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.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
"We are excited to be back in the NCAA Tournament. It was been a long, hard road for this program the last four years. Hosting is hard, but making the NCAA Regional tournament is even harder. LSU and Alex Box Stadium will be a great venue and its historically one of the best programs in the history of college baseball. It will be a great experience for our kids. We played over there in a Regional back in 1997 and it was a lot of fun. We are looking to return to Baton Rouge and it should be a great time for all the Cougars looking to join us on this road."
QUICK HITS ON HOUSTON
Houston enters NCAA Championship Baseball with a 44-15 record, the most wins since the 2008 tallied 48 - a program-best. The Cougars won every weekend series of the year, but one and wrapped up an impressive 27-5 record in non-conference play this year to rank No. 1 in the nation in non-conference RPI.
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.
Bryant will play as the No. 3 seed for the second straight year and are champions out of the Northeast Conference, holding a record of 42-14. Bryant enters NCAA postseason play winners of 11 of the last 15.
The Bulldogs are located out of Smithfield, Rhode Island.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD OF 64
The NCAA Baseball Tournament consists of 16 four-team, double-elimination Regionals to be played at campus sites from May 30 through June 2. The 16 winners advance to best-of-three Super Regional series from June 6-9, typically played at the home of the higher-seeded team. The eight winners advance to the double-elimination College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, starting June 14.
NCAA Baseball National Seeds
1. Oregon St.
5. Florida St.
(national seeds in parenthesis; All times Central and subject to change)
4 North Dakota St. vs. (1) 1 Oregon St., 10 p.m. ESPNU
3 UC Irvine vs. 2 UNLV, 4 p.m. ESPN3
3 Cal St. Fullerton vs. 2 Nebraska, noon ESPNU
4 Binghamton vs. 1 Oklahoma St., 6 p.m. ESPN3
4 George Mason vs. 1 Rice, 7 p.m. ESPN3
3 Texas A&M vs. 2 Texas, 3 p.m. ESPNU
Baton Rouge, La.
4 Southeastern Louisiana vs. (8) 1 LSU, 2 p.m. ESPN3
3 Bryant vs. Houston, 7 p.m. ESPN3
4 Georgia Southern vs. (5) 1 Florida St., 5 p.m. ESPN3
3 Kennesaw St. vs. 2 Alabama, 11 a.m. ESPN3
4 Kent St. vs. 1 Louisville, 5 p.m. ESPN3
3 Kansas vs. 2 Kentucky, 1 p.m. ESPN3
4 Xavier vs. 1 Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. ESPN3
3 Clemson vs. 2 Oregon, noon ESPN3
4 Youngstown St. vs. (4) 1 Indiana, 6 p.m. ESPN3
3 Stanford vs. 2 Indiana St., 1 p.m. ESPN3
4 College of Charleston vs. (2) 1 Florida, 6 p.m. ESPN3
3 North Carolina vs. 2 Long Beach St., noon ESPN3
Coral Gables, Fla.
4 Bethune-Cookman vs. 1 Miami (Fla.), 6 p.m. ESPN3
3 Columbia vs. 2 Texas Tech, 1 p.m. ESPN3
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
4 Sacramento St. vs. 1 Cal Poly, 8 p.m. ESPN3
3 Pepperdine vs. 2 Arizona St., 3 p.m. ESPN3
Fort Worth, Texas
4 Siena vs. (7) 1 TCU, 7 p.m. ESPN3
3 Sam Houston St. vs. 2 Dallas Baptist, 2:30 p.m. ESPN3
4 Jackson St. vs. (6) 1 UL-Lafayette, 6 p.m. ESPN3
3 San Diego St. vs. 2 Mississippi St., 1 p.m. ESPN3
4 Jacksonville St. vs. 1 Ole Miss, 7 p.m. ESPN3
3 Georgia Tech vs. 2 Washington, 3 p.m. ESPN3
4 Campbell vs. 1 South Carolina, 6 p.m. ESPN3
3 Old Dominion vs. 2 Maryland, noon ESPN3
4 Bucknell vs. (3) 1 Virginia, 1 p.m. ESPN3
3 Liberty vs. 2 Arkansas, 6 p.m. ESPNU
All-session booklets will go on sale to the general public Thursday, May 29, at 8 a.m. Any available individual-session tickets will go on sale to the general public Friday morning at 8 a.m. CT.
Gates will open two hours prior to the first game each day, and the stadium will be cleared between games.
UHAA (ALUMNI ASSOCIATION INFORMATION)
- The UHAA is working out details for the Baton Rouge Regional.
- The UHAA official hotel is: Hampton Inn & Suites | 462 Lafayette St. | Baton Rouge, La. 70801
- Email: Allison Crump for $139 rate (email@example.com) or call (225) 382-2100.
- Holding rooms for Houston Alumni and fans. Check back on Tuesday for a promotion code.
- This hotel is located 3 miles from Alex Box Stadium.
- For more details, visit www.houstonalumni.com or CLICK HERE.
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.