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Saturday, August 20, 2022

Baseball

Cougars brace for C-USA joust with Knights


The Cougars hope to knock the armor off the UCF Knights this weekend as UH will look to improve upon its 8-11 record in away games. | Newton Liu/The Daily Cougar

UH will try to lick its wounds as they head to Orlando to take on the Knights of Central Florida for a three-game weekend series.

After suffering a mid-week loss to Lamar, UH leaps back into league play looking to climb higher into the conference standings.

The Cougars (20-22, 5-7 C-USA) are currently tied for third place in Conference USA, but they control their own destiny as they still have games remaining against all the teams ahead of them in the standings.

“We are in great position,” head coach Todd Whitting said. “But, we have to execute. We have to do things that make it possible for us to win games, extend leads and close games.”

“It’ll be exciting down the stretch run.”

The Cougars will meet a UCF (26-15,6-9) club in seventh place in the conference, but has won four out of five of its last games.

The matchup between UH and UCF will feature last week’s respective C-USA pitcher and hitter of the week.

UH pitcher Jordan Lewis received the award after pitching seven innings, while allowing one earned run on five hits in the Cougars 4-2 victory over ECU on Friday. Lewis struck out a career-high 10 batters.

UCF designated hitter D.J. Hicks received his honor for going 10-21 at the plate to the tune of a .476 average. He also hit three homeruns, had 13 RBI, scored seven runs and had two doubles. Hicks had a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .542 on base percentage for the week.

UH has played well against the Knights in recent history, wining last year’s series 2-1. The Cougars also lead the all-time series with an overall record of 19-7.

Friday night’s pitcher will be Jared Ray. In his first start of the season last Friday, Ray was on a strict pitch count, but was effective, going four innings.

The Cougars are entering the latter part of the season and are looking to turn their play around in order to make a serious run at post-season play. It all starts for them this weekend versus UCF.

“Our goal is to finish in position to be an at-large team in the NCAA tournament,” Whitting said. “For us to do that, we need to finish in the top four. If we finish in the top four and win a game or two in the C-USA tournament then I think that we have a great chance.”

“It’s all right there in front of us. If we win every series from here on out, we’ll be in great shape.”

The series will start at 5:30 p.m. at Jay Bergman Field in Orlando and continue on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT. The series finale gets underway at 10 a.m. CT Sunday.


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