Feb. 2, 2013
HOUSTON -- Houston Baseball greats of past and present graced Cougar Field for the second straight year to take part in Fan Appreciation Day/Alumni Game in preparation for the 2013 season opener on February 15 vs. Northeastern.
Over 1,000 fans swarmed the stands of Cougar Field to get a sneak peak of what is to come from the 2013 Houston Baseball team under third-year head coach Todd Whitting on the beautiful February day. Prizes of signed memorabilia were given away via contests at the end of each inning and kids were encouraged to participate as Anthem Buddies, Run the Bases and in the post-game autograph session that featured all 35 current Cougars and several MLB players.
Interaction among the former and current players and coaches began about three hours prior to the 1 p.m. start and concluded with an autograph session highlighting this year's ball club.
"It was great to have all the former players back at the University of Houston for our Alumni Game," Whitting said. "It was a great turnout once again. Two years ago this became the Alumni Game and Fan Appreciation Day as well, and to have this crowd out was really great."
Over 60 former players were welcomed back by the program, ranging from members of the 1967 World Series team to drafted professionals from the 2012 team a year ago.
The 2013 Cougars walked away with a 9-0 shutout win over the Alumni, which featured greats and current professional players like Jesse Crain, Garrett Mock, Caleb Ramsey, Mo Wiley and John Cannon. Other big leaguers in Brad Lincoln, Doug Drabek and Woody Williams joined in on the day's activities.
It was the second straight year where the current squad blanked the Alumni, which shows promising signs as the 2013 Cougars faced professional arms in Crain, Mock and Wiley on the bump Saturday.
The Houston pitching staff held the Alumni scoreless through seven frames as senior Matt Hernandez, junior Daniel Poncedeleon, sophomore Aaron Garza, junior Chase Wellbrock, freshman Jake Lemoine and juniors Tyler Ford and Dylan Rucker see action on the mound.
Several Cougars picked up a multi-hit game, led by junior transfer and catcher Caleb Barker, who finished the day with three hits. Other Cougars contributing at the plate included junior Landon Appling (homerun) and sophomores Price Jacobs (triple) and Michael Pyeatt (double). Freshmen Kyle Kirk (double) and Justin Montemayor also showed well in their collegiate debuts.
"I know it's a sign of things to come this season. It was really good to get all the old guys back and bring them back home," Whitting said. "We saw a pretty good test with (Jesse) Crain, (Garrett) Mock and some of those Major Leaguers and upper level minor leaguers. It was a good day. I thought the team played well. We went out there with great effort and enthusiasm, and had a great attitude all day."
The Cougars will then open their 2013 season officially at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15 by hosting Northeastern University in a three-game series (Feb. 15-17) at Cougar Field. For more of the latest news and highlights, visit www.UHCougars.com.
Stay up to date with all Houston Baseball news and highlights by following us on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at /HoustonCougarBaseball. Fans can also follow head coach Todd Whitting @toddwhitting on Twitter.
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