By Nicholas Brady
Coming off a weekend series win over Lamar and a midweek 9-2 win over Rice, Texas State will head to the University of Houston for their first weekend series away from Bobcat Ballpark this season.
The Bobcats are 11-6 all-time against the Cougars, with the Bobcats winning the most recent meeting 9-4.
Houston comes into the series 2-5 coming off a midweek loss to UTRGV Tuesday night in Houston.
Senior lefty Lael Lockhart Jr. leads the Cougars on the mound and has been the Cougars Friday starter both weekends to begin the season. He enters the game 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts against Youngstown State and #25 Stanford.
Senior southpaw Clay Aguilar has taken the bump for game two of Houston’s first two weekends followed in game three by junior lefty Jared Pettite, the son of former MLB pitcher Andy Pettite.
The Cougars have struggled at the plate to begin the season, only hitting .198 as a team. They do have some power in the lineup with 8 home runs on the season. Junior first baseman Ryan Hernandez leads the Cougars batting .310 with three home runs.
Other bats to watch out for are junior outfielder Stevan Rivas and senior utility player Tyler Bielamowicz.
Leigh and Sundgren will likely hold their spots at the top of the rotation this weekend. For game three, the starter is a little bit up in the air. We could see senior lefty Wes Engle, who got the Sunday start last weekend, sophomore Reece Gould, who started game three of the first weekend series versus Stony Brook or possibly another arm getting their first weekend start of the season.
The Bobcats are currently hitting .234 as a team so far this season. Junior John Wuthrich leads the team batting .375 and is tied for the team lead in home runs with two. Redshirt senior Will Hollis is second on the team hitting .278 and also has two home runs. The Bobcats will look for an improved performance at the plate this weekend.
An interesting storyline to watch will be the return of redshirt senior catcher, Tucker Redden, and junior right-handed pitcher, Trevis Sundgren, to Schroeder Park. Both players spent time as members of the Cougar baseball team in 2018 when the Cougars won the American Athletic Conference regular-season title and went on to the NCAA tournament. Redden appeared in 37 games for the Cougars making 27 starts. Sundgren made 5 appearances out of the bullpen for Houston.
All three games will be played at the University of Houston’s Schroeder Park. Games will be broadcasted on KTSW 89.9 and can be found on twitter @KTSWSports.
Game One: Friday, Feb. 28 @ 6:30 p.m.
Game Two: Saturday, Feb. 29 @ 6:30 p.m.
Game Three: Sunday, March 1 @ 2 p.m.
Featured image by Remle Herzberg.