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Monday, November 19, 2018

Baseball

Cougars hope to exploit Owls’ early season woes


The Cougars will play rival Rice at 4 p.m. today at Reckling Park.

After getting swept by Texas State at the start of the season, the Cougars almost made up for it last weekend by winning two- out-of- three against Santa Clara, improving the team’s record to 2-4 for the early season.

Despite winning the series, head coach Rayner Noble still has high demands for his players.

“All I’m looking for is guys that want to compete, and aren’t overcome by the moment,” Noble said.

Still under .500, the Cougars did show some encouraging signs, particularly with their bats. They managed 40 hits for 27 runs, ending with a .308 batting average for their series against the Broncos.

“When you get pitches up in the zone, and their pitchers fall behind in the count,” Noble said, “those are conditions where you should be able to hit.”

UH first baseman and pitcher Matt Creel had an extraordinary series, hitting .600 and driving in eight runs. Creel attributed much of his success to the players earlier in the batting order.

“When everybody else gets hits,” Creel said, “it gives you a lot more power at the plate.”

The Cougars aren’t alone in their early season struggles, as the Owls (3-4) started the season 0-4 before winning their last three at Reckling Park.

Today’s meeting will be the 150th between the schools, with Rice leading the series 81-69. Rice went 4-1 against UH last year, taking two of three games at Cougar field, as well as the sole game played at Reckling Park.

After facing Rice, the Cougars will participate in the Houston College Classic at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Minute Maid Park against Missouri.

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