PREVIEW: Baseball Set for American Championship

May 19, 2014


HOUSTON - Houston Baseball will play as the No. 3-seed in the inaugural American Baseball Championship next week in Clearwater, Fla. at Bright House Field and will meet No. 6-seed Temple in Game 1 on Wednesday at 2 p.m. CT. The Cougars will then play No. 7-seed UConn on Thursday at 10 a.m. CT and wrap up pool play on Friday at 6 p.m. vs. No. 2-seed UCF.


All-session and single-session ticket packages are available through the Clearwater Threshers online ticket service.

Listen Live: All three games will be FREE to listen over UHCougars.com with Jeremy Branham on the call.

All three pool play games for the Cougars will be streamed on the American Digital Network.
Links to Video Feed:


Houston, ranked among the nation's Top 15, will play as the No. 3 seed in the American Baseball Championship after finishing 14-9 in league play. The Cougars wrapped up an impressive 2014 regular-season slate with a 41-14 record, marking the most regular-season wins since 41 in 2002.

The pitching staff owns a 2.04 ERA for tops in the nation, which is highlighted by just 94 walks allowed and an opponents' batting average of .222. The Cougars have four pitchers with at least five wins, led by reliever Tyler Ford at 7-0 and starter Aaron Garza at 7-4.

Starters Garza (7-4, 2.41 ERA), Jake Lemoine (6-5, 2.29 ERA), David Longville (1-0, 3.08 ERA) and Andrew Lantrip (5-0, 1.64 ERA) have combined for 19 wins this season. Lemoine paces the team with 80 strikeouts, while Garza has tossed a team-high 93.1 innings.

Out of the pen, the Cougars have relied heavily on the work of Ford (7-0, 3 SV, 1.11 ERA) and Chase Wellbrock (4-0, 11 SV, 0.50 ERA). The duo has 11 wins and 14 saves between them and has struck out 70 and walked just eight

As a staff, the Cougars rank first in the nation in WHIP (1.00) and ERA (2.04), while ranking second in walks allowed per nine innings (1.73) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.89).

Offensively, Houston is led Casey Grayson with a .325 average, team-leading 65 hits, 14 doubles, six homeruns and 43 walks. Michael Pyeatt follows with a consistent .306 clip, while Kyle Survance is hitting .304 with 29 stolen bases and 38 runs scored.

As a team, the Cougars have drawn 253 walks to lead the league.

Temple will play the American Baseball Championship as the No. 6 seed after finishing 9-14 in league action. Holding a record of 14-30 overall, the Owls are coming off a weekend split with the Cougars in Camden, N.J.

Temple is hitting .250 as a team, led by Robert Amaro with a .329 average and team-leading 55 hits and 38 RBI. He is followed by Jimmy Kerrigan's .298 average and 48 hits.

The Owls have tallied 137 walks to its 334 strikeouts and are slugging .332, led by Derek Peterson's 23 doubles. Temple has swiped 50-of-65 bases and is fielding .952 with 82 errors.

Temple owns a 4.98 ERA with 14 wins and seven saves. The staff has fanned 235 and walked 157, while allowing opponents to hit .285. Starters Matt Hockenberry (5-5, 3.48 ERA), Patrick Vanderslice (1-4, 6.18 ERA) and Ryan Kuehn (3-2, 3.72) have combined for nine wins

Out of the pen, Patrick Krall leads the team with a 0.36 ERA in 15 appearances, while holding a 1-0 record and two saves, followed by Zach Batchelor's 2.57 ERA, 1-0 record and five saves.


  • Houston and Temple will meet for just the third time in program history, having split the weekend series in Camden, N.J. last weekend.

UConn, the reigning BIG EAST conference tournament champions, will meet Houston on Thursday as the No. 7 seed in the American Baseball Championship. The Huskies are 26-29 on the year and finished 9-14 in league action

Offensively, UConn is hitting .270, led by Bobby Melley's .360 average, team-leading 72 hits, 16 doubles and 45 RBI, while Blake Davey is hitting .319 with 61 hits, 10 homeruns and 31 RBI.

As a team, the Huskies have drawn 212 walks to their 303 strikeouts and are slugging .352 through the regular season. UConn has swiped 80 bases and is fielding .964 with 78 errors.

The pitching staff owns a 3.11 ERA with 26 wins and nine saves to accompany their 240 walks and 356 strikeouts.

Starters Anthony Marzi (5-6, 2.81 ERA), Jordan Tabakman (3-4, 3.39 ERA) and Anthony Kay (5-4, 3.69 ERA) have 13 wins are all sit with an ERA under 4.00. Marzi leads the team with 66 strikeouts and 89.2 innings tossed.

Out of the pen, the Huskies have four with at least 20 relief appearances as David Mahoney paces the squad with 26 appearances and five saves


  • Houston and UConn will meet for just the fourth time in program history.
  • The Cougars own the all-time series, 3-0 after earning a road sweep of the Huskies two weekends ago.

UCF will play as the No. 2 seed in the American Baseball Championship and will meet Houston on Friday at 6 p.m. CT. The Knights finished the regular season with a record of 34-22 and a 17-7 mark in league action and are coming off a series loss on the road at UConn

Offensively, UCF is hitting 271, led by James Vasquez's .340 average and 50 RBI, while Dylan Moore is hitting .306 with a team-leading 68 hits and 43 runs scored.

As a team, the Knights have walked 201 times to their 362 strikeouts, while swiping 66 bases and fielding .971 with just 65 errors.

UCF pitching owns a 3.34 ERA with 34 wins and 14 saves, holding opponents to a .243 average with 365 strikeouts and 220 walks.

Starters Eric Skoglund (9-2, 2.04 ERA), Tanner Olson (3-3, 4.93 ERA) and Ryan Meyer (3-1, 2.97 ERA) pitched against Houston during the regular season as they have at least nine pitchers with at one or more starts this year.

Skoglund ranks among the league's best and leads UCF with 105.2 innings and 92 strikeouts, limiting hitters to a .197 average from the left side.

Out of the pen, UCF relies on the work of several arms as four have at least 20 appearances out of the pen. Zach Rodgers is 6-1 with a 1.41 ERA and five saves, while Trent Thompson is 1-6 with a 3.43 ERA and five saves. Also making significant contribution in relief has been Zac Favre with a 1-1 record and 2.79 ERA in 25 appearances.


  • Houston and UCF will meet for the 38th time in program history.
  • The Cougars own the all-time series, 22-15, dating back to 1990.
  • Houston earned the series win over the Knights this season, 2-1 at Cougar Field.
  • The win in Game 2 of the series snapped a streak of seven straight losses by the Cougars to UCF, including series sweeps in 2012 and 2013.



Bright House Field is the Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training home, located in Clearwater, Fla.

On October 16th, 2002 the Philadelphia Phillies and the City of Clearwater broke ground for construction on a new baseball facility. After 14 months of construction, a state-of-the-art ballpark and community sports facility with classic Floridian architectural style was born.

It is a fan-friendly ballpark with a capacity of 8,500 (7,000 fixed seats). The ballpark distinguishes itself with a 360-degree main concourse, grass berm seating, and a tiki-hut pavilion in left field. Other characteristics include group picnic areas, a children's play area, and a state-of-the-art video scoreboard. The clubhouse, ticket office, executive offices and a media center are located in the administration building located on the West Entry.

The facility covers a total of 17.5 acres of space at the former Home Depot site on U.S. 19 near Drew Street. The $25 million project was funded through a unique public-private partnership that included the State of Florida, Pinellas County, the City of Clearwater and the Phillies.

The engineering and design of the facility was handled by the renowned sports architects HOK Sport and Ewing Cole Cherry Brott. The Hunt Construction Group acted as the General Contractor.

Wednesday, May 21
Houston: TBA
Temple: TBA

Thursday, May 22
Houston: TBA
UConn: TBA

Friday, May 23
Houston: TBA

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 American Athletic Conference Championship next week, the Cougars will learn their fate on the NCAA postseason with the selection show set for Monday, May 26 at 11 a.m. CT.



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