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Monday, November 29, 2021

Baseball

Running with the top teams


The Cougars offense has gone missing in their last five contests. During that span, UH has managed just six runs. In their last three outings, the Cougars have tallied 17 hits and stranded 23 men on base.  |  Catherine Lara/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars offense has gone missing in their last five contests. During that span, UH has managed just six runs. In their last three outings, the Cougars have tallied 17 hits and stranded 23 men on base. | Catherine Lara/The Daily Cougar

It’s time once again for the Cougars to make their annual trek to Minute Maid Park for the Houston College Classic.

One of the premier tournaments in the country, this year’s Classic includes a field of tough teams that are poised to make a run at Omaha.

Joining the Cougars (4-4) at Minute Maid are No. 4 Rice (9-0), No.7 Arkansas (8-1), No. 16 Texas (3-5), Tennessee (7-1) and Texas Tech (8-1).

“It’s got such great tradition,” head coach Todd Whitting said in a recent interview with MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart.  “There’s not a tournament in the country that’s more prestigious or has a better environment for the kids to be in than that one.

“The opportunity to play in a big league park, on a great stage and against great competition year in and year out, we’re fortunate to play in it.”

If the Cougars hope to be successful at the Classic, they’ll have to squeeze some runs out of Minute Maid Park.

Since pounding out 32 runs in their season-opening three-game sweep of Delaware, the Cougars’ offense has only produced out six runs in five games.

The dip in offensive production has not been due to a total lack of hitting though. The Cougars have had quality at bats and have been making good contact, according to Whitting, but the ball has either been hit right at defenders or they haven’t had the opportune bounces.

“If we play with the same intensity and the same effort we played with (Tuesday), we’ll be fine this weekend,” Whitting said.

The Cougars enter the tournament on a three-game skid and will have a tough opening draw in Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. UH will open Saturday’s slate of games with a contest against Arkansas at noon and wrap up their tournament against Texas Tech at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The rotation will look the same as it has the past two weekends. Jared Ray (1.50 ERA, 12 IP, 10 SO) will pitch Friday, followed by Jordan Lewis (1-1, 2.53 ERA) and Aaron Garza (1-1, 1.59 ERA) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Student admission to the tournament is $6 with a valid student I.D.

The tournament is also offering a value plan for students for $10, which includes a day pass to the tournament and vouchers for a hot dog and a fountain drink.

The value plan is available for purchase online via the Astros website.

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