Cougars hope turnaround starts with weekend series
If the Cougars want to climb out of the Conference-USA cellar, the time to start is now.
With 15 games left on the conference schedule, the team can’t afford to have many more losses. The first three of those C-USA games will come this weekend as the Cougars welcome Marshall to Cougar Field. The series is slated to get underway on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s a huge series for us,” head coach Todd Whitting said. “We have to get things turned around in conference play. We have an opportunity against a conference opponent to improve our place in the standings and start climbing the ladder towards the top.”
Marshall (13-23, 1-8 C-USA) and UH (12-22-1, 1-7-1) sit together at the bottom of the standings, and while their records may not indicate it, both teams play a resilient brand of baseball.
“The team did a tremendous job of battling back on Sunday to tie that game after being eight runs down and then they did the exact same thing (Tuesday),” Whitting said. “We battled late, had a chance to win the game, but it just didn’t work out for us. We just don’t seem to catch any breaks right now.”
And they can’t expect to catch any breaks against Marshall either. Though The Herd isn’t a top contender, Whitting said, they aren’t going to roll over for the Cougars. He expects a tough series and knows that it’ll be a challenge.
“Marshall, on paper, doesn’t look like a very good team, but they gave Rice all they wanted last weekend up at Marshall,” Whitting said. “Every conference game is important, every non-league game is important, we just need to start winning as many of them as we can.”
UH and Marshall both come limping into the series, with each team having lost four straight games.
Leading The Herd at the plate is Nathan Gomez. He leads the club in hits, double and RBIs with 43, 12 and 30, respectively. He is also second on the team with a .321 batting average.
The Cougars have been getting more production at the plate as of late, scoring 18 runs in their last four games. In Tuesday’s loss, three players had two-hit games.
Both teams have had disappointing seasons thus far, but one team will emerge from the series with an upper hand of making it to the C-USA tournament in Pearl, Miss., while the other will be on the outside looking in. The top eight teams are invited to the C-USA tournament and Houston currently holds the eighth position.