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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Baseball

After uncharacteristic loss, Cougars head to Corpus Christi


After ranking No. 2 in the NCAA in ERA last season, the Cougars currently rank tied for No. 13 with a 1.50 ERA. | Justin Cross/The Cougar

Coming off a heartbreaking loss to Houston Baptist on Tuesday night, the No. 19 Cougars look to rebound this weekend at the Kleberg Bank College Classic.

Now at 3-1, the Cougars travel to Corpus Christi for three games at Texas A&M–Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field with Missouri (3-1) Friday, Illinois (1-3) Saturday and TAMUCC (1-2) Sunday.

Following a 2016 season in which the Cougars finished No. 2 for ERA, the team is picking up right where it left off with a 1.50 ERA—No. 13 in NCAA—through four games.

Houston will feature the same rotation it used last weekend. Junior left-hander Seth Romero, sophomore right-hander Mitch Ullom and senior southpaw John King are all looking for their second wins of the season.

After starting last season on a suspension for coming to camp unprepared, Romero turned it around this year, leading the Cougars to their first win in an 8-1 victory over Wake Forest. The No. 25 prospect according to mlb.com, Romero was lights out in the contest, allowing one run on five scattered hits and striking out 12 in 6 innings.

Ullom followed that performance with a gem of his own, allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits while striking out five in 7 innings of the 5-3 victory over Nicholls State. King continued the dominance, giving up two runs, none earned, on three hits in 7 innings of a 5-4 victory over Wake Forest.

Offensively, the Cougars have been on fire, picking up at least 13 hits in each of their first three games and another 10 against HBU.

The Cougars have five batters hitting over .300, with four of them over .400. Their .341 batting average as a team currently ranks No. 26 in the NCAA.

Sophomore outfielder Grayson Padgett, reigning AAC Player of the Week, leads the Cougars with nine hits and six RBIs in four games while hitting .563/.650/.750.

After starting the season 1-9, junior catcher Connor Wong has been a linchpin at the top of the order, hitting .555, scoring four runs and going 5-5 in stolen base attempts.

Missouri, Illinois and TAMUCC represent familiar faces for the Cougars as Houston as a combined record of 12-8 against them.

At their last meeting in 2010, the Cougars beat the Tigers 3-0 at Minute Maid Park. Meanwhile, the Cougars and Illinois last met 17 years ago, and Illinois took the shootout 11-9.

The Cougars and Islanders last met in 2014, with Houston taking the 10-0 victory at home.

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