Rosters announced for Red-White World Series
The two teams for the Cougars’ annual Red-White World Series were announced Monday. The series seems to be a matchup of opposites as one team appears to have better pitchers while the other has better hitters.
Wednesday night’s game and the following two days will be an early look at how the Cougars will perform this year. Having swept the conference titles last season, they should be looking to get the chip off their shoulder and advance to the College World Series.
Here are some of the players that will be playing at Daryl and Lori Schroeder Park at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
After performing mostly out of the bullpen as a freshman, Trey Cumbie surprised many in his sophomore year. Cumbie’s entry into the starting rotation saw many firsts for the baseball team.
In 15 starts, he went 10-2 — the first Cougar to do so since 2013 — and led the American Athletic Conference with a 2.04 earned run average and four complete games pitched. Cumbie’s performance saw him named the conference’s Pitcher of the Year and a First Team All-American, the first time a Cougar had done either since 2006.
Cumbie was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 38th round of the MLB Draft but chose to return to UH for his junior year. In two years, Cumbie has done nothing but improve, so expect the same this year.
Like Cumbie, Mitch Ullom was expected to take the next step in his sophomore year after being named a Freshman All-American. In 16 starts, Ullom went 6-3 with a 3.57 ERA. Recording 51 strikeouts in 95.2 innings pitched, Ullom was named to the all-conference second team.
With John King now graduated, Ullom is in a position to be a strong No. 2 pitcher behind Cumbie. His performance on Thursday will prove if he is ready for the job.
One of only four seniors on the roster, Connor Hollis is the most experienced hitter on the team. The three-time conference all-academic team member, Hollis has played every infield position and has a knack for not making defensive errors.
But Hollis’ batting average was the worst of his career in 2017. After hitting .321 and .294 as a freshman and redshirt sophomore, Hollis only hit .266 last season. But Hollis has had 50-plus hits in back-to-back seasons for the Cougars and had a career best 30 RBI’s last year.
Look for Hollis to continue to be a strong defender for the Cougars and from time to time have a game-winning hit.
After making only one start as a freshman, Grayson Padgett made the most of his 48 starts in his sophomore year. In the first week of the season, Padgett was named the conference Player of the Week after hitting .750 and scoring six RBI’s against Wake Forest and Nicholls State.
Padgett was kept off the diamond for a while due to a knee injury, but he still managed to hit .309 with 59 hits and 40 RBI’s. The utility player came in clutch late in the season with a three-run home run against Memphis in the conference championship tournament and three RBI’s against Iowa in the NCAA Houston Regional.
Having the best average out of the returning hitters, Padgett will need to fill the void left by his teammates who went on to the MLB.
Statistically, Joe Davis took a step back from his record-breaking freshman year, but he did not have a bad season. Davis was fourth on the team in batting average (.299) and home runs (8). Playing first base and designated hitter, Davis scored 46 RBI’s on 73 hits.
All of Davis’ home runs came against conference opponents and had a hit in every game of the conference tournament. Davis was named to the all-conference second team as the DH. Now as the leading returner in home runs and RBI’s, Davis should expect to have another strong year offensively.
After transferring from Grayson College last year, shortstop Cooper Coldiron played only 15 games last year, but all his games came late in the season as the team was making its championship push. Batting .245, he scored six runs and had six RBI’s in the games he played in.
After impressing scouts in his limited action, Coldiron was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 39th round of the MLB Draft. Like Cumbie, however, Coldiron chose to return to school and make the most of his final year of college baseball.