HOUSTON -- Highlighting the 2013 Houston Baseball outfield is junior centerfielder Landon Appling, who returns for his third year. Two returners and two newcomers, who look to make immediate impacts in the grass, will join Appling.
Speed and agility will be the key attributes this spring for the Houston outfield. Appling's presence and the corner outfielders' ability to cover ground will play an integral role in keeping extra base hits to a minimum.
A Preseason All-Conference USA honoree and 2012 C-USA All-Tournament Team selection, Appling will be look upon by the coaching staff to spearhead the defense as the most veteran Houston Cougar position player.
"I'm really excited about our ball club up the middle, especially in centerfield with Appling," Whitting said. "He is what makes our team go. He is one of the best defensive centerfielder I've had. Landon has taken that leadership role and ran with it."
CENTERFIELD Landon Appling | Junior-2L | El Campo, Texas | El Campo HS · Has seen action at centerfield and second base in two-year career · Named a 2013 Preseason All-Conference USA outfield selection; ColllegeSportsMadness.com's First Team All-C-USA Team · Led team in 2012 with 61 hits, 32 runs scored and three homeruns · Drove in a team-best 16 RBI on 30 hits in league play in 2012 · Reached base safely in 21 consecutive games; had a season-long 11 game hit streak in 2012 · Tied C-USA Tourn. record with five hits in a single game vs. Southern Miss (May 24, 2012) · Led team with a .615 average on eight hits and five runs scored in 2012 C-USA Championship · Made first career start on Opening Day in 2011 vs. UTSA at Cougar Field · Ranked second in C-USA and first on the team with 22-of-24 in stolen bases (2011)
Whitting will use the left field position to play multiple guys early as sophomore returners Michael Pyeatt, an All-Conference USA All-Freshman Team honoree in 2012 returns, along with Price Jacobs, a 2012 starter as a true freshman.
LEFT FIELD Michael Pyeatt | Sophomore-1L | Lake Jackson, Texas | Brazoswood HS · Was a 2012 Conference USA All-Freshman Team honoree · Started 24 of the 26 games he appeared in as a true freshman in 2012 · Hit .326 to finish second-best on the team · Made 15 starts in Conference USA play · Led the Cougars with a .362 average in league games · Five of the eight multi-hit games came with three hits · Rode an eight-game hit streak (April 13-27)
Price Jacobs | Sophomore-1L | Baytown, Texas | Goose Creek Memorial HS · Opened 2012 as a starter in left field as a true freshman · Played all three outfield positions and designated hitter throughout the season · Led Houston will 11 doubles · Belted first career homerun vs. Delaware (Feb. 19) · Recorded 12 multi-hit games · Went 5-for-11 with seven RBI and five runs scored in Delaware series
Right field will be manned by medical redshirt freshman Ashford Fulmer, who missed the entire 2012 season after a wrist injury during preseason practice.
"Ashford is a plus-plus defender," Whitting said. "He is a kid that I can see, a couple of years down the road, being a high draft pick and playing at a very high level when he does move on into professional baseball."
"Along with Landon, Ashford has the ability to cover a great deal of territory in the outfield. He is one of those kids that can change games with his defense and on top of that, he is a plus thrower. Having him back this year will help stabilize the outfield a bit."
RIGHT FIELD Ashford Fulmer | Freshman-Redshirt | Cypress, Texas | Cy-Ranch HS · Earned a medical redshirt during 2012 season · Made the USA Baseball Breakthrough Series roster in 2010 · Was part of the TASO Championship team · Participated in the RBI World Series in Orlando, Fla. in 2010
"Kyle Survance is a young player that I am extremely excited about who will see some time out there as well," Whitting said. "We will start easing him into the mix and start his development, because I think down the road, he is going to be one of our top players in our program."
UTILITY OUTFIELDERS Kyle Survance | Freshman | Jersey Village, Texas | Jersey Village HS · Helped Jersey Village HS team to a Bi-District Championship title in 2011 · Earned First Team All-District honors, honored as Team's MVP as a senior · Named to Houston Area All-Star team and All-State team in 2012 · Earned Second Team All-District honors, named NABF Offensive MVP and All-Tournament team in 2011 · Honored as a Second Team All-District winner and on the Second Team All-Houston in 2010
"You could see Jonathan [Davis] out in left or right field a little bit," Whitting said. "He will start out as our designated hitter going into the season, but he does have the ability to play either one of those corner outfield positions."
Jonathan Davis | Junior-2L | Missouri City, Texas | Elkins HS · Served primarily as the Cougars' designated hitter in 2012 · Played five games in right field last season · Finished second-best on the team with a .361 average in C-USA play (2012) · Had 10 multi-hit games; slugged .472 in league games · Rode a six-game hit streak (March 23-April 1) · Had four multi-RBI games; doubled seven times for third-most on team · Made appearances in left field and as a pinch hitter during freshman season (2011)
Stay tuned for the pitchers/catchers preview to be released on Thursday.
UP NEXT The Cougars will 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.
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