Weekend Preview: Start of the season for baseball, men’s golf
This weekend has multiple Houston teams and dozens of Cougar athletes participating in events or competitions around the country.
Men’s basketball is facing off against No. 19 SMU, and softball is striking out breast cancer against Oklahoma. In addition, baseball season is finally here and men’s golf is starting its spring season.
One of Houston’s last sports to kick off is finally starting on Friday with the No. 20 Cougar baseball team hosting Wake Forest and Nicholls State at Schroeder Park. This will be the first time Houston and Wake Forest have met, but UH leads the series against Nicholls State 31-13.
The Cougars’ first game will be against Wake Forest on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Houston plays Nicholls State on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and finishes the weekend on Sunday against Wake Forest at 1 p.m.
For the past 12 years, Houston has hosted Opening Weekend games. Under head coach Todd Whitting, the Cougars have a 17-1 during the opening weekend, good for five weekend sweeps.
This will be Whitting’s seventh season as head coach with an overall record of 208-150-1. The Cougars are also returning only 12 players from the 2016 season, bringing on 21 newcomers.
Of the returning players are the four top hitters from the 2016 season. These athletes are junior outfielder Corey Julks (.332), sophomore catcher Joe Davis (.331), junior catcher Connor Wong (.304) and junior infielder Connor Hollis (.294).
Wake Forest will be Houston’s hardest competition of the weekend, and the Cougars play them twice. In 2016, Wake Forest finished with a 35-27 overall record and a 13-17 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Two of their players received Preseason All-American Honors for the 2017 season.
Wake Forest plays Nicholls State at 2 p.m. on Friday before they play the Cougars at 6:30 p.m. The only game on Sunday is between Wake Forest and Houston at 1 p.m., so both teams should be equally rested.
Nicholls State finished 2016 with a 26-30 overall record and a 14-16 record in the Southland Conference. The Cougars are 25-5 against Nicholls State at home.
The Cougar Men’s Golf team is opening its spring season in its own All-American Intercollegiate at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas.
The Cougars will play host to 17 other teams including No. 1 Vanderbilt, No. 13 Baylor, No. 21 Auburn and No. 38 South Carolina.
The five Cougars on Houston’s team are junior Michael Perras, redshirt sophomore Matt Williams, senior Matt Scobie, redshirt senior Emmett Oh and redshirt junior Papito Gonzalez. Redshirt Freshman George Gardner and sophomore Zach Tracy will be competing as individuals.
The competition is a 54-hole tournament over the course of three days. It will start at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday and at 8 a.m. on Sunday.