PREVIEW: Baseball Travels to Face USC, UCLA, Pepperdine
March 6, 2014
HOUSTON – Set to make its first road trip of the season away from the city, Houston Baseball will head west to play three games over the weekend against USC (Friday at 8 p.m. CT-Los Angeles, Calif.), No. 9 UCLA (Saturday at 4 p.m. CT-Los Angeles, Calif.) and Pepperdine (Sunday at 1 p.m. CT-Malibu, Calif.).
The three-game weekend is known as the ‘Dodgertown Classic’.
QUICK HITS ON HOUSTON
After his six-hit night, Ratcliff leads the team in average with a .364 clip and RBI with seven. Senior teammate Casey Grayson follows with a .333 clip and five RBI, while sophomore Kyle Survance is hitting .295. As a team, the Cougars are hitting .267.
Houston is led by its stellar pitching staff that leads the nation with an 0.73 ERA and six shutouts in 11 games to lead the nation in both categories. The staff has allowed just eight earned runs in 98.0 innings, accompanied by its 81 strikeouts and just 12 walks – holding opponents to a .175 clip.
Junior weekend starter Aaron Garza is 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA in 22.0 innings. He was just honored as the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week – the third straight weekly pitching honor for the Cougars this season as well as being tabbed the Houston College Classic Most Valuable Player (MVP).
He is joined by starters Jake Lemoine (1-1) and Jared West (1-0) with wins, while the bullpen has been exceptional, led by senior Tyler Ford (0.00 ERA, 10.0 IP, 1-0) and senior closer Chase Wellbrock (0.00 ERA, 3 saves, 7.1 IP, 9 K). Wellbrock begins the weekend with 15 career saves and is just one save away from tying the Houston all-time saves record at 16, set by Ryan Wagner back in 2002-03.
QUICK HITS ON SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (USC)
USC is hitting .295 as a team, led by two .400+ hitters in Jake Hernandez (.486) and Jeff Paschke (.400). Leading the way with eight RBI are Kevin Swick (.396) and Dante Flores (.262). The team has recorded 71 strikeouts to its 37 walks, while swiping 10-of-16 bags. The defense is solid with an impressive .991 fielding percentage on just four errors.
The Trojan pitching staff owns a staff ERA of 2.42 and has held its opponents to a .227 average through 11 games, posting 82 strikeouts and 48 walks. LHP Bob Wheatley (0.47, 19 IP, 17 K) and RHP James Guillen (2.35, 7.2 IP, 2 K) both have two wins. Houston will face LHP Kyle Twomey, who is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts. He has logged 10.0 innings and recorded 10 strikeouts and three walks.
HOUSTON vs. USC
QUICK HITS ON UCLA
UCLA is hitting .238 as a team, led by Shane Zeile’s .359 average. Trent Chatterton paces the team with eight RBI, while Zeile has seven RBI to his name for second-most on the team.
The Bruins’ pitching staff is the backbone of their team, owning a 2.62 ERA, led by two wins from RHP James Kaprielian (0.90 ERA, 2-1, 20.0 IP, 27 K) and LHP Grant Watson (2.37 ERA, 2-1, 19.0 IP, 18 K). All-American closer RHP David Berg (2.08 ERA, 1-0, 13.0 IP, 10 K) leads the team with three saves.
Houston is scheduled to face Watson on Saturday afternoon.
HOUSTON vs. UCLA
QUICK HITS ON PEPPERDINE
Pepperdine is hitting .289 on the year, led by Aaron Barnett’s .426 clip and Brandon Caurso’s .370 average. Aaron Brown is hitting .354 with a team-leading 13 RBI and .563 slugging percentage.
The Waves pitching staff owns a 2.45 ERA with LHP Aaron Brown (4.12 ERA, 2-0, 19.2 IP, 23 K), RHP Jackson McClelland (4.32 ERA, 2-1, 16.2 IP, 7 K) and RHP Eric Karch (0.00 ERA, 2-0, 9.2 IP, 11 K) with two wins apiece.
Brown is slated to start against Houston on Sunday.
HOUSTON vs. PEPPERDINE
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
Saturday, March 8
Premium games begin as low as $7 for youth and $10 for adults in general admission seating (Level 200) and as low as $12 for youth and $15 for adults in reserved seating (Level 100).
By visiting UHCougars.com, clicking the Tickets link, and then Purchase Tickets, while following the appropriate links to the Baseball page or by clicking here, fans can purchase tickets for to this game at Cougar Field.