Cougars Get Unsatisfying Series Win Over UAB

Not all series wins are the same and I think we all found that out this past weekend when the Houston Cougars won a series at home over the UAB Blazers. Last weekend, after a series win against Tulane, I think we were all excited for the most part. It looked like the team was finally breaking out of its funk.

But after the series win over UAB this past weekend, I think I speak for everyone when I say that we were left with an empty feeling.

To fully recap the weekend that was, let's take a look at three up and three down from the series against UAB.

Three Up:

-          The offense did a really good job of putting pressure on UAB pitching all weekend long. The Blazers came into the series really hampered by injuries. The word is that they only traveled 20 players and a couple of those guys were players they are hoping to redshirt. With that being the case, the Cougars needed to do a good job of jumping on their starting pitchers and they did just that. They scored in either the first or second inning in every game of the series. UAB just didn't have the bullpen depth to keep the Cougars off the scoreboard and it showed, as the Cougars put up 27 total runs in the series.

-          Matt Hernandez continued his streak of fantastic relief outings. On Friday night, after Daniel Poncedeleon had hit a wall, Hernandez came into the game and threw 4.1 innings, giving up one hit and one earned run with two walks and three strikeouts. It's a shame that the Cougars ended up letting that one slip away because his good outing is now largely going to be forgotten. Don't look now, but his conference ERA is 2.18. The only gripe is that the batter he hit in the 9th inning started what turned out to be UAB's go-ahead rally.

-          The bottom of the lineup really did their part in this series. For much of this season, the very top of the lineup has carried much of the load, but the bottom half did their share this past weekend. Jacob Campbell went 5-for-12 with a homer and four RBI and Landon Appling went 4-for-10 with five runs scored. Those two have struggled for much of the year, but it looks like their bats are coming alive at the right time.

Three Down:

-          The loss on Friday night greatly compromised UH's postseason hopes. Not only did it put another loss on their tally, but it dropped their RPI from very well within the range of a possible at-large berth in the 40s or 50s to the 60s, or in other words, on the outside looking in for that spot in the postseason. The fact that the go-ahead run for UAB came home on an error made it sting even more.

-          The bats fell asleep after coming out hot on Sunday afternoon. The Cougars chased UAB starting pitcher Alex Luna after tagging him for seven hits and eight runs in 2.2 innings, but after that point, they were only able to put together two hits and one run. It didn't end up hurting them in this game, but it easily could have. UAB scratched and clawed their way back into that game after it looked like it was going to be a laugher early on and it's not like UH has had a sparkling track record of holding leads this season.

-          It's a shame that the Cougars can't afford to take their foot off the gas next week in their series against Southern Miss because it looks like their weekend starters could use some abbreviated outings next time around. Even though only Poncedeleon had a start that could be described as poor, none of the three looked dominating and for the most part, they haven't for several weeks. Even Austin Pruitt, who still managed to strike out eight batters in his start, was hittable by his standards. It just looks like a group that is beginning to wear down a bit.


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