PREVIEW: Cougars Welcome USF for Three-Game Set

April 16, 2014

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HOUSTON – No. 12 Houston Baseball returns to American Athletic Conference play by hosting USF in a three-game set at Cougar Field, beginning Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The series will continue on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and wrap up on Saturday at Noon.

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.

The Cougars return to conference play ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation and enter this week’s series with USF with a record of 27-9 and a conference mark of 4-5. Houston is coming off a 5-2 road midweek win at Sam Houston State where it snapped its three-game skid – which was a sweep by Louisville last weekend at Cougar Field.

Houston began the week owning a nation’s-best ERA and now owns a 1.82 ERA following Tuesday’s contest – which should remain good enough for the nation’s lead. The staff has struck out 237 hitters and walked a conference-low 61, while holding opponents to a .212 average this season.

Weekend starters Jake Lemoine (1.34 ERA, 5-2), Aaron Garza (1.79 ERA, 6-3) and Jared West (2.66 ERA, 2-2) have combined for a 13-7 record and hold a combined ERA of 1.93 in 27 starts. That weekend rotation ERA is good enough for fifth-best in the nation entering this week’s contests.

Lemoine paces the staff with 51 strikeouts in 60.2 innings, while Garza holds the staff lead in innings pitched with 65.1 and wins with six.

Out of the Houston bullpen, Tyler Ford continues to be the go-to guy with a team-leading 16 appearances and a 4-0 record with two saves. The lefty owns a 0.76 ERA and has fanned 20 and walked just one in 35.1 innings.

Chase Wellbrock holds the team lead in saves with seven and is 2-0 with a 0.78 ERA in 12 appearances, while Jared Robinson is 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA in 14 appearances.

Offensively, the Cougars are hitting .266 – led by three with an above .300 mark. Michael Pyeatt is hitting .321 to lead the way, while Kyle Survance leads the team in hits with 44 and is third-best with 20 runs scored, while hitting .312. Casey Grayson follows with a .302 average and a team-high 22 RBI – as he has reached base safely in now 10 consecutive games.

As a team, Houston has been issued 168 walks and has stolen 54-of-69 bases.

USF enters the series with a record of 21-15 record and a 7-5 mark in American Athletic Conference play. The Bulls are coming off a 10-3 midweek tune-up win over in-state rival, Stetson.

The Bulls opened conference play have won series over UConn, Cincinnati and Temple, while dropping a series to UCF.

On the year, UCF is hitting .270 – led by Kyle Teaf’s .344 average and team-leading 44 hits and 30 runs scored. Following is Luke Borders with a .307 average and Daniel Portales with a .306 clip.

As a team, the Bulls have been issued 153 walks to their 235 strikeouts, while swiping only 18-of-24 bases.

Pitching has been USF’s backbone with the staff owning a 2.96 ERA with 21 wins and seven saves in a total of 319.1 innings. The Bulls have fanned 215 and walked 128, while holding opponents to a .247 average.

USF is led in weekend pitching by RHP Jimmy Herget’s 1.03 ERA and 5-4 record. In 61.1 innings and nine starts, he has fanned 48, while walking 18 – holding opponents to a .221 average.

Following Herget is RHP Casey Mulholland with a 3.19 ERA and a 3-0 record in nine starts. Totaling 53.2 innings, Mulholland has fanned 38 and walked 19.

Houston will see RHP Tommy Peterson on Sunday, who in just two starts and 10 appearances, owns a 1.93 ERA and a 3-1 record.

Out of the pen, USF relies on several arms as RHP Jordan Strittmatter leads the staff with 19 appearances and three saves. Six Bulls have at least 10 appearances on the year.


  • Houston and USF have met 27 previous times, dating back to 1997.
  • The Cougars own the all-time series at 17-10 and have won the last two meetings.
  • The last time these two teams met was back in 2005.


American Athletic Conference standing show UCF atop the board with a 10-2 mark, followed by Louisville at 7-2 and USF at 7-5. UConn sits at 4-4 followed by Houston at 4-5 and Temple at 5-7. Rounding out the bottom three are Rutgers at 3-5, Memphis at 4-8 and Cincinnati at 3-9.

Thursday, April 17
Houston: RHP Aaron Garza (Jr., Galveston, Texas) – 1.79 ERA, 6-3, 65.1 IP, 4 BB, 37 K
USF: RHP Jimmy Herget (So., Tampa, Fla.) – 1.03 ERA, 5-4, 61.1 IP, 18 BB, 48 K

Friday, April 18
Houston: RHP Jake Lemoine (So., Bridge City, Texas) – 1.34 ERA, 5-2, 60.2 IP, 14 BB, 51 K
USF: RHP Casey Mulholland (Jr., Bradenton, Fla.) – 3.19 ERA, 3-0, 53.2 IP, 19 BB, 38 K

Saturday, April 19
Houston: LHP Jared West (So., Frierson, La.) – 2.66 ERA, 2-2, 40.2 IP, 15 BB, 33 K
USF: RHP Tommy Peterson (Fr., New Port Richey, Fla.) – 1.93 ERA, 3-1, 23.1 IP, 7 BB, 17 K

Friday, April 18 - 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 19 – EASTER EGG HUNT FOR KIDS

  • Post-game Easter Egg hunt on Cougar Field (kids – 8thgrade & under)
    • Note: Must bring your own Easter Egg basket
    • KidZone & Inflatable games for kids

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.

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 three-game series with USF, Houston will remain at home on Tuesday, April 22 to host Sam Houston State at 6:30 p.m. before hitting the road to Cincinnati the following weekend.      



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