June 10, 2013
SEASON RECAP: 2013 HOUSTON BASEBALL
Fielding one of the nation's youngest teams, the 2013 Houston Baseball team notched its success in the record books as one of the most exciting and productive seasons of late for this growing program under third-year head coach Todd Whitting.
Houston Baseball notched its first 30+ win season since 2008 - finishing with a record of 36-22. The 36 wins doubled the entire win total from 2012 (18-35-1) to rank as the third-best turnaround in college baseball this season.
The Cougars notched 22 non-conference wins to rank at the top of the league, tied with Rice. Houston finished with a non-conference record of 22-9. The 22-regular season non-conference wins was the most by Houston since joining C-USA in 1997 and most since 26 non-conference regular season wins back in 1994 when the Cougars were a part of the Southwest Conference.
Houston jumped out to its best 25-game start with a 21-4 record since the Cougars' notched a 23-2 record back in 1989. During the 25-game span, Houston notched series wins over Northeastern, Texas State, Texas A&M-CC, East Carolina and won weekend victories over Baylor (twice), New Orleans, and Texas A&M. During the 25-game span, Houston also notched a 10-game win streak from March 10-16 to mark the longest win streak since an 11-game streak back on May 5-26, 2002.
Houston broke into the national rankings for the first time since 2006 when it was ranked among the nation's Top 30 for six straight weeks. The Cougars jumped as high as No. 19 in Baseball America and USA/ESPN following a series victory at Memphis.
The Cougars produced a 23-9 home record in 2013. The 23 home victories marked the most at Cougar Field since winning 24 (24-6) back in 2008. Of the 23, 15 came out of conference, while eight came within C-USA play.
Houston finished 2013 with a record of 32-1 when leading after the seventh inning. That mark shows the performance that the Cougar late-inning bullpen was able to preserve - noting its 15 saves this season.
The Cougars finished the month of March with a 17-4 record, which lifted them to a 21-4 start and into the national rankings. Houston played just five games in the month of March away from the city of Houston.
Hosting Texas for the first time since 2000, the Cougars earned a 4-3 victory over the Longhorns at Cougar Field in front of season-high 2,342 crowd. The win marked the fourth win for Houston over a BIG 12 team this season after earning three wins over Baylor.
Houston hit .274 in 2013, led by three players with a .300 average. Justin Montemayor paced the team with a .329 clip, followed by Michael Pyeatt's .313 and Frankie Ratcliff's .300 average. Montemayor led the team with 42 runs and 73 hits, while Ratcliff paces the squad with 44 RBI and a slugging percentage of .467.
The Cougars hit .265 in C-USA play, led by Ratcliff's .353 average. Kyle Survance followed with a .342 clip, while Montemayor was third-best with a .337 average. Montemayor continued to lead the team with 16 runs scored, while Ratcliff was atop the team with 30 hits and 16 RBI in the 24 C-USA games.
Junior shortstop Frankie Ratcliff was key in Houston's success as his year was capped by being named C-USA Newcomer of the Year. The C-USA Newcomer of the Year accolade was just the second in program history as outfielder Jimmy Cesario was honored back in 2007. Ratcliff started all 58 games at shortstop after transferring in from Pensacola JC this season.
Freshman first baseman Justin Montemayor was just the second freshman in program history to be named C-USA Freshman of the Year, as the only other once came back in 1998 when left-handed pitcher Shane Nance was honored. Montemayor joins Ratcliff and freshman Josh Vidales as the only three players in the program to start all 58 games at their respective positions.
Houston freshman first baseman Justin Montemayor and outfielder Kyle Survance were tabbed 2013 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans, selected by Collegiate Baseball. The duo became the 14th and 15th Cougars all-time to earn Freshman All-America honors at Houston and first since 2008. They also were two of six selected in C-USA this season.
Four Cougars were honored as Second Team All-Conference honorees as freshman Justin Montemayor (1B), junior Frankie Ratcliff (SS), senior Austin Pruitt (RHP) and freshman Kyle Survance (OF) were tabbed among the league's best. 2013 marked the first season since 2009 that Houston landed more than two on a C-USA All-Conference post-season team.
Proving to be the backbone of this rising program, four freshmen were named the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. Justin Montemayor (1B), Josh Vidales (2B), Kyle Survance (OF) and Jake Lemoine (RHP) were all honored for their immediate contributions during their collegiate debut seasons. With the four representatives, Houston had the most on the 11-man team. 2013 marked the eighth straight year Houston had a representative on this squad and most since five were named in 2001.
Houston went 5-1 vs. the Big 12 and SEC this season. Three of the five wins came against Baylor (15-4 (7), 5-3, 3-2), while one came against Texas (4-3), and Texas A&M (7-6).
Junior shortstop Frankie Ratcliff tied the Houston single-season record with eight triples, while finishing 2013 ranked second in the nation. Ratcliff tripled in seven games this season - as two of his triples came in a win over Rice on April 19. He led Conference USA in three-baggers and became the first C-USA player to have that at least eight triples since Charlotte's Corey Lane hit 11 back in 2005.
Freshman leadoff hitter Josh Vidales proved to be a true table setter for the Cougars, tallying a Conference USA-leading 49 walks - good enough to rank 10th in the nation. He finished just one walk shy of Cougar Great Michael Bourn's all-time freshman record of 50 set back in 2001. Vidales walked five times against Texas Southern on April 16 to tie a UH single-game record, becoming just the fifth Cougar in program history with five walks in a single game. He also broke the single-game College Classic record with four walks vs. Baylor on March 2.
Houston notched a 10-game win streak midseason that lasted from March 10-26, which included wins over Texas A&M-CC, Baylor (twice), UNO (twice), Texas, Harvard and a sweep of East Carolina. The 10-game streak was the longest since an 11-game win streak back on May 5-26, 2002.
Houston finished with a C-USA-leading 25 triples as a ball club this season, finishing just two shy of tying the single-season all-time record of 27 - set by the 1990 team. The Cougars finished 2013 ranked seventh in the nation with their 25 triples. Frankie Ratcliff led the team with eight, followed by sophomore Michael Pyeatt and freshmen Josh Vidales and Ashford Fulmer with three each.
The Cougars jumped out to an impressive start, garnering a C-USA weekly honor during the first three weeks of the season and went on to tally four total. Freshman second baseman Josh Vidales earned Hitter of the Week following his .500 Opening Weekend performance vs. Northeastern. A weekl later, Austin Pruitt garnered Pitcher of the Week honors after tossing a one-hit, complete-game shutout at Texas State. Freshman Justin Montemayor would go on to follow up Pruitt's accolade by being named Hitter of the Week during Week 3 of the season after his performance following a 2-1 weekend at the College Classic. The last time a Cougar team accomplished three straight weekly honors came back in April 2003 with two pitching honors and one hitter of the week, but this is the first time in program history that Houston has opened the season with three straight honorees. Junior Daniel Poncedeleon went on to be named Pitcher of the Week on April 1 after his complete-game, eight-strikeout effort at Memphis.
Three Cougars (Caleb Barker, Josh Vidales, Kyle Kirk) were named to the Astros Foundation College Classic All-Tournament team, while Justin Montemayor was named to the C-USA Championship All-Tournament team. Montemayor, Vidales, juniors Frankie Ratcliff and Jonathan Davis, freshman Kyle Survance, and Austin Pruitt went on to be named to the All-Silver Glove Series vs. Rice.
Senior Austin Pruitt finished 2013 with five complete games to lead C-USA in that category. His five CG's this season came at Texas State, vs. Baylor, vs. Seton Hall, at UCF and vs. East Carolina. Of the five complete games, Pruitt recorded wins in four. He pitched a team-leading 113.2 innings and lasted at least 6.0 innings in all 15 starts. He became the first Cougar to throw 100+ innings since Brad Lincoln tossed 127.2 innings back in 2006. He also broke the UH single-season strikeout record by a senior with 92 punchouts, surpassing Bob Peters' 82 strikeouts in 1962.
Austin Pruitt, Houston's Team MVP, notched a 10-win season with a record of 10-5 in his 15 starts. He became the first Cougar pitcher to record a double-digit win season since National Player of the Year Brad Lincoln tallied 12 back in 2006. Pruitt notched six of his 10 wins at home to bring his career-home wins total to eight, which ranks tied for ninth all-time in Houston history with Danny Zell (2002-03).
Because of his 10 wins, five complete games, team-leading 2.85 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 113.2 innings, Austin Pruitt has been named a Semifinalist for the inaugural Gregg Olson Award - honoring the nation's "Breakout Player of the Year." The award recognizes those players who have elevated their game from the previous season. Finalists will be announced in June.
Junior Chase Wellbrock racked up 11 saves in his team-leading 25 appearances out of the pen for Houston and became the first Cougar pitcher to record that many saves in one season since Donnie Joseph had 11 back in 2009. Wellbrock earned saves in wins over Texas A&M, Texas, East Carolina, Memphis, Marshall, Rice, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane (twice) and Southern Miss (twice). He had two weeks where he recorded two saves during that span.
Freshman Jake Lemoine finished 2013 with seven wins (7-4), one win shy of tying the UH all-time freshman win record set by Chase Dempsay (8) back in 2008. Lemoine worked out of the pen and as a starter and was 4-0 through his eight starts. He recorded wins over Sam Houston State, Texas State, Penn State, Texas A&M-CC, Marshall, Louisiana-Lafayette, and McNeese State. Lemoine opened his season without allowing an earned run in his first five appearances, while going 3-0 in that time. He finished second-best on the team with a 3.49 ERA and fanned 45 in 69.2 innings - making 18 appearances and 10 starts.
Freshman outfielder Kyle Survance made his debut season one to remember as the speedster recorded a team-best and C-USA-leading 20 stolen bases in a 20-for-23 effort. He had five multi-stolen base games (Southern Miss, UAB, Louisiana-Lafayette, Harvard and Texas). Survance also put together a Houston-best 23 game on-base safely streak, which began back on April 7 at Marshall and lasted until the East Carolina game on May 23 at the C-USA Championship. During that span, Survance recorded a hit in 21 of the 23 games during that span and a walk and hit-by-pitch in the remaining two.
Junior catcher(Caleb Barker was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List in 2013, which honors the nation's top catcher. Barker caught in 57 of the 58 games with 54 starts behind the dish. He fielding .990 and was second-best in RBI on the team with 43.
Freshman Josh Vidales was named a College Baseball 360 Primetime Performer following his weekend at the College Classic. He reached base nine times over that respective week with three hits and six walks - helping Houston to wins over Texas A&M and Baylor.
Juniors Jonathan Davis and(Caleb Barker each belted their first homeruns of the year - which were both grand slams. Davis' came in a win over Baylor at the College Classic at Minute Maid Park, while Barker's came in a shutout win over Texas A&M-CC at Cougar Field. The last time two grand slams were hit in a single season came when Bryan Pounds and Jake Stewart hit one each in 2008.
Houston recorded a 4-0 record over Conference USA foe, East Carolina - which included a regular season series sweep at Cougar Field and a win at the C-USA Championship in pod play. The sweep was the first home C-USA sweep for the Cougars since May 15-17, 2008 - over five years ago.
Houston racked up five C-USA series victories, including the last three of the season to surge back to finish in a tie for fifth place overall with a 13-11 league record. The Cougars produced a sweep of East Carolina and road series wins at Memphis, Tulane and home series wins vs. UAB and Southern Miss. Of the five series wins, three of the teams finished just ahead of Houston in the final standings.
Houston was atop C-USA all season long in walks and finished 2013 with 233, nearly 50 more compared to 2012. The Cougars' tied the College Classic all-time record with 14 base on balls in a run-rule victory over Baylor on March 2 at Minute Maid Park. The record tied Texas Tech's 14 walks in 2010. Leadoff hitter Josh Vidales led Houston with four of the 14 walks.
Juniors(Caleb Barker and Daniel Poncedeleon were both honored on the 13-man C-USA Baseball All-Academic Team. The duo was the first time the Cougars placed two on the team in the same year since 2008, while having at least one honoree for the last seven years. In order to be recognized, the student-athlete must have a 3.2 GPA and be at least a sophomore, while serving as a starter or key reserve.
Junior(Caleb Barker and freshman Justin Montemayor were two of 15 Houston student-athletes to receive an Academic Medal, which honors those who have notched a 3.75 GPA or higher during the 2012-13 academic year.
Following a record-breaking 3.17 team GPA in the fall, Houston Baseball was honored with 25 student-athletes on the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll list - to lead all teams in Houston Athletics. To be named to the list, a student-athlete must hold a 3.0 GPA or better.
Houston bid farewell to three departing seniors following the 2013 season as pitchers Austin Pruitt, Matt Hernandez and Ryan Bonnot wrapped up their Cougar careers. The three were all junior college transfers and lettered two years at Houston.
After leading Oklahoma State to six regional appearances and Texas to a National Championship in 2002, pitching coach Frank Anderson joined Houston in July 2012 and lifted the Cougar pitching staff to 36 wins and 15 saves in 2013. No Houston starting pitcher finished with a losing record and the staff fanned 385 hitters and walked just 161 compared to 2012 (347K/219BB) and 2011 (313K/223BB). The staff's ERA finished at 3.74 compared to 2012 (5.32) and 2011 (4.56).
Houston played its 13th straight year in the Astros Foundation College Classic, held at Minute Maid Park. The Cougars join Rice as the only representatives each year in existence. Houston produced its second straight 2-1 Classic under head coach Todd Whitting. The Cougars earned a 7-6 win over then-No. 30 Texas A&M and a 15-4 (7 inning) win over Baylor before falling 13-2 to Cal.
World-renowned strength and conditioning coach Lee Fiocchi joined the Houston Baseball program in June 2012. He is currently the Founder and Director of Dynamic Sports Training in Houston and has experience as the Director of Major League Baseball Off-Season training in Florida, working with several high-profile MLB athletes including Houston's very own Michael Bourn.
Houston Baseball spent much of its off-season away from Cougar Field, working within the local community. The Cougars spent time working with Habitat for Humanity, reviving a home in the local area, while also spending a day with Marathon Kids - inspiring youth to continue to exercise and enjoying walking and running.
Over 60 former Houston Baseball players made their way back to Cougar Field for the second straight year of Fan Appreciation Day/Alumni Game. The event welcomed over 1,000 fans, which were able to take part in contests for signed memorabilia and an autograph session following the event.
Four Cougars were selected in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. RHP Austin Pruitt was taken in the ninth round by the Tampa Bay Rays, while RHP Daniel Poncedeleon was selected in the 14th round by the Chicago Cubs. The two were joined by LHP Matt Hernandez in the 23rd round by the Los Angeles Angels and shortstop Frankie Ratcliff in the 40th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. These four became the 128th-131st Cougars all-time to be selected in the MLB Draft.
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