PREVIEW: Baseball on the Road at Rutgers this Weekend
April 2, 2014
HOUSTON – No. 10 Houston Baseball will continue its road swing when it travels to Piscataway, N.J. for a three-game conference series at Rutgers. The three-game set will begin Friday at 2 p.m. CT, continue Saturday at Noon CT and wrap up on Sunday at Noon CT.
QUICK HITS ON HOUSTON
The Cougars climbed in this week’s Top 25 polls, polling in at No. 10 in both Baseball America and Perfect Game’s Top 25 rankings.
Through the first 27 games, Houston is led by a pitching staff that holds the nation’s lowest staff ERA at 1.72.
Weekend starters Aaron Garza (6-1, 1.17 ERA, 29 K, 54.0 IP), Jake Lemoine (4-1, 1.22, 36 K, 44.1 IP) and Jared West (2-1, 2.91 ERA, 29 K, 34.0 IP) have combined for 12 wins and just three losses in 21 starts between the trio.
Garza paces the team in wins with a 6-1 record in the Friday role, dropping a tough-luck first loss of the season last Friday vs. Memphis in what proved to be a pitchers’ duel. Garza holds an ERA of 1.17 – best among all Houston starters and pitched a team-leading 54.0 innings.
Lemoine has been productive on Saturday, holding a 4-1 record and 1.22 ERA in his seven starts, striking out a team-high 36 in his 44.1 innings tossed.
West, on Sunday, is 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA and has 29 strikeouts in 34.0 innings.
Ford is 4-0 with a 0.66 ERA in 27.1 innings and 13 appearances out of the pen for Houston this season. Wellbrock is 1-0 with seven saves and a 0.00 ERA. In 10 appearances and 18.0 total innings, Wellbrock has fanned 21 hitters and allowed just one walk.
Offensively, Houston has upped its team average to .277 after a 17-hit, 10-run performance on the road at Texas A&M on Tuesday. The offense is currently led by four Cougars hitting above the .300 clip. Junior Michael Pyeatt leads the charge with a .333 average, while sophomore Kyle Survance is hitting .330 with a team-leading 36 hits. Sophomore Justin Montemayor is hitting .311, while senior Frankie Ratcliff holds a .308 average with a team-best 22 runs scored.
As a team, the Cougars have walked 131 times and have tallied 42-of-52 stolen bases.
QUICK HITS ON RUTGERS
Rutgers is hitting .286 as a team, led by Brian O’Grady’s .385 average, team-best 35 hits and 26 runs scored. Vinny Zarrillo followes with a .352 average and a team-high 19 RBI.
As an offensive unit, the Scarlet Knights are slugging .376 and have struck out 145 times.
The pitching staff holds an ERA of 5.68 as eight players have made at least one start this season. Qualifying with enough innings pitched, Gaby Rosa paces the team with a 3.20 ERA and a 2-1 record, while Kyle Driscoll owns a 4.36 ERA and a 2-2 record.
Houston will see Howie Brey on Friday with Saturday and Sunday’s starters still to be determined. Brey is 2-1 with a 1.25 ERA. The left-hander has made five appearances and three starts totaling 21.2 innings.
The staff has walked 121 hitters and struck out 117 – holding opponents to a .281 average.
HOUSTON vs. RUTGERS
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
Saturday, April 5
Sunday, April 6