Rice, UH square off in Top 15 baseball showdown


by Allison McClain / UH Athletics


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.


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.


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).


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 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.