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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Baseball

New faces push hot start forward


Junior catcher Caleb Barker is hitting .344 with 19 RBIs. | Eteban Portillo/The Daily Cougar

Junior catcher Caleb Barker is hitting .344 with 19 RBIs. | Eteban Portillo/The Daily Cougar

With sixteen games down, freshmen and transfer players are starting to make an impact.

Junior catcher Caleb Barker has become a force in the Cougar lineup, which is atop Conference-USA standings at 12-4.

The Cougars 12th win of the season was bolstered by a sixth-inning homerun from Barker, the second of the season for the transfer from Grayson Country Community College.

“I was able to get in an advantage count, and I was just looking for a pitch the drive,” said Barker. “I got a good pitch up in the zone, put a good swing on it and it sneaked out of here.”

The 3-1 win in the rubber game Sunday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi allowed UH to take the three-game series.

In his first season at UH, Barker is hitting .344 with 19 RBIs, numbers good enough to have him third on the team in batting average and first in terms of runs batted in.

The homerun, one of Barker’s two hits on the day, helped extend his hitting streak to 10 games.

Freshman pitcher Jake Lemoine, who moved to 4-0 on the season, paired with fellow freshman Grant Slaughter, who got his first career save, to hold the Islanders to one run nine hits through nine innings.

“(Lemoine) is a great player who was drafted out of high school,” said head coach Todd Whitting. “He has a very bright future ahead of him, and he’s going to be one of the great ones at the University of Houston.”

For the season, Lemoine has a 0.52 ERA in 17.1 innings pitched.

“It’s really something special,” Lemoine said. “I haven’t felt any pressure since the first game. Coach Anderson and I have been working on certain things, and ultimately, it got rid of my jitters.”

It was the third straight weekend series the Cougars won.

“It was a big win for us,” Barker said. “To be able to come out on Sunday and get a close win like this is really good for our ball club.”

The team travels to Waco on Wednesday to take on Baylor before returning home Friday to take on the University of New Orleans.

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