PREVIEW: Baseball Opens Conference Play at Home

March 26, 2014

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Game Notes

HOUSTON – Set to open American Athletic Conference play this weekend and wrap up its 13-game homestand, No. 15 Houston Baseball will welcome Memphis to Cougar Field for a three-game set, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. The series will continue on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and conclude at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The Cougars, with a record of 20-4, will embark on its first weekend of conference play in the inaugural year of the American Athletic Conference. League play began last weekend, but Houston played out-of-conference during that first bye weekend.  

Watch Live: All three games will be available via a live web stream on UHCougars.com for a small fee.
Listen Live: All three games will be FREE to listen over UHCougars.com
GameTracker: All three of games will be available on GameTracker.

Houston is coming off its fifth straight win, capturing the Silver Glove Series vs. Rice after winning 6-2 on Tuesday evening at Cougar Field. The Cougars, for the first time in 14 years, brought the ‘Glove’ back to the University of Houston. In that win, the Cougars rode the arm of senior reliever Tyler Ford – who went 4.2 innings without allowing a run after Houston posted a six-spot on the Owls in the first inning.

No. 15 Houston enters the weekend series with a 20-4 overall record and has won nine of its last 10 games. The Cougars will look for its sixth weekend series win of the year and its fifth straight weekend sweep after becoming the first team in program history to open a season with four straight home weekend sweeps.

Along with its 20-4 record, the Cougars are an impressive 16-1 at Cougar Field – marking the best home start since a 32-1 mark in 1989.

Houston’s pitching staff has been the backbone of this team, led by junior Aaron Garza, who has been the driving force behind the starting rotation. The Galveston, Texas native is 6-0 in six starts for an ERA of 1.17. He is the first Cougar to win his first six starts since Keith Whately notched that feat back in 2002.

Sophomore Jake Lemoine is 4-1 with a 0.93 ERA and leads the staff with 32 punchouts in 38.2 innings. Sophomore Jared West picked up his second win of the year on Sunday, striking out a career-high 11 in a career-long 8.0 innings to be named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll.

Out of the pen, Houston’s go-to guys have been senior Tyler Ford (0.78 ERA, 3-0, 23.0 IP, 10 K), junior Jared Robinson (2.08 ERA, 2-1, 17.1 IP, 17 K) and senior Chase Wellbrock (0.00 ERA, 0-0, 14.1 IP, 17 K), who became Houston’s all-time saves leader earlier this year – and now has six in his eight appearances this season.

The staff holds the nation’s best ERA at 1.55 with a WHIP of 0.87 to sit atop the national rankings. The Cougars have fanned 168 hitters, while walking just 35 in 215.0 innings. They have also managed to hold their opponents to a .200 average.

Offensively, Houston is hitting .274 with 106 RBI and 46 extra-base hits. Junior Michael Pyeatt paces the team with a .333 average, while sophomore Kyle Survance follows with his team-best 31 hits. Five Cougars have multi-RBI to their names, led by senior Caleb Barker’s 16. Senior Frankie Ratcliff and sophomore Josh Vidales are first and second in runs scored with 19 and 18, respectively.

As a team, Houston has drawn 121 walks – averaging just over 5.00 a game, while swiping 30-of-40 bases.

Memphis heads to Houston for the weekend series, holding a record of 15-9 and a 1-2 mark in American Athletic Conference play, having dropped two of three last weekend to Temple.

The Tigers are coming off a 10-7 midweek road loss to Arkansas State.

Memphis’ pitching staff owns a 3.52 ERA with 15 wins and 10 saves. In 225.0 innings, the Tigers have fanned 164, while walking 92 – holding opponents to a .244 average. The staff is led by Friday night starter LHP Caleb Wallingford with a 0.52 ERA, 3-1 record in five starts. In 34.0 innings, he has fanned 34, while walking nine.

Following Wallingford for Memphis in the rotation is LHP Colin Lee (4.45 ERA, 1-2) and RHP Jon Reed (4.58 ERA, 3-0).

Out of the pen, Memphis relies heavily on RHP Nolan Blackwood (2.62 ERA, 2-3, 3 SV) and RHP Bryce Beeler (1.29 ERA, 2-0, 5 SV).

Offensively, Memphis is hitting .266, led by Carter White and Ethan Gross with .300+ averages. Leading the squad with 28 hits is Jake Little and with Tucker Tubbs atop the team with 20 RBI.

The team has struck out 139 times and walked 98.


  • Houston and Memphis have met 54 previous times, dating back to 1997.
  • The Cougars own the all-time series, 39-15 and are 20-4 at home vs. the Tigers.
  • Houston won the 2013 road series, 2-1 when both teams were apart of C-USA.

Friday, March 28
Houston: RHP Aaron Garza (Jr., Galveston, Texas) – 1.17 ERA, 6-0, 46.0 IP, 2 BB, 29 K
Memphis: LHP Caleb Wallingford (Jr., Elkhorn, Neb.) – 0.52 ERA, 3-1, 34.2 IP, 9 BB, 34 K

Saturday, March 29
Houston: RHP Jake Lemoine (So., Bridge City, Texas) – 0.93 ERA, 4-1, 38.2 IP, 11 BB, 32 K
Memphis: RHP Jon Reed (Sr., Tulsa, Okla.) – 4.58 ERA, 3-0, 35.1 IP, 14 BB, 25 K

Sunday, March 30
Houston: LHP Jared West (So., Frierson, La.) – 2.83 ERA, 2-1, 28.2 IP, 7 BB, 27 K
Memphis: LHP Colin Lee (So., Germantown, Tenn.) – 4.45 ERA, 1-2, 28.1 IP, 11 BB, 15 K

Friday, March 28 - FRIDAY FRENZY

  • $1 hot dogs, $2 soda, $3 beer* (21 years or older) EVERY Friday night at Cougar Field
  • Inflatable games for kids

Saturday, March 29 – BALLPARK BINGO

  • Win great prizes by playing Ballpark Bingo!
  • Inflatable games for Kids

Sunday, March 30 - KIDS DAY

  • KidZone & Inflatable Games for Kids
  • Kids Run the Bases post-game
  • Post-Game autographs

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 begin purchasing tickets for single games at Cougar Field this season.

Tickets for the Cougar Spring Fling, good for general admission to both events, are just $5 prior to April 11 and $10 on April 11. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS FOR THE COUGAR SPRING FLING.

Tickets can be purchased in advance through UHCougars.com or by calling the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at 713-462-6647. Tickets on the day of the event can be purchased at the Houston Athletics Ticket Office, located in the Athletics/Alumni Center at 3100 Cullen Blvd., or at the event’s entrances beginning at 5 p.m.

All Houston Baseball season ticket holders and single game reserved seat ticket holders ($12-15) will be admitted into Cougar Spring Fling with their previously purchased tickets. All seating at the Houston Football Spring Game will be general admission.

Cash parking for the Spring Fling will be available in the Houston Football Stadium parking garage and in lot 16C located across from Cougar Field on Cullen Blvd.

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.

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).

To purchase, visit the Tickets tab, Purchase Tickets, while following the appropriate links to the Baseball page under Season Tickets or by clicking here.

For questions or concerns, call or visit the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275).

KIDS (8th grade & younger) with CAMP T-SHIRT GET IN FREE
Kids who show up to Cougar Field in a UH Baseball Camp T-Shirt and are in the eighth grade or younger will receive FREE ADMISSION to any Houston Baseball home game.

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.

Following the weekend series, Houston will hit the road for four straight games, beginning with a 6:35 p.m. contest on Tuesday at Texas A&M, followed by a three-game conference series at Rutgers next weekend.    



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