Baseball Plays Host to No. 5 Rice in Silver Glove Series this Weekend
April 12, 2007
HOUSTON - The University of Houston baseball team returns to the friendly confines of Cougar Field this weekend when they play host to fifth-ranked and crosstown rival Rice in a key Conference USA series beginning at 7 p.m., Friday.
The series features two of the hottest teams in C-USA play with the Cougars winning seven of their last nine games and the Owls posting victories in their last eight outings. In addition, the series pits the top two teams in the latest C-USA standings against one another.
Besides the C-USA implications, the Cougars and Owls also will square off in the Silver Glove Series for the 10th straight season. The Cougars look to earn the Silver Glove Trophy for only the second time in the history of the series. The 2000 Houston team is the only group to defeat the Owls during the regular-season series.
The 2007 Silver Glove Series opens with 7 p.m. games on both Friday and Saturday before wrapping up at 1 p.m., Sunday. Cougar Baseball games can be heard live on UHCougars.com with former UH letterwinner Nick Torina calling the play-by-play action and Pat Cauley providing color analysis. To access the free broadcast, fans should click on the "Schedules and Results" link on the baseball main page. From there, fans can click on the "Audio Broadcasts" link, which will bring up the 2007 radio schedule.
Fans also can follow live stats of Tuesday's game via the Internet by clicking the "Gametracker" link on the UH front page or on the Cougar Baseball schedule page. Tuesday's game will not be broadcast on the Internet at UHCougars.com.
In addition to the Internet broadcast, fans also can watch the game on CSTV with Tom Hart calling the play-by-play action and former Major Leaguer Kevin Stocker providing color analysis. This is the first of four Cougar Baseball games to be televised during the regular season.
It marks the third consecutive season and the eighth time in the last nine seasons that the Cougars will play at least one game in front of a national television audience.
Junior righthander Aaron Brown will make his ninth start of the season during the series opener Friday. This season, the League City native has compiled a 4-2 record with 34 strikeouts and a 4.62 ERA in 50.2 innings of work.
Brown ranks second among all Cougar hurlers in wins, innings pitched, ERA, strikeouts and opponents' batting average (.247).
In his last start, Brown collected the loss during the UAB series opener on April 6 at Cougar Field, giving up six runs off 10 hits and five walks with two strikeouts in four innings. That loss snapped his two-game winning streak.
Friday's game will be Brown's seventh game and third career start against Rice. This will be his first start against the Owls since May 17, 2005, during his freshman season. In that game, he held Rice to only two runs off three hits and three walks with four strikeouts in seven innings but did not pick up a decision in a 3-2 Cougar win.
Friday's game also will be Brown's first appearance against the Owls since throwing 1.2 innings of relief during the 2006 C-USA Tournament championship game on May 28, 2006. He allowed only one hit with a strikeout during that outing.
Sophomore outfielder Jimmy Cesario continues to lead the Cougars with a .376 batting average and recently moved into second place in the latest C-USA statistical rankings after going 3-for-4 with a run and RBI in a 4-0 win at Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday. That performance extended his hitting streak to a career- and UH-season-best 10 consecutive games.
Sophomore catcher Luis Flores is tops with six home runs, while senior third baseman Dustin Kingsbury, who has started each of the last 152 games entering Friday's opener, leads all sluggers with 29 RBIs.
For the 36th consecutive season, the Cougars will meet the Owls on the baseball diamond. Rice owns a 71-66 (.518) lead in the all-time series, which began in 1948 but has been played at least twice every season since 1972.
The Owls bring a three-game winning streak over the Cougars into this weekend's series, winning the last two games of the 2006 regular-season series and then taking an 11-5 victory in the 2006 C-USA Tournament championship game at Reckling Park.
The two teams faced each other four times in 2006 with the Owls winning the last three contests. During the regular season, the two teams met at Reckling Park on May 12-14. That series opener featured two of the nation's top pitchers in Cougar righthander and future National Player of the Year Brad Lincoln and Rice righty Eddie Degerman with Lincoln and the Cougars enjoying a 3-0 win.
But the Owls stormed back to win the last two games of the series 7-3 and 13-3 in seven innings, respectively.
The Cougars are 39-29 (.574) all-time against the Owls on UH's home field. The Cougars also can boast of the most recent success after taking a 3-2 win during the regular-season series finale on May 17, 2005. The two teams did not play at Cougar Field in 2006 as Rice joined Conference USA.
Rice (27-10, 8-1 C-USA) enters the series after enjoying a 13-4 win at Lamar on Wednesday. Freshman righthander Ryan Berry is scheduled to start on the hill for the Owls. This season, Berry has posted a 5-1 record with 65 strikeouts and a 2.58 ERA in 59.1 innings.
Junior Joe Savery leads the Owls with a .345 batting average while sophomore Aaron Luna is tops with 32 RBIs. Luna and junior Jordan Dodson lead the team with six home runs apiece.
In other Cougar Baseball news, the Athletics Department issued a parking advisory for Saturday evening's game against Rice. Due to the anticipated high attendance and need for parking at both the baseball game and Houston Dynamo soccer game, the Athletics Department has designated parking lots 16C and 16D (directly across Cullen Boulevard, beyond the right-field and center-field fences of Cougar Field on both sides of Elgin Street), lots 15A and 15G (directly south and east of the Athletics/Alumni Center) and lot 15H (directly west of the John Hoff Tennis Courts off Elgin Street) for baseball fans.
These lots will be available at no charge for baseball fans attending the game.
The Athletics Department would like to request that all fans planning to attend Saturday's baseball game adjust their arrival time to well in advance of first pitch as traffic flow may be slower than usual.
While adequate parking has been made available for baseball fans, late-arriving fans may be forced to pay for parking in lots that have not been reserved for baseball attendance.