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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Baseball

North Carolina ends Houston’s season


The Cougars kept their bats hot from the American Athletic Conference tournament, scoring 31 runs over four games, but it was not enough to advance to the Super Regionals. Thomas Dwyer | The Cougar

The North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the Houston Cougars 19-11 after Houston’s depleted pitching roster could no longer keep up at the Chapel Hill Regional.

Houston started the day against Purdue in an elimination game for a spot in the regional final against North Carolina. After going down 4-0, Houston pulled back into the game with a series of hits and steals to score a run in the bottom of the fifth.

Houston really caught fire in the sixth inning, scoring three runs from big hits by sophomore Jared Triolo, junior Joe Davis and senior Cooper Coldiron to tie the game.

The Cougars pulled away in the eighth inning with another four runs scored and won 8-4. They had just a little over an hour to rest before returning to the field to face the Tar Heels in the finals.

Houston started off on the wrong foot again, going down 1-0 after the first inning, but answered back right away by scoring three runs across the second and third innings.

North Carolina did not sit back on its heels though. It scored eight runs off sophomore pitchers Lael Lockhart Jr. and Fred Villarreal to take a 9-3 lead by the end of the fourth inning.

The teams traded a pair of runs in the sixth inning to put the score at 11-5 in the Tar Heels favor.

In the seventh inning, Houston scored a pair of runs to close the gap to 11-7, but North Carolina scored a trio of runs to increase the lead again to 14-7.

Houston turned on the heat in the eighth inning to load the bases with just one out when Davis came up to the plate. Davis did not let the opportunity go to waste and hit a grand slam to tighten the score to 14-11.

The Cougars could not keep up the scoring rally and entered the bottom of the eighth inning with just a couple pitchers left available.

This would ultimately be the Cougars’ undoing, as the remaining tired and inexperienced pitchers gave up another five runs to put the game out of reach at 19-11 and seal the defeat.

The Cougars end the season with a 38-25 record. Davis ends his season with 13 home runs on the season and 35 in his career, the UH all-time record.

With juniors Davis, Aaron Fletcher and Trey Cumbie poised with pro prospects and four seniors graduating, the Cougars could have a very new look next season.

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