Baseball Trio Named to Perfect Game Preseason Team

Feb. 6, 2014

HOUSTON – Houston Baseball sophomore third baseman Justin Montemayor, senior shortstop Frankie Ratcliff and junior outfielder Michael Pyeatt have been named to the Perfect Game All-American Athletic Conference Preseason Team as the Cougars were tabbed to finish second by the national baseball organization.

The trio represents Houston on the list during the inaugural 2014 season in the American Athletic Conference. The Cougars were projected by Kendall Rogers and Perfect Game to finish second behind 2013 NCAA World Series participant Louisville.

1.     Louisville (50-14)
2.    Houston (36-22)
3.     UConn (35-28)
4.     USF (36-22)
5.     UCF (29-30)
6.     Memphis (35-24)
7.     Cincinnati (24-32)
8.     Rutgers (28-30)
9.     Temple (18-28)

Montemayor, Ratcliff, and Pyeatt all return after helping the Cougars to a 36-22 record in 2013.

C – Kyle Gibson, Sr., Louisville
1B – Tucker Tubbs, Jr., Memphis
2B – Ian Happ, So., Cincinnati
3B – Justin Montemayor, So., Houston
SS – Frankie Ratcliff, Sr., Houston
OF – Jeff Gardner, Sr., Louisville
OF – Michael Pyeatt, Jr., Houston
OF – Vinny Zarrillo, Jr., Rutgers
DH – Justin Glass, Sr., Cincinnati
UT – Cole Sturgeon, Sr., Louisville
SP – Kyle Funkhouser, So., Louisville
SP – Jimmy Herget, So., USF
SP – Joe Filomeno, Jr., Louisville
RP – Nick Burdi, Jr., Louisville
Player of the Year: Ian Happ, 2B, Cincinnati
Pitcher of the Year: Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville
Top Freshman: Drew Harrington, LHP, Louisville
Top Newcomer: Casey Mulholland, RHP, USF
ABOUT Justin Montemayor – from 2013
Wrapped up arguably one of the best freshman campaigns in Houston Baseball history...Was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American at first base to cap off an award-winning season...Named C-USA Freshman of the Year - just the second all-time in program history...Started and played all 58 games for the Cougars at first base...Led Houston in average (.329), hits (73), runs scored (42), homeruns (3) and slugged .432 to accompany his 10 doubles and three triples...Fielding a strong first base for a .988 percentage...Broke Houston freshman all-time records in chances (575) and putouts (536)...Ranked first in C-USA in chances, putouts, fourth in runs scored, fifth in hits and average and 10th in total bases...Hit .337 in C-USA play with 29 hits and 10 RBI...Led Houston with 22 multi-hit games and finished third on team with eight multi-RBI games...Ended 2013 on an active 15-game on-base reaching streak...Hit a homerun in his first ever collegiate at-bat in Houston's season opener vs. Northeastern (Feb. 15)...Tallied a season-high four hits, twice, in win over New Orleans (March 15) and in a 4-for-4 effort with two RBI in C-USA Championship win over East Carolina (May 23)...Drove in three on two hits, including a homerun at Marshall (April 7)...Had two hits in a win over No. 30 Texas A&M at the College Classic (March 1), three knocks in win over Baylor (March 16)...Had a span of seven two-hit games in 10 contests from April 26 to May 11...Maintained a .300 or better average from March 1 to end of season
ABOUT Frankie Ratcliff – from 2013
Was instrumental in Houston's success during his first season as a Cougar...Named C-USA Newcomer of the Year - just the second time a Cougar has won that honor in program history...Started and played in all 58 games at shortstop for the Cougars...Ranked second in the nation and led C-USA with eight triples - tying the UH single-season all-time record...Hit .300 with 63 hits and 38 runs scored...Led Houston and ranked among the league leaders with 44 RBI...Tallied a team-best .467 slugging percentage led by eight triples and team-high 13 doubles and two homeruns...Walked 37 times to just 36 strikeouts for a .398 on-base percentage...Was 11-for-12 in stolen bases...Led Houston in C-USA games with a .353 average to rank among the best in league play...Drove in 16 on seven doubles and five triples...Ranked second-best on the team with 16 multi-hit games and 10 multi-RBI games...Tallied a 14-game on-base reaching streak...Notched nine three-hit games...Drove in a season-high five RBI in win over Texas Southern (April 16)...Belted first homerun as a Cougar in win over No. 30 Texas A&M at the College Classic (March 1)...Went 3-for-4 in that game...Drove in four on two hits in win over Penn State (March 6)...Walked with the bases loaded to score the eventual game-winning run vs. Texas (March 19)...Went 3-for-3 with two RBI, a triple and double in win over East Carolina (March 22)...Hit two triples and drove in three RBI on three hits in win over Rice (April 19)...Teamed up to turn 21 double plays
ABOUT Michael Pyeatt – from 2013
Had his second .300+ season, finishing with a .313 average for second-best on the team...Appeared in 49 games and made 41 starts in the outfield and as the Cougars' designated hitter...Finished year with 41 hits, 17 runs scored and 21 RBI...Led Houston with a .434 on-base percentage to rank among the league's best...Tallied 27 walks to his 17 strikeouts...Slugged .405 with six doubles and three triples...Made just one error for a .979 fielding percentage...Finished with 10 RBI in league play and didn't commit an error...Had the third-longest on-base streak at 17 consecutive games...Notched 13 multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games...Had a season-high three hits, twice, vs. Penn State (March 6) and vs. Texas A&M-CC (March 10)...Average never dipped below .300 from April 28 to the end of the season...Had a six-game hit streak from April 26-May 4, where he was 10-for-16 with two runs scored, five RBI and five walks...Finished second-best on team with nine sacrifice bunts and racked up the third-most walks with 27

Along with naming an All-Conference Team, Perfect Game also listed a Top 15 list for projected drafted players. Junior RHP Aaron Garza was tabbed a Top 5 draft pick out of the American Athletic Conference this season. Perfect Game projected the righty to go in rounds 6-10.

1. Nick Burdi, rhp, Louisville (Round 1)
2. Connor Walsh, rhp, Cincinnati (3-5)
3. Joe Filomeno, lhp, Louisville (3-5)
4. Eric Skoglund, rhp, Central Florida (4-8)
5. Aaron Garza, rhp, Houston (6-10)
Also projected as a 2015 draft pick and among the Top 10 are sophomore RHP Jake Lemoine and Montemayor.
1. Kyle Funkhouser, rhp, Louisville (Round 1)
2. Ian Happ, of, Cincinnati (Round 1)
3. Jacob Lemoine, rhp, Houston (3-5)
4. Jimmy Herget, rhp/of, South Florida (6-10)
5. Zac Favre, rhp, Central Florida (6-10)
6. Colin Lee, lhp, Memphis (8-12)
7. Max McDowell, c, Connecticut (10-15)
8. Mitch Patishall, rhp, Cincinnati (12-18)
9. Justin Montemayor, 1b/3b, Houston (12-18)
10. Kameron Gellinger, ss, Central Florida (12-18)
ABOUT Aaron Garza – from 2013
Made 13 starts for the Cougars' pitching staff...Primarily saw action as Houston's midweek starter, while making a few late C-USA starts...Finished with a 5-5 record and a 3.88 ERA...Struck out 43 in 67.1 innings, walking just 18...Was 3-0 through his first five starts...Recorded wins over Houston Baptist (Feb. 27), at Baylor (March 12), vs. Texas (March 19), Texas Southern (April 16) and vs. UAB (May 12)...Best start came in 5.1 inning, six strikeout effort vs. Texas at Cougar Field...Didn't allow an earned run or a walk in the performance...Went on to strikeout six in a 6.1 inning no-decision at Tulane (May 5) and a career-long 7.0 inning win over UAB (May 12)...Didn't allow a walk through the first 18.0 innings of the year...Was instrumental in Houston's 10-3 midweek record
ABOUT Jake Lemoine – from 2013
Put together one of the most productive seasons by a freshman pitcher at Houston of late...Finished second-best on team with seven wins - just one shy of the UH freshman all-time win record...Was 7-4 with a 3.49 ERA...Made 18 appearances and 10 starts in debut season...Totaled 69.2 innings...Struck out 45...Held opposing hitters to a .266 average...Opened 2013 with a 4-0 record through first eight starts...Recorded first collegiate win in relief at Sam Houston State (Feb. 19) in a 3.0-inning, two hit effort...Second win came at Texas State (Feb. 24) in his second 3.0-inning relief performance...Notched third win vs. Penn State (March 5) and fourth in first collegiate start vs. Texas A&M-CC (March 10)...Didn't allow an earned run in first five appearances, totaling 13.1 innings...Earned starting role during C-USA play and notched a win at Marshall (April 7)...Tossed 2.0 hitless innings at Texas (April 23)...Finished season with two impressive midweek starts, earning two wins over Louisiana (April 30) and at McNeese State (May 7)...Notched a season-high eight strikeouts in a season-long 8.0 innings at McNeese State...Pitched 6.1 solid innings, allowing two earned runs - after retiring 16 straight hitters in final game of season vs. Tulane at the C-USA Championship...Struck out 21 hitters in final four appearances

Head coach Todd Whitting and his coaching staff have done a terrific job in restoring order at UH, and this team should return to the NCAA postseason. The Cougars have a projectable staff ace in right hander Aaron Garza, who's expected to have a strong junior campaign. Garza has a loose arm and gained some good weight in the offseason, while he's followed in the weekend rotation by rising righty Jake Lemoine and talented freshman Andrew Lantrip. Lemoine is consistently 90-93 with his fastball with some good run, while his slider and changeup have become solid pitches, while Lantrip was a highly touted prospect as a high school senior, and sits low-90s with a hard-nosed attitude. Closer Chase Wellbrock is another quality arm to watch. He's only 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, but loves to attack hitters ... Offensively, the Cougars welcome back gritty Frankie Ratcliff, while the return of previously injured Casey Grayson and Jacob Lueneburg is huge. Both had strong falls at the plate. Also keep an eye on Ashford Fulmer, who showed good offensive skills in the fall with good overall power.

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Houston Baseball is less than two weeks away from the start of the 2014 season. The Cougars will welcome Nicholls State to Cougar Field on Feb. 14-16 for a three-game, opening weekend set. Game times are slated for 6:30 p.m. (Friday), 6:30 p.m. (Saturday), 1 p.m. (Sunday).

Come out and support YOUR Cougars and take advantage of all the promotional days, including FRIDAY FRENZY, Bingo at the Ballpark (Saturday) and Kids Day (Sunday).

Any kid 8th grade and under wearing a Houston Baseball Camp t-shirt to any home game will received FREE ADMISSION!

Houston Baseball will once again take advantage of its home crowd by playing 33 home games at Cougar Field, including seven of the first eight games. Following a trip to California, the Cougars will return home to host the next 13 games during the month of March, which includes Baylor, Rice and the opening of conference play with Memphis.

Houston will open its 2014 slate by hosting Nicholls State in a three-game series on Feb. 14-16. This year will mark the first time since 1988 these two programs have met on the diamond with Houston owning a 28-13 overall record.

Houston is also set to host non-conference opponents Michigan (Feb. 21-23) - for the first time since 1998, McNeese State (Feb. 26), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (March 4), Baylor (March 11), Towson (March 14-16), College of Charleston (March 21-23), Texas State (April 8), Sam Houston State (April 22) and Prairie View A&M (May 6).

The Cougars will compete for the first time in the inaugural American Athletic Conference and will welcome Memphis (March 28-30), Louisville (April 11-13), USF (April 17-19), and UCF (May 2-4) to Cougar Field as part of league play.

By visiting UHCougars.com, clicking the Tickets link and following the appropriate links or by clicking here, fans can begin purchasing and requesting specific seats within the friendly confines of Cougar Field.

Reserved Houston Baseball season tickets will be allocated after the renewal deadline (Friday, January 17, 2014). General Admission seats include 33 "Anytime Tickets". You may use one ticket to each home game, 33 tickets to one game, or any combination in between.

General Admission season tickets start for as low as $150 (33 home games/$4.50 per ticket), while Reserved season tickets start at only $200 (33 home games/$6.00 per ticket).

Families can purchase the Family Plan for just $399, which includes two adult and two youth General Admission tickets to each of the 33 home games. The Family Plan does not include the "Anytime Tickets" package.

Fans also can purchase season tickets by visiting or calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275).

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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