Friday, April 28, 2017

Houston OLB Tyus Bowser selected by Baltimore in NFL Draft

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 28, 2017) In the 2017 NFL Draft, the Houston Cougars had their first player selected when the Baltimore Ravens chose outside linebacker Tyus Bowers as the 47th overall pick; 15th pick of the second round.

Bowers, who is 6’3” tall and tips the scales at 247 pounds, missed a month of his senior season, due to a broken orbital bone as a result of a fight witha teammate. After his return to the field, he led the Cougars with 8.5 sacks along with 12 tackles (for a loss) in eight games. During his freshman and sophomore years, he played both football and basketball. He played in all games during his freshman season, amassing 26 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 sacks.

The Ravens finished 2016 with an 8-8 record and second place in the AFC North. Their defense game up 20.1 points per game (9th), 322.1 yards (7th), 232.8 yards passing (9th) and 89.4 yards (5th).

Houston Texans select ILB Zach Cunningham in the 2nd round of NFL Draft

Cunningham tallied six tackles, three of them solo,
in the 2016 Independence Bowl against
NC State on December 26, 2016.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis,
La Vita Loca Photpgraphy,
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 28, 2017) The Houston Texans added to the defense with the selection of Vanderbilt ILB Zach Cunningham as the 25th pick in the second round (57th overall). The first-team All-America selection in 2016, led the SEC in with 125 tackles and topped 10-plus in seven of the Commordores' 13 games. In his three-year college career, the tallied 256 tackles, with 36 for a loss. In addition, he had six forced tackles and seven fumble recoveries. He was selected a first-team All-SEC selection the past two seasons. In the first round, the Texans selected Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson with the 12th pick overall. They moved up in the draft order on a deal with Cleveland and Philadelphia.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

No. 12 Houston drops 7-1 decision to Tulane Green Wave

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 21, 2017) The No. 12 Houston Cougars could not contain the bats of Tulane and dropped the first game of their game of to take the first game of their three-game weekend series by the score of 7-1 to the Green Wave on Friday. April 21, 2017 at Schroeder Park in Houston.

Tulane starting second baseman Jake Willsey connected for two solo home runs while The Green Wave used 12 hits to generate their seven runs. Willsey’s round trippers were the sixth and seventh of the season for the senior from Newton, Massachusetts. He pervious hit two home runs in the same game against LSU on March 28.  The Green Wave connected for solo home runs in the first and seventh innings, along with a single RBI in the fifth.  Corey Julks solo home run in the ninth was the only run for the Cougars.

The Cougars, who are in second place in the American Athletic Conference behind Tulane. With the loss, the Cougars fell to 25-12 overall and 6-4 in league play, while Tulane improved to 20-19 overall and 8-2 in American action.

The series will continue Saturday and Sunday with starts at 5:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.

Wilmer Cabrera, Houston Dynamo Head Coach, April 22, 2017

Video by Robert H Kelly, TexSport Publications, Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved.

Houston stays unbeaten at home with 2-0 win over San Jose

Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 22, 2017) The Houston Dynamo shut out the San Jose Earthquakes by the score of 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Saturday, April 22, 2017. The win was their first shut out of the season for the Dynamo and allowed them to remain unbeaten at home in 2017.

Forward Erick Torres (No. 9, shown above right) added to his goal total for the season when he converted a penalty kick in the 9th minute to give the Dynamo an early 1-0 lead. The score was his seventh of the season and gives him the top spot in scoring in Major League Soccer. Forward Alberth Elis  scored the second goal for Houston in the 72nd minute. It was the second consecutive game he has scored.

Torres and Elis each had opportunities to add to their totals on the day. Torres attempted an audacious bicycle kick in the 16th minute, but the flying effort whistled over the crossbar. Elis nearly found the net in the 57th minute, when he and Alex played a give-and-go. Alex got the ball dribbled it inside the box and sent a cross to Elis. The Honduran native connected with a header but the ball bounced just past the right post.

Dynamo head coach Wilber Cabera stated about Drnamo's performance:

"We were organized. We had very good shape. When the team had to defend, it defended very well. When we had the possibility to move the ball, we moved the ball well. Much better than in different games. When we had to attack, we continued attacking. We continued trying to look forward to the attack. So it was important to be solid, and today was one of the most balanced games that we have had throughout the season, so that is something that I am really happy about. And I just congratulated the players because they did a wonderful job."

The Dynamo will continue the 2017 season on Friday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m. CDT against Toronto FC at BMO Field.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sugar Land Skeeters kick off 2017 season with 5-2 win over Bridgeport

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

SUGAR LAND, TEXAS  (April 20, 2017) The defending Atlantic League Champion Sugar Land Skeeters kicked off their 2017 season with a 5-2 thumping of the Bridgeport Bluefish in front of 5,935 fans at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas on Thursday, April 20, 2017. The win was their eleventh straight dating back to September 12, 2016, where they won their last four regular season games and swept the playoffs by winning six straight to capture their Atlantic League championship.

The Skeeters jumped out to an early 3-0 when designated hitter Max Ramirez connected on a 1-1 pitch for a three-run homer. His round-tripper send Lance Zawadski home from third base and Jeremy Barfield home from first base. Zawadski got on base with a single and advanced to second and third base by wild pitches by Bluefish starter Cory Riordan. Barfield got on base with a walk. Bridgeport cut the Skeeters lead to two when right field Ozney Guillen scored on his own home run in the third inning.

Sugar Land added to their lead in the fifth when first baseman Andy Wilkin singled, sending home Zawadzki and Barfield from third and second respectively while the Bluefish added a run in the eighth inning. Starter Jake Hale received the win, by Felipe Paulino recorded the save. Cory Riordan receiced the loss for the Blurefish.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

American Steve Johnson wins 2017 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship

Steve Johnson kisses the trophy after winning
the 2017 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship.
Photo by Richard Fletcher, Bigshot Snapshots
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 16, 2017) It took No. 4 Steve Johnson (USA) two hours, 24 minutes to down No. 8 Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5) in Sunday's Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship singles final at River Oaks Country Club in Houston. The tournament, which ended on Sunday, April 16, 2017 saw Johnson win his second career title He is now 2-0 versus Bellucci, having won their previous meeting in straight sets in the second round of the 2016 Australian Open. 

Both Bellucci and Johnson arrived late into Houston following Davis Cup ties last weekend. Bellucci was 2-0 in singles as Brazil won 5-0 at Ecuador. Johnson was part of the winning US doubles team in a 3-2 World Group quarterfinal defeat at Australia in Brisbane. For the ninth time in the 10 years since the tournament moved to River Oaks, an American was competing the final, with an American won the title four times since the tournament came to River Oaks. The three previous American wins include Ryan Sweeting in 2011, John Isner in 2013 and Jack Sock in 2015.

Johnson had never reached the semifinals at an ATP clay court event before this week. His lone title came on grass in Nottingham in last summer. Bellucci is the first player to make the final in his Houston debut since Nicolas Almagro in 2013 and was the 
first Brazilian in the U.S. Clay final since Fernando Meligeni won the 1996 title.

Houston Dash forward Kealia Ohai starts 2017 with a bang

Photo by Lou Roesch
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Lou Roesch
Special Correspondant for TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 16, 2017) Kealia Ohai and the Houston Dash opened the 2017 season with a 2-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars on their own pitch at BBVA Compass Stadium. The win marked the second consecutive season that the Dash have begun with a win over Chicago.

Ohai, the fourth year forward and captain of the Dash picked up in 2017 where she left off in 2016. The goal although the first of the new season marked the twelfth goal in her last eleven games dating back to last season.
Ohai broke in behind the defense in the 15th minute of play on Saturday to get into the scoring column.

“As a staff we were talking about the importance of K (Ohai) getting off to a good, quick start this season,” said Dash head coach Randy Waldrum of his forward. “One of the biggest differences I see in her is that she is just so much more confident. Her confidence is sky high right now. You can see by the game, she was just tearing it up and down the line. They (Chicago) just couldn’t contain her. We just need her to keep putting it together.”

The talented forward continued her brilliant play in the 80th minute as it was her pass that found its way through the box to Rachel Daly who unleashed a curling shot that rippled the nets for a 2-0 lead.

Ohai and the Dash look to continue their start and overcome the road woes that has plagued them in their three seasons in the NWSL as they travel to Seattle to face the Reign FC in an 8:00pm CDT match on April 22, 2017. The match will stream on

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Houston Dynamo and Minnesota United battle to 2-2 draw

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 15, 2017) In a game that saw the all the action for the Houston Dynamo in the first half with the Minnesota United FC controling the second half, the best both teams could manage was a 2-2 draw in front of 16,125 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Saturday, April 15, 2017. The Dynamo move to 3-2-1 (10 points) on the season while Minnesota moves to 1-4-2 (5 points).

The first goal of the game came in the 15th minute when forward Maura Manotas received the ball at the middle of the box and drove the it past Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Manotas received the ball from forward Erick Torres with an additional assist from midfielder Ricardo Clark. It was the first goal of the season for Manotas, who hails from Sabanalarga, Columbia, in additon to being the seventh goal of his MLS career. The assist from Torres was also his first of the season and the fifth of his career. In 2016, Manotas tied the team lead with six goals in MLS play despite not starting a game until August 14. He was acquired by the Dynamo on May 13, 2015 in transfer from Uniautonoma F.C. Houston doubled their lead to 2-0 in the 43rd minute off a free kick from defender Boniak Garcia to forward Alberth Elis. It was the second goal of the season in six games for the 21-year-old from San Pedeo Sula, Honduras.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Minnesota finally got on the scoreboard in the 47th minute, cutting the Houston lead to 2-1 when forward Christian Ramirez scored his fifth goal of the season, with an assist by midfielder Kevin Molino, his third of the season. They evened the score in the 62nd minute with a quick kick from forward Johan Venegas at the top of the goal box.

Dynamo head coach Wilber Cabrera talked with the press after the game and discussed the overall game.

“Around 75 minutes of this game, we were good. Seventy-five. And, for 15 minutes, we lost control of everything. The first 10 minutes of the second half, I didn’t recognize the guys. They weren’t sharp. Conceding a goal from set pieces, which, that can happen. But then, we lost further control of the ball. We couldn’t make three passes in a row. We lost our intensity. And, I’m going to blame myself. I’m going to take full responsibility for that. I’m not going to blame all the guys. I just told the guys that I’m going to take the last 30 minutes, the way they reacted, is the way I’m looking for the Houston Dynamo team for the rest of the 2017 season. I’m looking for a team who will play that way. Maybe we couldn’t score, but at least we managed the ball better. We passed the ball better. We tried. We worked hard. And, if you score, that’s fine. If you can’t score, at least you can leave the field with your heads up. Understanding that sometimes the ball isn’t going to be going in the best way for us, but that’s something that we need to keep believing in. I’m trying to emphasize right now the positive things that the team did in the second half. I’m going to take those ten minutes away because it happens. We know already that it’s been happening. It’s a small sign that we have. But we’re aiming to destroy that sign, that in the second half the team is not working very well.”

Next up for the Dynamo is a Saturday, April 22 game against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Offense outlasts defense 51-33 in Houston Cougars Spring Game

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 15, 2017) The Red Team downed the White Team by the score of 51-33 in the 2017 Houston Cougars 2017 Red-White Football Game on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at TDECU Stadium in Houston. The Red Team, which was made up of the offensive players, played four 12-minute quarters in the annual spring game, which marks the end of spring football, against the White Team, which was made up of the defensive squad. The first score of the game came as a result of a pass from junior quarterback Kyle Allen to sophomore receiver Keith Corbin in the back corner of the end zone. Kicker Dalton Witherspoon tacked on the extra point to give the Red Team an early lead.

Other scoring occurred on a six-yard run by sophomore running back Patrick Carr, who sat out last season after transferring from Colorado with sophomore running back Kevrin Justice adding a one-yard run in the third quarter. Sophomore running back Josh Burrell closed out the day with a one-yard score. Carr led the Red Team with 122 yards on 15 carries. Burrell was second in rushing on the day with 38 yards on seven carries.

On the receiving end, senior Derek McLemore led the way with nine receptions for 44 yards while sophomore Keith Corbin had three receptions for 21 yards. Passing wise, Allen had 62 yards on 12-of-18 passing while junior Mason McClendon had 27 yards on 6-of-14 passing.

The White got off to a strong start when Jeremy Winchester picked off an Allen pass on the first play of the game. It was one of three interceptions for the defense as Isaiah Johnson and Javian Smith picked up interceptions on the day as well. Senior linebacker Cameron Doubenmier paced the defense with seven tackles while senior linebacker Austin Robinson and redshirt-freshman cornerback Patrick Rosette had six stops each. Doubenmier and Robinson also had the day’s lone sacks.
Houston kicks off the fall season when it travels to San Antonio to open the 2017 against UTSA on Saturday, Sept. 2. Following a September 9 trip to Tucson, Ariz., to face Arizona, the Cougars open their home slate against Rice on Saturday, September 16 at TDECU Stadium.

Houston Dash upend Chicago Red Stars 2-0 to kickoff 2017 NWSL season

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications 

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 15, 2017) Kealia Ohai picked up where she had left off and scored the first goal of the Houston Dash season, as they downed the Chicago Red Stars by the score of 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. On this blistering hot Saturday, April 15, 2017, Ohai drilled the ball cross net from the left side, past goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher in the 15th minute.  They added an insurance goal in the 80th minute when Rachel Daly got her first goal of the season with a floating shot to the far post. Houston and Chicago have played eight times previously since 2014, with the Dash coming out on top just once. That win was a 3-1 victory on April 16, 2016. Houston is now 2-3-4 lifetime against the Red Stars.

The Dash were without the services of midfielder Carli Lloyd, who informed the team earlier in the year she would be joining England’s Manchester City FC for the early part of 2017. She is not scheduled to return to Houston until possibly June. Lloyd was one of five players who scored multiple goals in 2016, leaving the Dash shorthanded on offense for the foreseeable future. The offensive leadership of Houston may be left up to Ohai, who was tied for the NWSL lead in 2016 with 11 goals.  Her goals-plus-assists total of 14 (11 goals plus three assists) in 2016 placed her third in the NWSL behind Jessica McDonald and Lynn Williams, with 17 and 16, respectively. Both McDonald and Williams played for the Western New York Flash. They both now play for the North Carolina Courage, which is the rebranded Flash after they were purchased by the North Carolina FC. In 2016, Ohai led the Dash with 11 goals, playing in 20 game. She was followed by Lloyd with 5 points (seven games), Daly (four goals in 16 games, Janine Beckie (three goals in 14 games), and Denise O’Sullivan (two goals in 18 games).

Next up for the Dash will be a three-game road trip beginning on April 22 against the Seattle Reign. They follow that up with stops in Washington (April 29) and Chicago (May 6). They return home on Saturday, May 13 with a 3 p.m. CT matchup against Sky Blue FC.

Friday, April 14, 2017

No. 2 John Isner falls to Ernesto Escobedo at Clay Court Champs

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 14, 2017) In a match that lasted just over three hours, wild card entry Ernesto Escobedo upset No. 2 seed John Isner 7-6 (6), 6-7 (6), 7-5 (5) in the quarterfinal round of the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay  Court Championship at River Oaks Country Club in Houston on Friday, April 14, 2017. The 20-year-old from West Covina, California trailed Isner in most statistical categories; except the final score. It was the first time the two right-handers had faced each other and the win was a major accomplishment for the Escobedo who turned pro three years ago. He is only one of seven Top 100 ranked players in the world under 21 years of age, and four of those are playing at River Oaks.

Isner , who last won the tournament in 2013, may have been feeling the effects of his professional tennis travels. With Davis Cup matches preceding the Clay Court Championships in Houston this year, 11 players travelled from various locations around the world to be in Houston. Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey, Jack Sock and Isner all travelled from Brisbane, Australia to compete in Houston.

Next up for Escobedo will be a semifinal match against Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, who dispatched American Sam Querry in straight sets (6-4, 6-4) on Friday.    

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Jack Sock downs Tommy Haas in second round action in Houston

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 13, 2017) In the headline match at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’sClay Court Championship on Thursday, April 13, 2017, it took No. 1 seed Jack Sock three sets to down 2004 champion Tommy Haas 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. The match, which was held on center court, saw Sock, who is ranked number 15 in the world, take the first set 6-4 before dropping the second set to the German 6-3. In the third set, Sock took a 4-1 lead with Haas moving the score to 5-3 before the 2015 champion closed the books on the match with a 6-3 score. The match lasted in one hour, 55 minutes.

The stats were fairly equal, with both players serving five aces. Sock shot a bit better on first service, 65% to 62% and on second service won, 58% to 55%. Haas had the edge on first service won 76% to 74%. Sock is now 12-3 in matches at River Oaks, in his fifth appearance on the Houston clay. In 2013, he was eliminated in the second round, while in 2014, he advanced to the quarter finals. His championship title came in 2015 and dropped the final match in 2016 to Juan Monaco 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

In previous head-to-head competition, Haas downed Sock 7-6(3), 6-2, 7-5 in the Round of 64 at in 2013 on clay at Roland Garros (France). In 2014, Sock won the matchup on hard court, in the Round of 16 at Auckland, New Zealand, in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. At 24-years-old, Sock is the youngest No. 1 seed in the tournament since 23-year-old Andy Roddick was number one in 2006. Haas, at 39-years-old, is the oldest US Clay singles participant since 43-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1978. Haas, who announced this will be his final season downed 19-year-old 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 in the first round. Next up for Sock will be the winner of the Feliciano Lopez (Spain) vs. Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) match.

A slideshow from the match, by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography can be wiewed by clicking here.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

USA Women down Russia in international soccer friendly

Crystal Dunn (19) added two goals to her total of
22 international goals in the USA's 5-1 win over Russia.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 9, 2017) The USA Women’s National Soccer Team left no doubt they are the number two ranked team in the world, with 5-1 win over No. 25 Russia in an international friendly match on Sunday, April 9, 2017 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Midfielder Carli Lloyd was the first player to find net with a penalty kick in the 20th minute. The kick was awarded to the Americans when Crystal Dunn was taken down chasing a loose ball. The goal was the 97th international goal of Lloyd’s career, who plays in the NWSL for the Houston Dash and is currently on loan to Manchester City. They followed Lloyd’s goal with two additional goals within one minute of each other, in the 37th and 38th minutes. Midfielder Rose Lavelle took a pass from forward Mallory Pugh and drilled it past Russian goalkeeper Iuliia Grichenko for the USA’s second goal of the game. One minute later, forward Crystal Dunn took a pass from defender Meghan Klingenberg and drilled it past Grichenko to make the score 3-0. Russia finally got on the scoreboard in the 42nd minute on a penalty kick by Nadeshka Karpova. The final goal of the first half was an own goal by defender Ksenia Kovalenko to give the USA a 4-1 lead after 45 minutes of play. The final goal of the game came in the 48th minute by Dunn with an assist by forward Mallory Pugh. For her performance, Dunn was selected the Budweiser Woman of the Match.

The game was a total domination of the Russians by the Americans. The USA led the Russians in shots (18-2), shots on-target (16-1) and off-target shots (2-1). On April 6, the USA downed Russia 4-0 in Frisco, Texas in the first game of the series. 

A slideshow from the match, by Darla Tamulitis of La Vita Loca Photography, can be viewed by clicking here.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Four Americans advance on first day of qualifying in U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 8, 2017) First day of qualifying is complete at the U.S. Clay Court Championships with four Americans advancing to Sunday’s final day of qualifying. The tournament, which is being held at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston and began on Saturday, April 8, 2017.
American Bradley Klahn downed Renzo Olivo (Argentina) 4-6, 7-5, 4-0 (retired due to illness) with countryman Noah Rubin defeating Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo (Spain) 7-6 (3), 7-5. Denis Kudla advanced over fellow American Brian Baker, who withdrew with knee problem. The final American advancer was Tennys Sandgream, who eliminated Steven Diez (Canada) 6-3, 6-3.

In other action, Benjamin Becker (Germany) outsted Guido Andreozzi (Argentina) 6-0, 7-5 while Teymuraz Gabashvili (Russia) beath Peter Polansky (Canada) 6-2, 7-6 (5). In the final two matches of the day, Leonardo Mayer (Argentina) downed Tim Smyczek (USA) 3-6, 6-4,  7-6 (3) and Maximo Gonzalez (Argentina) defeated Dennis Novikov (USA) 6-4, 7-6 (13).

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
The 15-13 tie-break won by Gonzalez was longer than any main draw tie-break played in tournament history. The main draw tournament record is 14-12, won by Horacio De La Pena over Claudio Messadri in the 1993 semifinals. At least one and as many as three Americans may advance into the main draw through qualifying. Already, 10 Americans are in the field, marking the fourth time in five year's a double-digit number of U.S. players are participating at River Oaks. Regardless of how many Americans win Sunday, this year's field will have the most Americans participating since 13 played in 2007.

Main draw play will begin on Monday, and is expected to include the start of Juan Monaco's title defense. The two-time champion is slated to play Dustin Brown on opening night. Other matchups due to take court during Monday's "Super Session," which begins at 3 p.m., include 2014 champion Fernando Verdasco taking on Kevin Anderson and 39-year-old Tommy Haas facing 19-year-old Reilly Opelka

Central Arkansas’ Late Rally Tops HBU Baseball, 4-3

Photo by Darla S. Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
Senior RF Brandon Brintz goes 2-for-4 with double, RBI.

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 8, 2017) After being held scoreless for seven innings, Central Arkansas put together a four-run eighth and held on to take the Southland Conference baseball series opener over HBU, 4-3, Friday afternoon (April 7) at Husky Field.

Senior rightfielder Brandon Brintz went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while senior catcher Blake  Thomas went 3-for-4 for the Huskies (13-14, 5-5 SLC). Junior shortstop Tyler Depreta-Johnson was 2-for-4 with an RBI and scored a run, extending his hitting streak to seven games.

Senior righthander Addison Russ (1-3) took the loss, allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks in 7.2 innings. Sophomore righthander JT Newton held the Bears scoreless over the final 1.1. innings.

Hunter Strong went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, a home run, drove in two and scored for UCA (16-15, 6-7). Rigo Aguilar was 2-for-4 and scored.

Brandon Hagerla (4-3) picked up the win with one scoreless inning in the seventh, while Ty Tice notched his third save, giving up one run on two hits with three strikeouts in 2.0 innings. Starter Tyler Gray allowed two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and a walk in 6.0 innings.

HBU got on the board first when senior centerfielder Zane Otten led off with an infield single, then stole second. He moved to third on a groundout by Brintz, then scored on junior leftfielder Spencer Halloran’s infield single up the third baseline.

UCA threatened in the fifth when Russ hit a batter and walked the next two on four pitches to load the bases with one out, but got Keaton Presley to ground into a double play to end the inning.

Photo by Darla S. Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
The game remained 1-0 until the seventh when Depreta-Johnson singled to leadoff and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Otten. Brintz delivered an RBI single to right to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.

Presley led off the top of the eighth with a single, then Strong unloaded a blast over the rightfield wall to tie the game, 2-2. Aguilar singled, followed by a single by Eddie Sanchez, then a throwing error allowed Aguilar to score to give the Bears the lead. Sanchez scored on an RBI single to center by Brooks Balisterri to extend UCA’s lead to 4-2.

The Huskies answered in the bottom of the eighth as Carey Jones was hit by a pitch, was lifted for pinch runner Zach Carter, then Thomas singled to left. Depreta-Johnson pulled HBU within one with an RBI single, then Otten walked to load the bases with two outs. Brintz flied out to center, then the Huskies went down 1-2-3 in the ninth.

The series continues Saturday with a 1 p.m. start, followed by Sunday’s finale at 2 p.m.

Huskies Split Doubleheader with SLU

Photo by Darla S. Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
Both games end with scores of 3-2 with the rubber game set for Saturday

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 8, 2017) HBU and Southeastern Louisiana split two tightly-contested games on Friday afternoon (April 7) at Husky Field with both games ending in a score of 3-2.

Game 1

Both teams put baserunners on in each of the first two innings but neither team could break through with a run until the fourth. In the top of the inning, Southeastern Louisiana (18-19, 7-7 SLC) got a leadoff walk from Kinsey Nichols followed by an HBU error on a sacrifice bunt, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. The next batter, Mattie Ort, reached on an HBU error that allowed Nichols to score the first run of the game. Ali McCoy followed Ort with a fielder’s choice to score Mahalia Gibson and make it a 2-0 game.

The Huskies (12-18, 3-11) had an answer in the bottom half of the fourth with juniors Nicole Shedd and Libby Brown reaching via hit-by-pitch and a walk to start the inning. Both baserunners advanced on a wild pitch to put two in scoring position with no outs. Kassie James brought Shedd home with a sacrifice fly to right to make it 1-0 but Brown was stranded at third.

Kay Schroeder singled to lead off the fifth and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Heidi Jaquez. With one out, Cecilia Bauer singled to left to put runners on first and third. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Shedd drove in HBU’s second run with a sacrifice fly to right that allowed Schroeder to score and tie the game at 2-2.

The Lions got a hit and another runner reached on an error in the top of the sixth, resulting in runners on first and third with one out but HBU starter Emily Mueller pitched out of trouble to keep SLU off the board.

In the bottom of the seventh, Shedd drew a one-out walk before Brown drove a double to right center to give the Huskies two runners in scoring position with one out. James then stroked an 0-1 offering over the center fielder’s head to score Shedd and end the game, 3-2, in the Huskies’ favor.

Mueller threw a complete game in the circle, logging seven innings with just two unearned runs allowed on three hits. The senior struck out three and walked four while improving her season record to 5-11.

Shedd was 1-for-1 in the game with a walk and a sacrifice fly while also getting hit by a pitch. She had a hand in all three of the Husky runs, scoring twice and driving in one.

Photo by Darla S. Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
Game 2

Southeastern started the scoring early in game two with Kalyn Watts doubling down the left field line on the second pitch of the game. Jaquelyn Ramon drew a walk before Watts moved up to third on a wild pitch. That put her in position to score on Nichols’ sacrifice fly for a 1-0 Lions lead after half an inning.

The score remained 1-0 until the fifth when the Huskies found themselves with Schroeder on first with one out. Jaquez singled to center, moving Schroeder up to second, with Bauer following with a fly-out to center. With two out, Megan Hiers dropped a single in down the right field line to score Schroeder but Hiers was caught trying to advance to second on the hit, ending the threat but tying the game.

The Lions got a leadoff triple off the bat of McCoy in the sixth inning but HBU starter Stephanie Buenrostro retired the next two batters. With a runner on third and two outs, Alli Daigle came up with a single up the middle to score McCoy. Watts then followed up with her second double of the game off the top of the wall to left, scoring Daigle and giving SLU a 3-1 lead through five and a half.

HBU got a two-out walk from Brown in the bottom half of the sixth before Brooke Bushman singled up the middle. With runners on first and second, Demi Janak drove a double to left center that scored Brown from second but Janak and Bushman were stranded at second and third with the score 3-2.

The Huskies almost got some more two-out magic in the seventh as Hiers reached on an error by the Lions’ second baseman. Shedd smoked a 2-0 pitch down the left field line, moving Hiers up to third and bringing James, the hero from game one, to the plate. It wasn’t meant to be, however, as James lined out to second to end the game.

Buenrostro suffered the loss in the circle, falling to 5-4 for the season, allowing three earned runs on eight hits with a pair of walks.

Jaquez, Shedd, Brown, James and Bushman all enjoyed multi-hit days for HBU with hits in both games. Jaquez led the team with three hits in the doubleheader.

HBU and Southeastern Louisiana will conclude their three-game series on Saturday, April 8, afternoon at Husky Field with first pitch slated for 12:00 p.m.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Three home runs pace Houston to 17-3 win over East Carolina

Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 7, 2017) The No. 14 Houston Cougars tallied home runs in the second, third, and fifth innings to lay the foundation for a 17-3 win over the East Carolina Pirates at Schroeder Park in Houston on Friday, April 7, 2017. The win pushed the Cougars to 21-8 for the season and raised their conference record to 2-2. The first home run was a three RBI shot by designated hitter Joe Davis, in the second inning was his second of the season. Catcher Conner Wong knocked his round tripper in the third inning, his fourth of the season was also a three run shot. The fifth inning saw Conner Hollis knock his home run over the left field fence. It was the first home run of the season for the startiing second baseman.

The Cougare scored their 17 runs on 13 hits, with seven of the runs coming in the second inning. Right fielder Corey Julks extended his current hitting streak to 13 with a single in the third inning. Jake Scheiner, who was selected at the National Player of the Week (March 20), was 2-for-3 with a single and a double; raising his batting average to a team-leading .407. Starter Trey Cumbie was credited with the win, his fifth of the season. The left-hander from Lufkin, Texas, pitched a solid seven innings, throwing 101 pitches to 31 batters, while striking out six. Jake Agnos, pitching 2/3 of an inning received the loss.

The Cougars and Pirates will continue the three-game weekend series on Saturday, April 8 with a 1 p.m. first pitch.

Draw Released for 2017 Tournament at River Oaks

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 7, 2017) The main draw for the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship was made Friday afternoon at River Oaks Country Club and can be found below. Four players will be added to this draw following the conclusion of the two-round qualifying tournament that will take place this weekend.

Qualifying play begins at 10 am Saturday and admission is FREE.

ORDER OF PLAY - Saturday, April 8
Court 3 - 10 am Start

Noah Rubin (USA) vs (6) Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo (Spain)
(2) Guido Andreozzi (Argentina) vs Benjamin Becker (Germany)
(3) Peter Polansky (Canada) vs Teymuraz Gabashvili (Russia)
(4) Denis Kudla (USA) vs (WC) Brian Baker (USA)

Court 7 - 10 am Start
(1) Renzo Olivo (Argentina) vs (WC) Bradley Klahn (USA)
Dennis Novikov (USA) vs (7) Maximo Gonzalez (Mexico)
Steven Diez (Canada) vs (8) Tennys Sandgren (USA)
Tim Smyczek (USA) vs (5) Leonardo Mayer (Argentina)

Torres' hat trick leads Houston to 4-1 win over New York

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 1, 2017) Forward Erick Torres scored three goal in just over 48 minutes to give the Houston Dynamo a 4-1 win over the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer action at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. The 17-thousand-plus fans in attendance saw Torres score the first hat trick of his career in route to the Dynamo winning their third game of the season.  With the win, Houston goes to 3-1-0 on the season as well as being 3-0 at home. They raised their all-time record against New York to 5-11-8 and to 5-2-5 against the Red Bulls in Houston.

For their second consecutive game, Houston conceded the first goal of the game. The Red Bulls scored in the 13th minute with Houston evening the score one minute later. Dylan Remich scored in the 14th minute with an assist by Alex. Then Torres began his scoring assault with a penalty kick in the 42nd minute. He added his second goal of the night in the 56th minute and completed his hat trick in added time of the second quarter. It was Torres’ third career multi-goal game and his first since September 1, 2013 for Chivas USA at Vancouver.

The Dynamo outscored the Red Bulls 2-0 in the second half, marking the first game this season in which the team “won” the second half.  They have outscored their opponents 9-3 at BBVA Compass Stadium this season.   The headed goal scored by Remick in the 14th minute was Houston’s second goal from a corner kick this season. It was also the first scored by a player not listed as a forward, and the first scored by a Dynamo player with a body part other than their right foot.  After only drawing one penalty all season in 2016, the Dynamo have drawn two in as many games. Torres converted both.