Cougars Win Two of Three from Memphis on Road

It was a strange, rain-plagued weekend at FedEx Park in Memphis this past weekend, but the Houston Cougars were able to persevere and come through with a series win over the Memphis Tigers. The series win combined with the midweek loss a week ago to Lamar put the Cougars at 2-2 on the week. Given how well this team has played this season, 2-2 feels like a setback, but the major polls don't

don't agree, as UH stayed put or moved up in most of them.

To fully recap what happened this past weekend in Memphis, let's take a look at three up and three down for the series.

Three Up:

-          The win on Friday night was encouraging, if for no other reason than it's the type of game good teams win and bad teams lose. The offense managed only four hits. Last year or the year before, this team may not have managed a single run. On this night, they got three. On the mound, Daniel Poncedeleon was fantastic, which is not easy when you know your team is going to struggle to score runs. In short, it was a gutty, gritty win that I don't think UH would have won last year.

-          Poncedeleon and Austin Pruitt both pitched like aces yet again. I touched on PDL in the last note, but it bears mentioning again. All he did was pitch a complete game, giving up five hits and one unearned run with no walks and eight strikeouts. Not walking anyone was huge given that he had command issues his prior time out. Pruitt followed that up with a glittering performance in the first game of the doubleheader on Sunday. He threw six shutout innings, giving up seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

-          Tyler Ford was a stud out of the bullpen in the second game of the doubleheader on Sunday. Jake Lemoine struggled in his start and if Ford had come out and been shaky, things might have gotten ugly. Instead, he came out and threw 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. All told, he has pitched 18 innings across ten appearances this season and has a 2.00 ERA with a 17/2 strikeout to walk ratio.

Three Down:

-          The bats were really nowhere to be found in the series. It speaks to how good the pitching was that the offense managed just 12 hits and five runs in three games. Only Justin Montemayor in the second game of the doubleheader on Sunday managed a multi-hit game.

-          Jake Lemoine really had his struggles on Sunday. At first glance, the numbers don't look terrible. He was only charged with one run in two-plus innings, but it very easily could have been much worse. He got out of the first in large part thanks to a lineout double play, he danced around two hits in the second inning and Tyler Ford really bailed him out by limiting the damage in the third inning.

-          It might sound trivial, but I can't stand seven-inning double headers. I understand why they do them, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. As someone who wants to see college baseball push its way into the mainstream as much as anyone, I don't like how seven-inning games make the sport look small-time. Beyond that, it also creates more of an opportunity for luck to play a part in the outcome. With only seven innings to work with, a bad bounce or a blown call hurts a lot more. I'm not saying those things happened this past weekend, but it could have happened and that's enough for me.


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