Rice, UH square off in Top 15 baseball showdown

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by Allison McClain / UH Athletics

khou.com

Posted on March 24, 2014 at 5:43 PM

HOUSTON – Expected to be a showdown of two Top 15-nationally ranked programs in Houston Baseball and Rice, the program’s historic rivalry will continue as the two clash at Cougar Field Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for the second game of the 2014 Silver Glove Series.

QUICK HITS ON HOUSTON

Houston Baseball has won eight of its last nine games, including its fourth weekendsweep of the season – taking down College of Charleston in a three-game set. The Cougars enter the midweek game with Rice with a 19-4 overall record and the nation’s second-best RPI behind Florida State.

Houston is hitting .277, led by four over the .300 clip. Junior Michael Pyeatt upped his average after a solid week as he now paces the team with a .340 average. Sophomore Kyle Survance is second-best with a .319 average and a team-best 29 hits – tied with senior Frankie Ratcliff, who follows with a .315 average, while also leading the team with 18 runs scored.

Senior Casey Grayson is hitting .308 with 13 RBI and a team-best eight doubles, one triple and two homeruns for a slugging percentage of .513. Senior Caleb Barker leads the team with 16 RBI.
As a team, Houston has been issued 115 walks and is 27-of-37 in stolen bases.

Through 23 games, Houston’s pitching staff continues to shine – holding one of the nation’s best ERAs at 1.53. The Cougars have allowed jut 35 walks to its 162 strikeouts and have held opponents to a mere .198 average.

Junior Aaron Garza has been the driving force behind the starting rotation and is now 6-0 in six starts for an ERA of 1.17. Sophomore Jake Lemoine is 4-1 with a 0.93 ERA and leads the staff with 32 punchouts in 38.2 innings. Sophomore Jared West picked up his second win of the year on Sunday, striking out a career-high 11 in a career-long 8.0 innings to be named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll.

Midweek starters have consisted of juniors David Longville (1.32 ERA, 0-0, 13.2 IP, 11 K), Matt Locus (0.00 ERA, 1-0, 5.2 IP, 3 K), and freshmen Andrew Lantrip (2.08 ERA, 1-0, 4.1 IP, 3 K) and Kirby Peek (3.00 ERA, 0-0, 9.0 IP, 6 K).

Out of the pen, Houston’s go-to guys have been senior Tyler Ford (0.98 ERA, 2-0, 18.1 IP, 8 K), junior Jared Robinson (2.08 ERA, 2-1, 17.1 IP, 17 K) and senior Chase Wellbrock (0.00 ERA, 0-0, 14.1 IP, 17 K), who became Houston’s all-time saves leader earlier this year – and now has six in his eight appearances this season.

QUICK HITS ON RICE

Rice heads to Cougar Field with a nine-game winning streak and a record of 19-6. The Owls are coming off a weekend sweep of C-USA foe, Florida Atlantic.

As a team, Rice is hitting .287 with six homeruns and 48 doubles. The Owls are led by John Clay Reeves’ .426 average and team-best 40 hits. Skyler Ewing follows with a .317 clip and a team-high 23 runs scored and 30 RBI.

Offensively, the Owls have been issued 102 walks to their 125 strikeouts, while swiping 18-of-28 stolen bases.

Similar to that of Houston, Rice relies heavily on its pitching staff as the Owls hold a team ERA of 2.29 with nine saves and three shutouts. Starter Blake Fox is 5-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 39.1 IP, while Zech Lemond is 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA and a team-high 39 strikeouts.

Likely to see action as the starter on Tuesday will be either Chase McDowell (1.38ERA, 3-1, 32.2 IP, 21 K) or Kevin McCanna (4.97 ERA, 1-2, 29.0 IP, 16 K).

Out of the pen this season, Rice has used Matt Ditman (0.85 ERA, 2-2, 4 SV) andLemond (3 SV).

LAST TIME BETWEEN THE TWO TEAMS

Houston and Rice last met back on Feb. 19 at Reckling Park. The Cougars handed then the No. 11 Owls a 3-0 shutout loss. In the win for Houston, Ford earned the win in relief after Locus made the start and left with the no decision. Barker drove in two runs on a double, while Grayson doubled to plate the game’s first run. Ditman suffered the loss for the Owls, allowing one run in 7.1 innings.

HOUSTON vs. RICE
•    Houston and Rice will meet for the 173rd all-time meeting – the most in program history.
•    The Owls lead the all-time series, 100-72.
•    Houston won the most recent contest, 3-0, on Feb. 19 at Reckling Park.
•    The 3-0 shutout was the first shutout for Houston since a 3-0 win back on May 12, 2006.

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