher Taylor Black gave up one hit in seven and a third innings. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Highlighted by an early season signature 1-0 victory on the back of senior pitcher Austin Pruitt’s complete game one-hitter Saturday, UH upped its record to 5-2 after taking two of three against Texas State.

“That was as good as I have ever seen him,” head coach Todd Whitting said in a statement. “He is Mr. Consistency. He was able to work both sides of the plate and keep Texas State off balance. Something that may have gotten overlooked was that he did a really good job of controlling the run game at first base.”

Pruitt’s one-hitter against the Bobcats was the first of its kind in more than a decade for the Cougars — the last being thrown by right-handed pitcher Brad Sullivan against TCU on May 16, 2002. As a result, the right-handed senior was named Conference USA Pitcher of the Week.

“Austin is well deserving of this award,” Whitting said. “He is one of the best pitchers in Conference USA and I’m proud of him for his performance this last weekend.”

The Cougars followed up Saturday’s pitching gem with a 13-hit outburst in a 4-2 series-clinching 10-inning win. Heading into the 10th inning tied at two, junior left fielder Jonathan Davis led off with a single and was driven home by junior center fielder Landon Appling’s double. Appling came around to score on a sacrifice fly from junior catcher Caleb Barker, cementing the victory.

“One thing I was proud of the team was we came out and scored early,” Whitting said. “We had three hits in the first inning. We could have picked up a couple more early, but that’s the way baseball goes.”

Heading into the series, the Cougars had been plagued by eight fielding errors in four games, including a season high of three in a 9-3 loss against Northeastern. However, UH seemed to right the ship completing its first error-free game against Texas State on Saturday and used stellar defense Sunday to reel in another win.

“One thing that I think kind of gets lost is that we played good defense,” Whitting said. “We made some great plays throughout the game to help us keep it close and stay in it and gave us a chance for our offense to get going late.”

UH returns to the friendly confines today at 6:30 p.m. in Cougar Field against Dallas Baptist. Right-handed pitcher Aaron Garza is expected to make his second start of the season after receiving a non-decision one week prior in a 6-3 victory over Sam Houston State.

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