“I was just trying to go out and get a W.” That’s what Houston Cougar starting pitcher Michael Goodnight said when asked about his mindset entering Sunday’s game against the Cal Poly Mustangs. The Cougars had dropped the first two games of the series with the Mustangs and were riding an eight game losing streak. They changed their luck on Sunday due in large part to the performance of Goodnight. The freshman RHP tossed seven strong innings while allowing only two earned runs on three hits.
The Cougars got on the board in the bottom of the third inning when Blake Kelso doubled to the wall in right center and was driven home by a sharp line drive up the middle off the bat of Chase Dempsay. Houston would add one more in the bottom of the fourth. Zak Presley lead off the inning with a single to left field and promptly stole second base. Presley would score when Mustang short stop Kyle Smith committed a throwing error to first on a Codey Morehouse groundball.
The lead would hold until the top of the seventh inning. It was then that Cal Poly got a leadoff double from right fielder Adam Melker. He would advance to third after tagging up on a flyout to center by Wes Dorrell and score on a wild pitch. Matt Jensen then tied the game at two with a laser homerun over the fence in center field.
Right when it looked like the momentum was shifting back to Cal Poly, Houston second baseman Taylor White lead off the bottom of the inning with a triple off the wall in right center. Kelso stepped to the plate with the infield drawn in and drove a single up the middle to bring White home for a 3-2 Houston lead.
That would be enough, as William Kankel and Donnie Joseph each pitched an inning of shutout baseball in relief of starter Goodnight. Goodnight took the win, and Joseph picked up the save. DJ Mauldin took the loss for Cal Poly and his strong outing was overshadowed by the effort of the Houston staff. Mauldin tossed an eight inning complete game, giving up three runs (two earned) and nine hits while striking out thirteen Cougar hitters.
Rayne Noble was impressed with his teams performance calling it “an about face from the first two games of the series.” Noble said “It all starts with starting pitchers throwing strikes. I have to give Goodnight a lot of credit for going that deep. He hasn’t thrown that many innings.” Goodnight had only thrown eight total innings in three appearances this year before Sunday’s game.
The 3-2 victory by the Cougars snapped their eight game losing streak and brought their record to 3-10 on the season. They will return to action on Tuesday when Sam Houston State comes to town for a mid-week contest. Cal Poly leaves Houston with a series victory and an 8-2 overall mark on the season. The Mustangs will travel back to their home state for a mid-week game at Pepperdine on Tuesday.