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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Cougars open first home conference series on Friday

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Junior starting pitcher Andrew Lantrip will take the mound for the Cougars in the series opener on Friday night inside Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park. | File photo/The Cougar

After opening their conference season with a series loss on the road, the 24th-ranked baseball team returns home, looking to improve their record against the University of Central Florida Knights.

The Cougars opened their American Athletic Conference season losing the first two games of their series against the East Carolina University Pirates,  but rebounded for a win last Sunday.

Now, UH (17-11, 1-2) hosts UCF (17-14, 2-1), their first conference home games of the year.

The Cougars are also coming off a loss against the McNeese State University Cowboys on Tuesday, where they fell 4-1 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Returning home should be beneficial for the Cougars, who are 13-4 in games at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park, as opposed to a 4-7 record in games away from home.

Despite some good pitching over the past four games, the Cougars bats have struggled at times, managing just one run in three of those four games, all loses.

The Cougars pitching staff has been good this season, combining for a 2.38 ERA so far, with three starters having four wins, with sophomore Seth Romero and freshman Mitch Ullom leading the way, each 4-1 on the season, with 1.72 and 2.27 ERAs respectively.

In contrast, the Knights pitching staff has just a 4.58 ERA this year, with opponents hitting for an average of .251 against them. UCF will send Cre Finfrock to the mound on Friday, who holds a 2-2 record this season with a 2.83 ERA. Finfrock does have 52 strikeouts in only 47.2 innings of work. He will square off with junior Andrew Lantrip for the Cougars, who holds a 4-3 record and 1.95 ERA and leads the team in strikeouts with 48.

First pitch on Friday between the Cougars and Knights is set for 6:30 p.m., with the second game scheduled for Saturday at 6:30 p.m. as well. The series concludes with the rubber match on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

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