The Houston Cougars add Tramon Mark, Jamal Shead and Kiyron Powell on National Signing Day.

Houston Cougars welcome new players on signing day

The Houston Cougars just kicked off their 2019-20 college basketball season, but that does not mean head coach Kelvin Sampson is not preparing for the future. On Wednesday, the Cougars announced the signings of Tramon Mark, Jamal Shead and Kiyron Powell, three high school recruits who will be attending the University of Houston during the fall of 2020.

Tramon Mark, a 6'4 combo guard from Dickinson, TX, comes to Houston as the Cougars' top recruit. He is currently ranked 67th in the national (third in the state of Texas), according to 24/7 Mark averaged 26.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists during his junior year, as he was named to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 6A All-State Team honors last season.

Mark will be attending Houston alongside another Texas native, Jamal Shead. As a junior guard at Manor High School in Manor, TX, Shead led his school to the 2019 state tournament averaging 18.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Shead comes to Houston ranked as the sixth-best player in the state and the 20th best point guard in the nation.

While Houston added one of the most exciting backcourts in the country, Sampson and his staff did not forget about adding some much-needed depth to their front court.

Next fall, the Cougars will welcome Kiyron Powell to their program, a 6'10 forward from Indiana. According to 24/7, Powell is held as one of the top rim protectors in the nation, averaging 6.8 blocks per game. Ranked as the sixth-best player in the state of Indiana and the 21st big man in the county, Powell became an all-star during his junior season averaging 10.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.

After signing one four-star recruit (Mark) and two three-star (Shead & Powell), the Houston Cougars will have one of the nation's Top-20 recruiting classes of 2020.

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After the Mariners came alive late in Monday's series opener to hand the Houston the loss and keep their playoff picture hanging in the balance, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Tuesday to try and decrease their magic number. Here's how the middle game went:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 1.

Record: 28-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Casey Sadler (1-2, 5.40 ERA).

Both teams trade first-inning runs

The Astros struck first in Tuesday's game, not waiting around until the ninth inning to get on the board. Instead, they jumped out to an immediate 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the top of the first. The Mariners responded quickly, though, getting a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning before a two-out RBI-double of their own to tie it 1-1.

Astros score five in the sixth

The 1-1 score held all the way until the top of the sixth when the Astros would flip the script from the night prior, taking advantage of some mistakes by Seattle to put up a big inning. First, Michael Brantley started the inning with a solo go-ahead homer to make it 2-1. Then, Kyle Tucker would get his third hit of the night with one out before eventually scoring after a walk and two wild pitches, making it 3-2. With two walks to keep the inning alive and put some insurance runs on base, Martin Maldonado took advantage with a big three-run home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

Valdez finishes seven strong, Astros even series

After allowing the one run in the bottom of the first, Framber Valdez recovered and put together a solid outing on the mound. He allowed just five hits total, two of which came in the first, then back-to-back singles in the fourth and a single in the fifth, while otherwise keeping the Mariners at bay. He would end up completing seven innings of one-run baseball while striking out eight. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 108 P.

After Valdez, Enoli Paredes would take over in the bottom of the eighth, working around a leadoff single to get a scoreless inning to keep it 6-1. In the non-save situation, Josh James would come in for the bottom of the ninth and finish off the win for Houston.

Up Next: The finale and rubber game of this three-game set will start a bit earlier on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:40 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Nick Margevicius (1-3, 5.35 ERA) for the Mariners going against Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.90 ERA) for the Astros.

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