Cougars Swept at UCF

I don't have to tell you that the losses have gotten old. What most figured was just a minor bump in the road in the midweek against the likes of Lamar and Sam Houston and in the series against Marshall has now turned into a major detour.

Thanks to series losses at the hands of Seton Hall, Rice and now a sweep at the hands of UCF, the Cougars postseason chances have been greatly compromised.

To fully recap the painful series sweet against UCF, let's take a look at three up and three down.

Three Up:

-          The defense was errorless in the first two games of the series. Taking that into consideration, it's not a surprise that UH was in both of those games even though the Knights outplayed them in more innings than not in those two games.

-          After falling into a deep freeze at the plate, Michael Pyeatt's bat came back alive in this series. He got at least one hit in each of the three games and he got two hits on Friday and Sunday. In the Sunday game, he even managed to burn the UCF left fielder for an extra-base hit that drove in a run.

-          Matt Hernandez was really good in relief again. On Sunday, he threw 4.1 innings, giving up two hits and one unearned run with no walks and two strikeouts. Head coach Todd Whitting has to weigh his options with Hernandez. He has been good enough that it must be tempting to give him another shot at a weekend rotation spot, but on the other hand, he has proven to be pretty valuable out of the bullpen.

Three Down:

-          The offense can only be described as anemic at this point. Clearly, the league has made adjustments to the UH hitters. A little over a month ago, everyone in the lineup was hitting. Now, many of those same hitters are struggling. Ratcliff, Vidales, Pyeatt, Fulmer, Davis and Barker are all hitting .250 or less in conference play. It's on the players and coaches to make the next adjustment now. So far, the right adjustments just haven't been made.

-          On Saturday, the Cougars put up four runs in six innings against UCF ace Ben Lively, staked Austin Pruitt to a 4-1 lead and ended up losing.  Not only was Pruitt not quite as sharp as he has been for most of the season, the offense completely went to sleep after their four-run fourth inning. UCF did just the opposite. They scored a run early, pulled closer in the middle innings and then took the lead with a couple of runs late.

-          Sundays have become the day where good pitchers go to struggle. After Jake Lemoine had really hit the skids in the Sunday starter role, Aaron Garza was inserted there this week. Garza had been really good on Tuesdays this season and was the logical choice to replace Lemoine on Sundays. Then, this Sunday, he gave up five runs and seven hits in three-plus innings of work.

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