Preview: Baseball Ready for C-USA Championship

Jordan Lewis will start vs. Rice in Game 1

May 22, 2012

HOUSTON--The University of Houston baseball team will open C-USA Championship play on Wednesday against top-seeded Rice at 3 p.m. in Pearl, Mississippi at Trustmark Park. The Cougars will continue the three-game pod play with a Thursday contest at 3 p.m. against fourth-seed Southern Miss before meeting fifth-seed Memphis on Friday at 7 p.m.

Houston will begin C-USA play with a 17-33-1 overall record and a 5-18-1 mark in conference play and will go in as the No. 8 seed in the eight-team tournament. 

Fans can follow all the action (live video/GameTracker) of the C-USA Championship by visiting Championship Central:http://www.conferenceusa.com/championships/m-basebl-championship-12.html 

To listen in on the action of Houston games, follow play-by-play voice of Jeremy Branham at www.UHCougars.com for free.  

2012 C-USA Baseball Championship
May 23-27
Pearl, MS
Event site: Trustmark Park
Schedule of Events

2012 Conference USA Championship Schedule
G# Teams Time Coverage
Wednesday, May 23
1 (5) Memphis vs. (4) Southern Miss 11 a.m. Watch - Memphis Feed
Watch - Southern Miss Feed
2 (8) Houston vs. (1) Rice 3 p.m. Watch - Houston Feed
Watch - Rice Feed
3 (6) East Carolina vs. (3) Tulane 7 p.m. Watch - East Carolina Feed
Watch - Tulane Feed
Thursday, May 24
4 (7) UAB vs. (2) UCF 11 a.m. Watch - UAB Feed
Watch - UCF Feed


5 (8) Houston vs. (4) Southern Miss 3 p.m. Watch - Houston Feed
Watch - Southern Miss Feed
6 (5) Memphis vs. (1) Rice 7 p.m. Watch - Memphis Feed
Watch - Rice Feed
Friday, May 25
7 (7) UAB vs. (3) Tulane 11 a.m. Watch - UAB Feed
Watch - Tulane Feed
8 (6) East Carolina vs. (2) UCF 3 p.m. Watch - East Carolina Feed
Watch - UCF Feed
9 (8) Houston vs. (5) Memphis 7 p.m. Watch - Houston Feed
Watch - Memphis Feed
Saturday, May 26
10 (3) Tulane vs. (2) UCF 11 a.m. Watch - Tulane Feed
Watch - UCF Feed
11 (7) UAB vs. (6) East Carolina 3 p.m. Watch - UAB Feed
Watch - East Carolina Feed
12 (4) Southern Miss vs. (1) Rice 7 p.m. Watch - Southern Miss Feed
Watch - Rice Feed
Sunday, May 27 (televised by CBS Sports Network)
13 Championship Game (CBSSN) 1 p.m.


Note: Pairings with game times are announced after seeds are determined following the final league series of the season. All times Central.
Makeup of the Pods and Schedule of Play
Pod 1 (Seeds 1, 4, 5 and 8)Pod 2 (Seeds 2, 3, 6 and 7)
Rice vs. Southern Miss, Memphis and HoustonUCF vs. Tulane, East Carolina and UAB
Southern Miss vs. Rice, Memphis and HoustonTulane vs. UCF, East Carolina and UAB
Memphis vs. Rice, Southern Miss and HoustonEast Carolina vs. UCF, Tulane and UAB
Houston vs. Rice, Southern Miss and MemphisUAB vs. UCF, Tulane and East Carolina
C-USA Championship Format
The 2012 Conference USA Championship will feature the top eight teams in regular-season league play. Those six will be split into two four-team pools (or pods), with the winner of each pod playing in a single championship game. Teams will be assigned pods based on seed, which will be determined by the order of finish in regular-season conference play. Each team will be guaranteed to play three games. Teams in each pod will play the other three teams in its pod. The team with the best composite record in each pod would advance to the championship game. Two-way ties in a pod would be broken by head-to- head play. In case of a three-way tie, the highest seed would advance.

Games are played at 11 am, 3 pm and 7 pm the first four days of the Championship, with the championship game Sunday at 1 pm. Pairings with game times are announced after seeds are determined following the final league series of the season.

All games - except the championship final game - of the 2012 C-USA Baseball Championship will be available for viewing exclusively on the C-USA Digital Network. CBS Sports Network is televising the championship game. Current subscribers to the C-USA Digital Network can click on the watch links above and enter your password information to view the games. New and school-only subscribers, please see below.

The Cougars are led offensively by freshman Michael Pyeatt's .337 average and .362 clip in league games. Following Pyeatt is sophomore Jonathan Davis' .325 average, while senior John Cannon is hitting .314. Sophomore Landon Appling paces the team in runs scored with 27, while junior Chase Jensen has driven in a team-best 32 RBI.

Houston will start:
Wednesday vs. Rice - LHP senior Jordan Lewis (5.15, 3-7, 64.2 IP, 43 K)
Thursday vs. Southern Miss - RHP junior Austin Pruitt (4.06, 3-4, 84.1 IP, 51 K)
Friday vs. Memphis - TBA

Out of the pen, the Cougars will rely on senior Mo Wiley (4.22, 2-1, 4 SV, 32.0 IP, 36 K), who returns after an injury, senior Codey Morehouse (3.38, 1-2, 1 SV, 29.1 IP, 23 K), sophomore Chase Wellbrock (4.86, 3-2, 33.1 IP, 22 K) and junior Aaron Stewart (4.85, 0-1, 13.0 IP, 8 K).

Rice will enter Game 1 of the Championship having won the Conference USA Regular Season title, defeating UCF in the final two games of the year. The Owls own an overall record of 39-15 and 17-7 in conference play. Rice is led at the plate by Christian Stringer's .352 average and 53 runs scored, while Jeremy Rathjen is hitting .338. As a team, Rice is hitting .286.

Rice will start vs. Houston:
RHP - Andrew Benak (2.32, 7-2, 66.0 IP, 71 K)

As a staff, Rice holds an ERA of 2.87 and relies heavily on closer JT Chargois (2.27, 4-1, 8 SV) in late-game situations. 

Houston and Rice will meet for the fifth time this season as the Owls own the Silver Glove Series, 3-1 this year. The Cougars snapped a 16-game skid vs. Rice back on May 4 at Reckling Park in Game 1 of the three-game conference series. Despite the Saturday loss during the weekend series, senior LHP Jordan Lewis was lights out for Houston, tossing 8.0 innings of three-hit baseball, while fanning six Owls.

Southern Miss comes into the tournament as the No. 4 seed and owns a 30-23 overall rec cord and a 14-10 mark in conference play. The Golden Eagles are led offensively by Austin Roussel's .333 average, while Mason Robbins owns a .332 average and team-best 67 hits.

As a team, Southern Miss is hitting .275.

Houston and Southern Miss will meet for the fourth time this year, having played each other three times during the regular season in Hattiesburg, Miss. The Golden Eagles won the series 2-1, but Houston bounced back after two tough losses with a convincing Sunday win, where Austin Pruitt earned the win on the bump. 

Memphis is the No. 5 seed and 29-26 overall and 14-10 in C-USA play coming into the week's Championship. The Tigers are hitting .290 as a team, led by Adam McClain's .400 average. Jacob Wilson is hitting .326 with a team-best 62 RBI for Memphis. 

Houston and Memphis are familiar faces having just met this past weekend at Cougar Field. The Tigers swept the Cougars in three games despite Houston playing without five of its starters.

The winner of each of the two-four team pods will meet for the Championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. 



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