PREVIEW: No. 7 Houston Set for No. 10 Louisville
April 9, 2014
HOUSTON - A Top-10 showdown is set for this weekend at Cougar Field as No. 7 Houston welcomes No. 10 Louisville in a three-game, American Athletic Conference series, beginning Friday at 7 p.m. The series will continue on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and wrap up on Sunday at Noon.
This Top-10 showdown featuring No. 7 Houston and No. 10 Louisville will mark the first Top-10 matchup at Cougar Field since No. 5 Houston beat No. 3 Rice back on April 2, 2002.
The Cougars are 2-0 vs. Top 10 programs and 4-2 vs. nationally-ranked opponents this season.
QUICK HITS ON #7 HOUSTON
The Cougars are ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation and have won 11 of their last 13 games, including three straight. Houston has a home record of 19-2 this season.
Houston continues to ride the arms of its pitching staff as that group owns a 1.76 ERA with 26 wins and eight saves. In 286.0 innings, the pitching staff - under Frank Anderson - has walked a conference-low 50 hitters and struck out 206. Opponents are hitting just .207 against the staff that has only surrendered a conference-low 56 earned runs.
Weekend starters Aaron Garza (6-2, 1.83 ERA), Jake Lemoine (5-1, 1.18 ERA) and Jared West (2-1, 2.72 ERA) have combined for 13 wins and all sit below the 3.00 ERA mark through their eight starts this season. The trio combines for a 1.91 ERA in 24 starts.
Lemoine paces the team in strikeouts with 45 and is coming off his first career complete game that was highlighted by a career-best nine strikeout effort for his fifth win of the year at Rutgers.
Garza has tossed a team-high 59.0 innings, walking just two in the effort for the staff's most wins at six.
The bullpen has been spectacular over the last few weeks as Chase Wellbrock (2-0, 0.00 ERA) and Tyler Ford (4-0, 0.85 ERA) have combined for six wins and eight saves - totaling 52.0 innings with 39 strikeouts. Wellbrock paces the league with a 0.00 ERA and has 23 strikeouts in just 20.1 innings with seven saves.
Ford leads the team in appearances with 14, followed by Jared Robinson (2-1, 2.61 ERA) with 12.
Offensively, Houston is hitting .272 with eight homeruns, six triples and 44 doubles for a slugging percentage of .349.
Junior Michael Pyeatt continues to pace the offense in average with a .338 clip, while sophomore Kyle Survance has a team-leading 40 hits, 17 stolen bases and is hitting .315 for second-best of the squad.
As a team, Houston has been issued 151 walks and has stolen 49-of-61 bases.
QUICK HITS ON #10 LOUISVILLE
A 2013 NCAA College World Series participant, Louisville, has been a consistent Top 25 team all season and comes into the weekend series ranked among the top of the conference in every offensive category.
The Cardinals are hitting .293 with 15 homeruns, 11 triples and 58 doubles - led by Jeff Gardner's .384 average, conference-leading 43 hits and 39 RBI.
Grant Kay follows with a .311 clip and 31 runs scored, while Sutton Whiting has a team-leading 20 stolen bases. As a team, Louisville is 69-for-88 in stolen bases and has drawn 127 walks to its 182 strikeouts.
Louisville pitching holds a 3.13 ERA with 24 wins and six saves. Weekend starters Kyle Funkhouser (2.77 ERA, 6-1), Jared Ruxer (2.72 ERA, 5-1) and Anthony Kidston (2.93 ERA, 2-0) have combined for 13-2 record and have an ERA of 2.81.
Funkhouser leads the team with 46 strikeouts in his 52.0 innings, while Ruxer follows with 40.
Out of the pen, the Cardinals have one of the top closers in the country in Nick Burdi, who comes into the weekend with a 0.00 ERA, a 2-0 record with five saves in 12 appearances. The right-hander has fanned 28 in 15.0 innings.
As a staff, Louisville has struck out 267 hitters and walked 126 - holding opponents to a .233 average.
HOUSTON vs. LOUISVILLE
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
Saturday, April 12
Sunday, April 13
Saturday, April 12 - BALLPARK BINGO
Sunday, April 13 - KIDS DAY
COUGAR SPRING FLING vs. LOUISVILLE TICKETS - APRIL 11 to benefit Generation One
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.
KIDS (8th grade & younger) with CAMP T-SHIRT GET IN FREE