PREVIEW: Cougars and Owls Meet at Constellation Field

    May 12, 2014

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    HOUSTON – Houston Baseball will embark on its final midweek tune-up of the 2014 season when it faces off against Rice at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas (home of the Sugar Land Skeeters) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. This game will mark the Silver Glove Series finale between the two programs with the Cougars having already clinched the series this season at 2-0.

    Rice will serve as the home team with Houston as the visitor on Tuesday. Tickets are only available through the Sugar Land Skeeters Box Office, not Houston or Rice. For more information on tickets, seating, pricing, visit www.sugarlandskeeters.com.


    QUICK HITS ON HOUSTON
    Houston has won six straight games and is coming off a 4-0 week, which included a road sweep of UConn in American Athletic Conference play. The Cougars sit at 39-13 overall and 26-5 in non-conference play this season, which includes two wins over Rice.

    The Cougars enter the midweek game ranked first in the nation with a 1.96 ERA and have three pitchers with at least six wins this season.

    The weekend duo of junior Aaron Garza (2.16 ERA, 7-4) and sophomore Jake Lemoine (2.07 ERA, 6-4) have combined for 13 wins and a total of 178.2 innings and 130 strikeouts to just 28 walks.

    Making his impression of late as a Houston starter has been freshman Andrew Lantrip, who is coming off a career-high 10 strikeout, 7.0-shutout inning gem over Prairie View A&M last week. With that, the Livingston, Texas native is 5-0 in 10 appearances and two starts in his debut season and has struck out 22 and walked just one in 28.2 innings.

    The bullpen continues to step up for the Cougars of late as seniors Chase Wellbrock and Tyler Ford leading the charge. Wellbrock is 4-0 with 10 saves and a 0.53 ERA – among the best in the league. Ford has impressive numbers as well with a 6-0 record and three saves in a team-high 21 appearances and 51.1 innings out of the pen. This duo has walked just eight and struck out 62.

    As a staff, Houston has thrown 463.0 innings, striking out 347 and walking just 89 to hold opponents to a mere .218 average.

    Offensively, Houston made a statement this weekend, combining for 18 runs and 31 hits against a staff in UConn that ranked among the top three in the league in almost every pitching category.

    The Cougars are hitting .277 as a team, led by three with a .300+ average. Senior Casey Grayson paces the team with a .337 average, 64 hits, 14 doubles, six homeruns, 40 RBI and 40 walks, while riding a streak of 25 consecutive games where he has reached base safely.

    Joining Grayson atop the offensive statistical list is junior Michael Pyeatt with a consistent .308 average, while sophomore Justin Montemayor is hitting .305 with 60 hits and 13 doubles.

    Sophomore Kyle Survance has swiped 27-of-31 bases for second-most in the conference, while both him and senior Frankie Ratcliff have combined to score 71 runs and stolen 42 bases.

    The team has notched 240 walks to lead the league with Grayson leading the way with 40 and Ratcliff following at 32.


    QUICK HITS ON RICE
    Rice is coming off a weekend conference series win in San Antonio, Texas over UTSA, improving the Owls record o 34-16 on the year. The Owls enter the week ranked among the nation’s Top 20 and are on pace to win the C-USA regular season title this season.

    Rice is hitting .288 as a team and is currently led by three above the .300 mark. Shane Hoelscher leads the team with a .348 clip, team-best 63 hits and 18 doubles, while John Clay Reeves follows at .341.

    The Owls have drawn 173 walks to their 274 strikeouts and are fielding an impressive .980 with just 39 errors in over 1,300 putouts.

    On the pitching staff, the Owls have won 34 games and have 17 saves to their statistics. Rice owns a 2.54 ERA and has tallied 401 strikeouts in 461.0 innings pitched, while holding opponents to a .232 average.

    Six Owls have at least five starts, led by Blake Fox with 12 starts and a 10-0 record and 1.52 ERA. Houston may see RHP Chase McDowell, who owns a 3.48 ERA and a 4-4 record in nine starts and 13 appearances.

    Out of the pen, Rice has relied on Matt Dittman (1.77 ERA, 3-5, 8 SV) and Trevor Teykl (2.72 ERA, 3-0, 3 SV), who have combined for 11 saves and six wins.


    HOUSTON vs. RICE

    • The Silver Glove Series is the most played series in Houston Baseball program history with the Cougars and Owls set to meet for the 174th time, dating back to 1948.
    • Rice owns the all-time series, 100-73, but the Cougars have won both meetings this season.
    • Houston has already clinched the Silver Glove Series with the two wins and it ended the 14-year drought for the Cougars as they last time they won the series was back in 2000 with a 4-2 advantage in six games played.
    • The last time the Cougars swept the series was back in 1991 at 3-0.

    PROBABLE STARTING PITCHING
    Houston: TBA
    Rice: TBA


    STAY CONNECTED
    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.


    ON DECK
    Following the midweek tune-up against Rice, the Cougars will hit the road to wrap up the regular season with a three-game series at Temple. The series is slated to begin at 2 p.m. CT on Thursday, continue at 2 p.m. CT on Friday and wrap at 10 a.m. CT on Saturday.


     

     

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