Baseball Opens Eight-Game Homestand vs. Northwestern State this Weekend
March 1, 2007
HOUSTON - The University of Houston baseball team opens a season-long, eight-game homestand this weekend as it plays host to Northwestern State in a three-game, non-conference series at Cougar Field.
The series opens at 7 p.m., Friday before wrapping up with 1 p.m., games on both Saturday and Sunday. All Cougar Baseball games can be heard live on UHCougars.com with former UH letterwinner Nick Torina calling the play-by-play action and Pat Cauley providing color analysis. To access the free broadcast, fans should click on the "Schedules and Results" link on the baseball main page. From there, fans can click on the "Audio Broadcasts" link, which will bring up the 2007 radio schedule.
Fans also can follow live stats via the Internet by clicking the "Gametracker" link on the UH front page or on the Cougar Baseball schedule page.
UH comes into the series after a surprising 4-3 loss to Texas-San Antonio on Tuesday at Wolff Stadium in San Antonio. The Roadrunners scored three runs in the seventh inning to rally and snap an eight-game losing streak to the Cougars.
Sophomore righthander Luis Flores will take the hill for the Cougars in the series opener against Northwestern State. This season, the Del Rio native has struck out two batters with a 7.94 ERA in 5.2 innings of relief.
Flores was impressive coming out of the bullpen against host Dallas Baptist during the second day of the Southwest Diamond Classic on Feb. 23. He allowed only two hits with a strikeouts in three shutout innings but did not collect a decision as the Patriots broke a tie in the bottom of the inning and held on in a 5-3 DBU win.
Friday's game will be Flores' first start from the mound during the 2007 season. His previous last start against then-No. 11 Tulane during the semifinals of the 2006 C-USA Tournament at Reckling Park in Houston. He helped lead the Cougars into the C-USA Tournament title game after holding the Green Wave to only three hits with seven strikeouts in earning the shutout victory.
Friday's game will be Flores' first career appearance against Northwestern State on the mound. However, he has batted .667 (2-for-3) with a run, double and RBI in one game at the plate against the Demons.
In addition to his pitching duties, Flores is a regular in the Cougar lineup. This season, the Del Rio native already has started games at catcher, DH, left field and right field.
To date, he has assembled a .262 batting average with a team-best four home runs and nine RBIs.
Sophomore DH Jimmy Cesario tops the Cougars with a .420 batting average, while junior infielder Ryan Lormand is second with a .370 mark. Senior infielders Dustin Kingsbury and Josh Stirneman are tied for the team lead with 14 RBIs apiece.
For the second straight season, the Cougars will meet Northwestern State on the baseball diamond. The Cougars own a 24-8 (.750) advantage in the all-time series, which began in 1947.
UH lost that first meeting in 1947 by a 3-0 margin but proceeded to win the next nine games. The Cougars also enjoyed a 10-game winning streak against the Demons from 1981 to 1991.
The Cougars have posted an 18-6 (.750) record against the Demons in Houston. However, NSU has been a formidable opponent in recent non-conference series against the Cougars, winning 2-of-3 in both the 2003 and 1995 series.
The two teams have split the last four games in Houston with the Cougars taking a 12-3 win on Feb. 22, 2006, in the most recent meeting.
NSU (4-8) comes into the series after dropping a 10-5 decision at No. 29 Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday. Sophomore righthander Jimmy Heard is scheduled to start on the mound in the series opener. This season, Heard has posted an 0-1 record with 15 strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA in 18.0 innings.
Freshman utility player Chase Lyles tops the Demons with a .313 batting average, while junior first baseman Mike Jaworski leads the team with three home runs. Junior shortstop Brandon Richey leads all players with nine RBIs.