Houston Earns No. 2 Seed in Baton Rouge Regional
May 26, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Putting together one of the more impressive overall resumes this season has landed Houston Baseball as a No. 2 seed at the Baton Rouge Regional this weekend, announced by the NCAA Committee on Monday during the one-hour, live Selection Show telecast on ESPNU.
Houston will match up with No. 3-seed Bryant on Friday at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN3, which follows the 2 p.m. contest between No. 1-seed LSU and No. 4-seed Southeastern LA in a double-elimination format.
The tournament will run from Friday, May 29 to Monday, June 1 at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
2014 marks the first time the Cougars have advanced to NCAA Championship Baseball since 2008. Houston put the icing on the regular season Sunday when it captured the 2014 inaugural American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship tournament title, a first for the program since 2008.
The championship earned Houston an automatic bid to an NCAA Regional as it continues postseason play with a 44-15 overall record and winners of 12 of its last 15 games, including a 10-4 triumph of No. 5 Louisville in Clearwater, Fla. for the conference title.
Houston will make its 19th NCAA Regional appearance in the history of the program and first since 2008. In the 18 previous appearances, the Cougars have advanced to the Super Regionals three times, last coming in 2003.
QUICK HITS ON HOUSTON
The Cougars are led by one of the top pitching staffs in the nation, which ranks second in WHIP and walks allowed per nine innings and fourth in ERA.
Starters Aaron Garza (2.65 ERA, 8-4), Jake Lemoine (2.35 ERA, 6-6) and David Longville (2.98 ERA, 1-0) have a combined 15 wins to their name and all are pitching with a sub 3.00 ERA. With at least 13 starts on the season.
Garza paces all pitches with a staff-leading 98.1 innings, while Lemoine is the team leader with 82 strikeouts in 95.2 innings.
The bullpen has been rock solid all season and has been the key to a 37-0 record when leading after the eighth inning this season. The backbone behind the bullpen comes from the work of seniors Tyler Ford and Chase Wellbrock.
Ford is 8-0 with a 1.26 ERA in a team-best 26 appearances. In 64.1 innings, the lefty has allowed just five walks and 43 strikeouts. Ford leads the nation in WHIP at 0.72 and ranks among the Top 10 in ERA, walks allowed per nine innings, hits allowed per nine innings, strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Wellbrock, the Cougars' closer, is 4-0 with 12 saves and a 1.15 ERA in 20 appearances. He is equally impressive in keeping runners off base as he has allowed just five walks in 39.0 innings to accompany 33 strikeouts.
As a pitching staff, the Cougars have walked just 103 hitters all season, while striking out 390, while holding opponents to a .225 average.
Houston, offensively, is hitting .281 as a team and is coming off a strong showing at the conference tournament, which featured a team average of .373 with 56 hits and 28 runs scored in four games played. In those four games, the Cougars made just two defensive miscues, while forcing its opponents into 11.
Leading the charge offensively is senior Casey Grayson with a .335 average, team-best 73 hits, 48 RBI, 16 doubles and 46 walks. He is followed by sophomore Kyle Survance, who is hitting .315 with a team-high 46 runs scored and 30 stolen bases in just 37 attempts.
Sophomore Josh Vidales is coming off a hot-hitting week, that saw the second baseman hit .733 in four conference tournament games, to up his average to .278. For his impressive play, he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
The Bulldogs are located out of Smithfield, Rhode Island.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD OF 64
NCAA Baseball National Seeds
Baton Rouge, La.
Coral Gables, Fla.
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Fort Worth, Texas
Gates will open two hours prior to the first game each day, and the stadium will be cleared between games.
UHAA (ALUMNI ASSOCIATION INFORMATION)