PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Fresh off an American Athletic Conference regular-season title and tournament crown, Houston Baseball has been tabbed the league's preseason favorite, while junior southpaw Trey Cumbie has been named Preseason Pitcher of the Year, announced by the league Thursday.
Houston, led by eighth-year head coach Todd Whitting, finished ranked among the nation's Top 25 after capturing both conference championship titles and hosting a sold-out NCAA Regional at Schroeder Park for the second time in the last three seasons.
The Cougars notched its third 40-win season in the last four years and became the first Cougar team to win a regular-season conference title and a conference tournament title in the same season since 2000.
2017 also marked the first year in program history that Houston had a conference Player and Pitcher of the Year in the same season as Trey Cumbie (Pitcher) joined Jake Scheiner (Player) with those honors.
Houston was named an NCAA Regional host and played as the No. 1 seed in its 21st NCAA Regional appearance last season. The Cougars finished with a 42-21 overall record, a 15-9 mark in American play and a 23-9 record at Schroeder Park.
In the 2018 preseason poll, Houston received five first-place votes, while UConn followed with three. UCF rounded out the top three, while ECU, USF, who received one first-place vote, new member Wichita State were picked to finish fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively. Rounding out the conference poll was Memphis in seventh, Tulane in eighth and Cincinnati in ninth.
This marked Houston's third time in the last four years being ranked preseason No. 1 in the conference.
The American Athletic Conference Championship will be held for the fifth straight season in Clearwater, Fla. at Spectrum Field from May 22-27.
2018 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL
1. HOUSTON (5), 59
2. UConn (3), 50
3. UCF, 49
4. ECU, 45
5. USF (1), 43
6. Wichita State, 29
7. Memphis, 19
8. Tulane, 18
9. Cincinnati, 12
Along with Houston Baseball being named the preseason favorite for the American Athletic Conference, junior Trey Cumbie earned his second preseason nod as he was tabbed the league's Preseason Pitcher of the Year and a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Conference Team.
Cumbie is fresh off a sophomore campaign that was highlighted by him being named the American Pitcher of the Year and a First Team All-American.
The Lufkin, Texas native, led the league with a 2.04 ERA and a 10-2 record in 15 starts. The southpaw fanned 82 in 101.1 innings and had four complete games to his name last season.
- Named Preseason American Pitcher of the Year
- Named to American Preseason All-Conference Team
- Named a Preseason Second Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball
- Named American Co-Pitcher of the Year
- Named a Third Team All-American by ABCA/Rawlings
- Named to the ABCA All-Region First Team
- Named a First Team All-American by NCBWA
- Named a Second Team All-American by Perfect Game
- Named a Second Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball
- Named NCBWA National Pitcher of the Month (May)
- Named to All-American Athletic Conference First Team (SP)
- Named American Pitcher of the Week twice in 2017
- Led the American with a 2.04 ERA and a 10-2 record
- Threw three straight complete games, becoming first Cougar since Brad Sullivan in 2002 to accomplish that feat.
- Has made 15 starts and tossed 101.1 innings.
- Had four complete games and two complete-game shutouts last season.
- Struck out 82 to just 15 walks.
- Struck out a career-high 11 hitters in a complete-game shutout win at Tulane.
- Won six straight starts from March 8 to April 13.
- Didn't allow an earned run in four of his starts.
- Earned wins over Prairie View A&M, McNeese, Louisiana-Lafayette, Incarnate Word, East Carolina, Memphis, UConn (x2), Tulane and Cincinnati.
Cumbie became the first 10-game winner since Austin Pruitt went 10-5 back in 2013, while also becoming the fourth Cougar to be named Conference Pitcher of the Year in program history, but first since 2006. He joined C-USA Pitchers of the Year Brad Lincoln (2006), Brad Sullivan (2002) and Kyle Crowell (2000, 1999) representing the league's top honor on the pitching side.
Houston will host its annual Fan Appreciation Day and Alumni Game on Saturday, Feb. 10. Time is TBA.
The Cougars open the 2018 season by hosting Holy Cross in a three-game series at Schroeder Park, Feb. 16-18.
Stay up to date with all Houston Baseball news and highlights by following us on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at /UHCougarBB. Fans can also follow head coach Todd Whitting @toddwhitting on Twitter.