PREVIEW: No. 7 Houston Set for No. 10 Louisville

April 9, 2014

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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.

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 enters the pivotal weekend series with an overall record of 26-6 and a 4-2 mark in American Athletic Conference play after earning a convincing 7-1 midweek win over Texas State at Cougar Field on Tuesday.

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.

Senior Frankie Ratcliff has an average of .305 and leads the team in runs scored with 26, while sophomore Justin Montemayor is also hitting .305 with 36 hits.

Senior Casey Grayson paces the team with 21 RBI, followed by sophomore Ashford Fulmer with 20. The duo has combined for five of the Cougars' eight homeruns.

As a team, Houston has been issued 151 walks and has stolen 49-of-61 bases.

Louisville, ranked as high as No. 10 in the nation, comes into the series with Houston with a record of 24-8 and a 4-2 mark in American Athletic Conference play. The Cardinals are coming off a 3-1, extra-inning win over Purdue on Tuesday.

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 and Louisville have met 26 previous times in school history, dating back to 1997.
  • The Cougars own the all-time series at 17-9, but have lost the last two previous meetings.
  • The two teams have not met since 2005 with Louisville taking the three-game series, 2-1.
  • Houston and Louisville currently both sit in a tie for second at 4-2 in the conference behind UCF's 8-1 record.

Friday, April 11
Houston: RHP Aaron Garza (Jr., Galveston, Texas) - 1.83 ERA, 6-2, 59.0 IP, 2 BB, 32 K
Lousiville: RHP Kyle Funkhouser (So., Oak Forest, Ill.) - 2.77 ERA, 6-1, 52.0 IP, 26 BB, 46 K

Saturday, April 12
Houston: RHP Jake Lemoine (So., Bridge City, Texas) - 1.18 ERA, 5-1, 53.1 IP, 13 BB, 45 K
Louisville: RHP Jared Ruxer (Jr., Indianapolis, Ind.) - 2.72 ERA, 5-1, 46.1 IP, 12 BB, 40 K

Sunday, April 13
Houston: LHP Jared West (So., Frierson, La.) - 2.72 ERA, 2-1, 36.1 IP, 12 BB, 30 K
Louisville: RHP Anthony Kidston (So., Defiance, Ohio) - 2.93 ERA, 2-0, 15.1 IP, 11 BB, 17 K

Friday, April 11 - FRIDAY FRENZY

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

Saturday, April 12 - BALLPARK BINGO

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

Sunday, April 13 - 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.

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 vs. Louisville, Houston will travel to Huntsville, Texas on Tuesday, April 15 to take on Sam Houston State at 6:30 p.m. The Cougars will then return home to host USF in a three-game conference series - beginning Thursday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m.     



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