Used as closer for last two seasons...Solid closer who throws a lot of strikes and doesn’t beat himself...Demeanor reminds coaches of San Diego Padre Trevor Hoffmann.
Came out of the bullpen in 12 games before being felled by injuries... Threw only 12.0 innings but struck out 13 batters while allowing 14 hits... Collected a team-best-tying three saves to move higher in the Cougar career record book... Struck out a season-best three batters during two out of three appearances midway through the season...Tallied his strikeout total against Conference USA rival Southern Miss (March 16) and at C-USA rival Memphis (March 23)...Earned his three saves in back-to-back-to-back appearances against Southern Miss (March 16), Rice (March 21) and at Memphis (March 23).
Recorded the lowest ERA (1.82) on a Cougar staff that finished eighth in the nation in team ERA (3.58) ...was a candidate to rank among the NCAA leaders in ERA, missing only the minimum number of innings by 10.1 frames (an average of less-than two-thirds-of-an-inning per week)...co-led the team in games-pitched (30)...every appearance was out of the bullpen, which led the team...began the year as the UH closer, notching two saves in his first four outings, but soon found he was even more effective as the step-up man because his style is not focused on strikeouts...did not allow any runs for 18.1 consecutive innings over a span of in 12 appearances from February 22 to March 26...came right back in his next outing two days later and began another streak of 11.1 consecutive scoreless innings in nine outings from March 28 to May 14...held opposing batters to a composite .245 batting average...allowed only 1.8 walks and 7.9 hits per 9.0 innings of work...only 43 of 143 batters he faced reached base by a hit or walk...recorded saves against nationally-ranked Baylor on the road, NCAA Regional participant Southwest Texas State and Sam Houston State... compiled a perfect 4-0 record with wins in relief over College World Series participant USC, nationally-ranked Arizona and Conference USA foes Louisville and Charlotte...entered the Charlotte game (March 19) in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded and nobody out in a 2-2 game...proceeded to induce a 5-2-3 double-play ground ball and a soft 5-3 grounder to retire the side without any runs scored (and a subsequent UH run in the top of the fifth put him on his way to his third win)...earned his first win as a Cougar on the road at No. 5 ranked USC (March 12), firing 3.1 shutout innings to help the Cougars complete a three-game sweep of the Trojans...met and talked relief pitching with major league closer Trevor Hoffman in an exhibition game against the San Diego Padres the next day and then came back to record a win over Arizona in Tucson the day after (March 14) during a road trip through Pac-10 country...notched win No. 4 at the C-USA Tournament by working a perfect top of the ninth in the opening round against Louisville...appeared in three different C-USA Tournament games, the Regional vs. Princeton and twice in the Super Regional...did not allow a run in any NCAA Tournament games...pitched in five games against four opponents that reached the College World Series, holding each scoreless on three hits in a combined 6.1 innings...ERA was a steady 2.95 in 18.1 frames against quality teams that advanced to regional play...maintained an eye-opening 0.57 ERA in 15.2 innings in 11 different appearances on the road.
Had the lowest ERA of any freshman on the pitching staff...was called out of the bullpen 15 times, the fourth-most relief appearances by any Cougar...pitched twice in the C-USA Tournament...maintained an ERA of 4.00 in Conference USA games, working 9.0 innings in eight appearances...notched his first career save against C-USA rival Saint Louis (April 10)...had a one-run lead with runners on second and third, and struck out looking the only Billiken he faced...fanned nine hitters overall including a season-high two batters twice: vs. Charlotte and Memphis ...pitched 2.0 scoreless innings twice: at Memphis and at home against UAB... worked a season-long 2.2 frames against Sam Houston State... walked only four of the 75 batters he faced, the best ratio on the team and an average of only 2.04 per nine innings...was the pitcher of record in the Cougars’ NCAA record-tying 22-inning game vs. Baylor...came back a week later and held the heavy-hitting Bears to no runs on three hits for 1.2 innings.
All-District 12-5A selection in baseball at Nacogdoches High School in Nacogdoches, Texas...helped team to a 27-5 record and district championship ...was named the tournament MVP of the Pete Runnels Shootout in Lufkin, Texas...also earned a varsity letter for football, playing both running back and linebacker...member of the all-district academic team and Fellowship of Christian Athletes...was also recruited by Baylor, Tulane, Texas Tech and Texas.
Born October 2, 1979, in Houston...parents are John and Missy Hooper...full name is John Matthew Hooper but prefers to use middle name...nickname is “Hoop”..criminal justice major...enjoys hunting, fishing and playing golf.