Connect with us


Houston drops pitchers’ duel to No. 20 Texas



TX – Houston’s Robert Gasser went seven solid innings against Texas on Friday, keeping the No. 20 team in the country scoreless as the Cougars sought their biggest win of the young season.

“That’s why he’s pitching for us on Friday nights,” coach Todd Whitting said about Gasser, who lowered his season-ERA to just 0.75. “He’s tough as nails, he pounded the strike zone, fastball had great life, working away from their right-handed hitters. I thought he pitched outstanding.”

But when the Longhorns pulled ahead for good in the top of the eighth, all Gasser could do was watch.

UT loaded up the bases on UH reliever Derrick Cherry thanks to a double from Mike Antico and three straight walks. Trey Faltine, who Gasser had retired to get out of two separate jams, then walked on five pitches, bringing Antico home for a one-run lead.

Texas’ Ty Madden – who went all nine innings and struck out 14 – led the charge from there, allowing a single runner over the last two innings as Houston fell 1-0 at Schroeder Park.

“(Ty Madden’s outing was) about as good an outing as I’ve seen in a long time,” Whitting said. “I was sitting there watching him pitch, and that reminded me a little bit of (Stephen Strasburg). (…) He didn’t give us anything to hit.”

Through three innings, Gasser allowed no hits and just two UT baserunners (both hit by pitches). Meanwhile, Madden was just as stubborn against UH’s lineup. He allowed the only hit for either team the first time through the order in the first inning, but finished the second and the third with 1-2-3 frames.

Madden kept the Cougars’ lineup quiet all night. He was aided by the absence of Houston’s biggest bat in Steven Rivas, who came into the weekend considered day-to-day with a heel injury suffered Wednesday against Lamar.

With Rivas’ .452 average and six home runs – second in the country – missing from the lineup outside of a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh, the Cougars struggled to even get runners on base.

It didn’t seem to be the same UH team that started the year hot. Through eight games, the Cougars ranked second in the country in home runs (20), ninth in slugging (.565) and 25th in batting average (.305). But facing the No. 1 starter on a staff allowing opponents to hit just .192, Houston couldn’t keep it going.

On the other hand, the Longhorns forced Gasser to pitch himself out of a couple jams.

Texas put runners on first and second in the fourth, a runner on second in the fifth and runners at the corners in the sixth, but each time, Gasser managed to get out of it with no damage. In the seventh, he gave up a single to Mitchell Daly, who was then thrown out stealing second with a beautiful ball from Kyle Lovelace to just beat the runner.

“I knew I needed to throw a lot of strikes, be able to throw the off-speed for strikes,” Gasser said. “When I got into tight situations, I just had to take a step back and get myself back in the moment now that the game speeds up and just execute the pitch that I wanted to throw.”

But with 104 pitches thrown already (by far his most on the year), Gasser was done after seven. Cherry, who hadn’t allowed a run in four appearances this season, couldn’t find his command as he allowed the game’s lone run.

That was enough for Madden, who picked up three more strikeouts to close out the Cougars. The teams will meet again at 2 p.m. Saturday.