PREVIEW: Baseball on the Road at Rutgers this Weekend

April 2, 2014

Listen Live | GameTracker | GAMEDAY CENTRAL

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.

Listen Live: All three games will be FREE to listen over UHCougars.com | Saturday’s April 5 game will be also available on SportsTalk 790.
GameTracker: All three of games will be available on GameTracker.

A winner of eight of its last nine, Houston Baseball returns to action this weekend with an overall record of 23-5 and a 2-1 mark in conference play. The Cougars are coming off a 10-8 road win at Texas A&M on Tuesday which improved their overall road record to 4-1 this season.

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.

Out of the bullpen, the Cougars have handed the ball over to seniors Tyler Ford and Chase Wellbrock – who have been lights out in a combined 23 appearances.

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.

Seniors Casey Grayson and Caleb Barker along with sophomore Ashford Fulmer all pace the team with 17 RBI.

As a team, the Cougars have walked 131 times and have tallied 42-of-52 stolen bases.

Rutgers enters the weekend series with a 10-14 overall record and a 2-3 mark in the American Athletic Conference. The Scarlet Knights are coming off a midweek, non-conference split with Iona. In conference play, Rutgers has taken one in each of the Louisville and UConn series over the last two weeks.

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 and Rutgers will meet for the first time in program history this weekend.

Friday, April 4
Houston: RHP Aaron Garza (Jr., Galveston, Texas) – 1.17 ERA, 6-1, 54.0 IP, 2 BB, 29 K
Rutgers: LHP Howie Brey (So., Middleton, N.J.) – 1.25 ERA, 2-1, 21.2 IP, 14 BB, 13 K

Saturday, April 5
Houston: RHP Jake Lemoine (So., Bridge City, Texas) – 1.22 ERA, 4-1, 44.1 IP, 11 BB, 36 K
Rutgers: TBA

Sunday, April 6
Houston: LHP Jared West (So., Frierson, La.) – 2.91 ERA, 2-1, 34.0 IP, 10 BB, 29 K
Rutgers: TBA

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 at Rutgers, Houston will return home for four straight games, beginning with a non-conference midweek game vs. Texas State at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8. The Cougars will then continue its homestand with a conference series vs. nationally-ranked Louisville at Cougar Field on April 11-13.



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