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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Baseball

Baseball travels north for final game with Bearkats


Last season, the Cougars split the season series against Sam Houston State University 1-1. Houston will look to avoid the sweep Tuesday, having fell in the first two meetings of 2017. | Courtesy UH Athletics

The Cougars will try to salvage game three of the Don Sanders Cup Tuesday when they travel north for their final game of the season against the Sam Houston State Bearkats.

SHSU stole the first two games of the series with scores of 5-4 on April 18 and a dominating 12-2 victory on April 25. After a lukewarm April that saw the Cougars go just 9-9, the team will try to finish their season on a high note entering the final month of play.

Baseball will try to slow the Bearkats which enter Tuesday’s matchup as winners of three of their last four games. SHSU stole two of three games over the weekend against Southland Conference leader McNeese State University, propelling them to second place in the standings at 15-6.

Houston finds themselves in a five-way tie atop the American Athletic Conference standings with a record of 9-6. Both teams will be looking to bolster their post-season résumés with Tuesday’s pivotal nonconference meeting.

Tuesday will mark the 162nd time the universities have met on the baseball field. The historic matchup between the schools dates back to 1947 with both team’s having won 81 of the games. Houston’s 162 matchups against SHSU mark the second most games the Cougars have played against any opponent, trailing only cross-town rival Rice University’s 183 meetings.

To capture the win in Huntsville, the Cougars will need to silence the bat of junior outfielder Bryce Johnson who paces the Bearkats with a .350 average. Despite not yet hitting a home run this season, Johnson makes his presence felt on the base paths having stolen 20 bases in just 25 attempts.

In addition to Johnson, the Bearkats boast six other hitters who are hitting above the .300 mark this season with a cumulative team average of .309 entering Tuesday.

In what will be a true clash of styles, the Cougars will rely on their formidable pitching staff that is among the best in the nation.

The Cougars 3.27 team ERA ranks them 18th in the nation in the category.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. from Don Sanders Stadium.

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