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Saturday, December 9, 2023


8th-inning rally propels UH past USF


Starting pitcher Aaron Garza went 6.2 innings while allowing seven hits, no walks and just one earned run with four strikeouts before exiting the game with a no decision.  |  Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars got an exciting start to their Easter weekend with a victory against USF.

An eighth-inning rally propelled No. 12 UH to a 3-2 win against USF on Thursday at Cougar Field. With junior pitcher Aaron Garza on the mound, the team was expecting good things, but the Cougars didn’t expect to have their “best game” of the season.

After Garza left the game in the seventh when he was hit in the ankle with a line drive, the Cougars bounced back in the eighth inning.

With a leadoff single from sophomore outfielder Kyle Survance and a bunt from sophomore infielder Josh Vidales, the Cougars (28-9, 5-5) had runners in scoring position with no outs. Very quickly, however, the Bulls (21-16, 7-5) picked up two outs. But in clutch fashion, singles from junior outfielder Michael Pyeatt and sophomore infielder Justin Montemayor put the Cougars up 3-2.

“That might be the best game we’ve played all year,” said head coach Todd Whitting after the game.

“We got kicked in the pants so many times in that game with diving plays and people getting thrown out at the plate, but our team never got down. We knew that we were going to win the game, so we just kept going.”

Freshman infielder Connor Hollis almost scores on a close play at the plate. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

Freshman infielder Connor Hollis almost scores on a close play at the plate. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

With the combination of a single, UH error and a sacrifice fly, the Bulls grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.

The Cougars then tied the game in the bottom of the second inning with a single from Montemayor and an RBI-single from freshman infielder Jordan Stading. The Bulls responded with another run in the top of the third inning, which would prove to be enough of a lead for the next five innings.

The two-run eighth inning from the Cougar offense was all it took for junior pitcher Jared Robinson to grab the win.

“You can’t get every call and you can’t hit every pitch, so you’ve got to move on to the next one,” said Robinson on the team’s mentality going late in the game.

Senior closer Chase Wellbrock, who picked up his eighth save of the year and 20th of his career, said he wasn’t surprised by how the team responded in the clutch.

“The team played a great game there at the end,” Wellbrock said. “We battled the entire game, and it was a great, all-around team win.”

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