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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Baseball

Cougars face tougher competition in rush for 12 straight wins


If the Cougars win on Friday, they will beat their 11 game win streak set in 2002. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Houston (19-5) is headed to Orlando, Florida this weekend to face the University of Central Florida (20-6) in its first conference series of the season.

Now on an 11-game winning streak, the Cougars hope to push the momentum through the weekend. Tuesday evening’s win against Incarnate Word marks the first time since 2002 that Cougar baseball has won 11 straight games.

Sophomore Trey Cumbie, the American Pitcher of the Week, pitched another scoreless start against Incarnate Word to help the Cougars to an 8-1 win. His ERA improved to .74, which has advanced him to No. 11 in the nation.

Sophomore designated hitter Joe Davis led Houston in offensive plays against Incarnate Word. Davis hit in three out of the five RBIs of the evening.

Houston Baseball is now shifting its attention to the American Athletic Conference series against UCF.

Although Houston has an elite ERA of 2.11 that places them at fourth in NCAA rankings, UCF is just behind with an ERA of 2.23 and fifth place.

While on the diamond, Houston’s players will have to watch out for UCF’s key pitchers, Juan Pimentel, Robby Howell, Joseph Sheridan and Chris Williams. Most notable is Pimentel, with an ERA of 1.29, stronger than every Houston pitcher other than Cumbie.

The gap between their batting averages is similar as well. UCF’s batting average sits at .295, while Houston’s is at .305. The Cougars will need to pitch strong against the Knights’ Luke Hamblin (.361), Rylan Thomas (.360), and Matthew Mika (.345).

The match-up between the two teams will be fairly even, although when comparing the lead players of both teams, Houston’s come out on top.

Despite Houston’s combined batting average of .305, junior shortstop Jake Scheiner leads the team with a .436 batting average, and he ranks ninth nationally. He has reached base in 14 straight games.

This series will provide much stronger competition than Houston has seen recently, and the Cougars will need to be prepared to face a team level with their strengths.

The first pitch is scheduled for Friday at 5:30 p.m. The next game is scheduled for Saturday at 5:30 p.m., and the series will conclude on Sunday at noon.

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