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Posts Tagged ‘LSU Tigers’

ElViento: Every time I look at wordpress’ site statistics, I am amazed anybody reads this site. Turns out, on Saturday, this site had it’s 100,000th visitor since its first post last May. (And WordPress swears that number doesn’t count our own visits, which would probably put us up at 150K by now.) So thanks to everybody who has dropped by, thanks to the 400-some odd of you who have left a comment, and thanks to every site for an opposing team which has ripped us, because that is always entertaining. Hell, while we’re here, thanks to all the people who have posted spam that I have deleted. Even that can be funny.

Anyway, enough gratuitous back-patting. On to the Coogs…

The Cougar baseball team came dangerously close to a series sweep against Santa Clara this weekend that would have brought their season record right back to .500, but ended up having to settle for a series victory.

On Friday, the Cougar bats woke up in a big way, putting up four straight innings of 3+ runs and turning a 3-0 deficit into a 17-9 victory. Sophomore transfer Matt Creel had a monster game, with 4 hits, 4 runs scored and 7 RBI. Junior Caleb Ramsey contributed 4 hits of his own, scoring three times.

Saturday’s game looked like it might be more of the same, with the home team scoring in each of the first two innings to take a 2-1 lead. But the bats went cold, the Broncos eventually tied up the game, and the Coogs would have to scratch out a victory by showing a flair for the dramatic. (With some help from the Bronco defense.)

With Creel in to pitch for the bottom of the ninth, Santa Clara put runners on first and third with just one out. But Creel induced the fifth double play of the game for the Coogs to end the threat.

In the bottom half of the inning, SC pitcher J.R. Graham looked like he would send the game to extra innings, retiring the first two hitters he faced. But lead-off hitter Joel Ansley hit an infield single, aided by Graham stumbling off the mound attempting to play the ball. With Blake Kelso batting, Ansley took off for second. He had the throw beaten for a stolen base, and when the throw to second found its way into center field, Ansley took off for third. Bronco CF Lucas Herbst tried to scoop the ball up and throw Ansley out at third in one motion, but ended up overrunning the ball. On the misplay, Ansley came all the way around to score, ending the game.

In the Sunday finale, the Cougars came up just short of a sweep, dropping an 8-7 decision after rallying from a 5-0 deficit after two innings. Kelso rapped out four hits, driving in three runs and scoring twice, but the Cougars failed to pick up an extra base hit, and left 11 runners on base, and the comeback bid fell just short.

While the series victory was certainly heartening (the team didn’t win two games between Friday and Sunday until the fifth weekend of the year last year), there are still reasons for concern:

-The Cougars have been a fantastic example so far of why batting average is an overrated statistic. Houston has outhit its opponents .303 to .269, and has been outhit in just one game out of six. But the UH pitching staff has surrendered a staggering 50 free baserunners (BB + HBP) in 54 innings pitched, while the Houston hitters have been given just 28 free trips to first. This tips the on-base percentage in favor of the opposition, and is the main reason Houston is out to just a 2-4 record.

-In six games, just one Cougar starter has lasted five innings, Michael Goodnight in Friday’s win. (In that outing, he went five and gave up five runs.) On Sunday, starter Eric Brooks didn’t make it out of the first. With the meat of the schedule coming up, and a number of mid-week games in store, this trend will eventually wear out the Cougar bullpen. Rayner Noble has been pretty quick with the hook so far, so maybe we’ll see him give his pitchers a longer leash in coming weeks.

Speaking of the upcoming schedule, we are about to find out what these Cougars are made of. On Tuesday, the Coogs head across town to take on Rice at Reckling Park. After getting out to a shocking 0-4 start, the Owls have won three straight. Next weekend, Houston will take on a trio of Big XII opponents at the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park, in Texas Tech, UT-Austin and Missouri.

After that, it’s out west for the Cougars’ annual, brutal California trip. This year, Houston starts with a weekend series at Cal Poly. The team will have revenge on its minds, after losing two of three to the Mustangs at Cougar Field last year.

Then it’s up to the Bay Area, for mid-weekers against solid clubs in San Francisco and Cal. But the biggest test will be the trip-ending series at Arizona State. The Sun Devils are in the top 10 in every poll, and as high as #2 in some. They are off to a 7-0 start (albeit against weak competition).

If Houston can go 6-6 in its next 12 games, it’ll be a victory for the team, and will do wonders for the RPI.
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I tried to warn some of you against using the four-letter H-word in regards to this Cougar men’s basketball team, and Saturday’s 94-83 loss to the SMU Mustangs proved me right. This team cannot consistently defend. Even in a game when the 3-pointers were falling for the Cougars, the defense was non-existent. The host Mustangs shot 52% from the floor, 59% from beyond the arc and attempted 29 free throws. At some point, when every team has a “hot-shooting night” against you, it’s not just hot-shooting. It’s bad defense.

The Coogs end the regular season with a home game against Rice on Wednesday and a roadie at Tulane on Saturday. The Rice game is Senior Night, so come support your Cougar athletes, and thank them for all of the effort they have put in.
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The Lady Cougar hoopsters had better luck, battering the conference-leading Green Wave from start to finish on Saturday, in a 74-62 victory that was less close than the final score would indicate. This makes two straight dominating victories for the women, who host Rice on Thursday for the season-finale. The Coogs are tied for third-place in C-USA with a 9-6 mark, with the conference tournament starting a week from today (Monday).
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After ten straight home games to start the season, the Cougar softball team finally hit the road this weekend for the LSU Tiger Invitational. Houston earned three victories by a combined score of 29-9, but fell just short in a pair of upset bids against their ranked hosts. The Coogs dropped a 2-0 decision to LSU on Saturday, beforing losing 5-4 in 10 innings on Sunday.

Houston now sports a 7-8 record on the year, and continues their challenging schedule with a contest against Texas A&M in College Station on Wednesday.

That’s all for me for now. Hope to see you at Reckling Park, Hofheinz Pavilion and/or Minute Maid Park this week!

Go Coogs!

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