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Looking Back: UH Baseball’s top 5 performances of the 2020 season

Junior first baseman Ryan Hernandez had 14 RBI’s and five homeruns in 15 games during the 2020 season for UH baseball. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

Junior first baseman Ryan Hernandez had 14 RBI’s and five home runs in 15 games during the 2020 season for UH baseball. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

The 2020 baseball season only lasted 15 games before it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the season was short, it was an eventful one as the Cougars struggled out of the gates, but there were also some bright spots and things the team can build on as they look ahead at next year.

Here are The Cougar’s top five moments of the 2020 UH baseball season:

The emergence of Ryan Hernandez

After leading San Jacinto College to the Region XIV Championship in 2019, Ryan Hernandez transferred to the Cougars and immediately made an impact emerging as one of the team’s best players.

The junior first baseman started all 15 games and led the Cougars in all categories offensively. Hernandez batted .300 with 18 hits, including five home runs and 14 RBIs, which were all team highs for anyone on the team with more than 10 at-bats on the season.

One of Hernandez’s best performances came on Valentine’s Day against the Youngstown State Penguins. The 6-foot-4-inch junior had three hits and scored three runs in the win.

The Cougars knock off No. 25 Stanford

After dropping two of their first three games to open the season, the Cougars went into the Round Rock Classic looking to bounce back.

In the first game of the Round Rock Classic, Houston immediately fell behind as Stanford plated a run in the top of the first inning, but this was the only lead that the Cardinal team held in the entire contest.

After tying the game at one, the Cougars offense exploded in the bottom of the fourth inning, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs on six hits. All the runs during this stretch were scored off of singles from four different players.

Stanford threatened to rally in the seventh inning by scoring three runs to cut Houston’s lead to only four, but  Hernandez increased the Cougars lead back to six runs with a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth that was the final nail in the coffin to secure an 11-4 victory for the Cougars over the No. 25 team in the country.

Tyler Bielamowicz, Steven Rivas effort versus UTRGV

Holding a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning, the Vaqueros were threatening to add a couple of insurance runs with runners on second and third and two outs.

Coleman Grubbs, the Vaqueros center fielder, hit a line drive to the left-center gap that seemed like it was going to score the two runs, but Houston senior center fielder Tyler Bielamowicz turned on the jets and covered a huge amount of ground to make a spectacular catch for the third out of the inning.

A few minutes later, with only one out in the bottom of the ninth, junior right fielder Steven Rivas hit a rocket over the scoreboard in right-center field to tie the game.

Although the Cougars ended up losing in extra innings, Bielamowicz’s catch and Rivas’ home run were two standout plays that earn a spot in our top five.

Hernandez’s 3-RBI game against Texas State

After dropping four straight games, the Cougars were in desperate need of a win, and Hernandez provided an offensive spark early that gave the team an edge the entire contest.

Right from the get-go in the first inning, Hernandez tripled down the right-field line to score sophomore designated hitter Derrick Cherry and put the Cougars on the board first.

In his next at-bat, Hernandez smoked a fastball over the left-field fence for a two-run home run, which extended the Cougars’ lead to three after three innings, and also gave the junior his third RBI after just two at-bat appearances.

Houston’s pitching was able to shut the door on the Bobcats as they only scored one run on five hits in the Cougars’ 5-1 victory.

Bielamowicz’s 3-hit, 3-RBI night against Rice

When Rice and Houston meet in any contest, there is always a little extra motivation on both sides to secure a win and this early March matchup was no exception.

In this contest, the Cougars were fueled offensively by Bielamowicz, who exploded against the Cougars’ in-town rivals, tallying three hits and driving in three runs in Houston’s 6-4 victory of the first meeting of the Silver Glove Series.

Two of the senior center fielder’s RBI’s came off a single up the middle that gave the Cougars a lead in the fourth inning that they never relinquished.

In the eighth inning, Rice was only a run behind when Bielamowicz batted in his third run off a double to left center field, which helped ensure the Cougars victory.

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