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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Baseball

UH baseball recruiting class ranks No. 24 nationally, No. 1 in AAC


Catcher Kyle Lovelace at bat during his junior season for UH baseball in the 2020 season. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

Catcher Kyle Lovelace at-bat during his junior season for Houston baseball in the 2020 season. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

The UH baseball team enters the 2021 season with the No. 1 recruiting class in the American Athletic Conference, the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper announced on Friday.

The publication’s rankings come in anticipation of the upcoming season and have Houston at No. 24 nationally, ahead of any other team in their conference.

The AAC had a healthy dose of teams that received honorable mentions by the esteemed publication including Tulane, UCF, South Florida and Wichita State.

East Carolina was the only other AAC school to be nationally ranked at No. 35, giving them the No. 2 spot in the conference.

Houston has finished in the top three in the AAC for ERA and WHIP in six of the last seven seasons. They continue to make pitching a focal point for the team. Of the 29 newcomers, 17 of them are pitchers.

The Cougars also added depth to their outfield with six new additions. They also brought in three infielders, two utility players and one catcher.

The recruitment class mostly stretches throughout the South and Southwest. The new players, most of which are transfers, come from Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, South Carolina and Rhode Island.

Head coach Todd Whitting heaped praise on the class and the efforts to find the players.

“This is a tremendous class with great depth all over the diamond,” Whitting said. “I am thrilled that the relentless effort in recruiting by the staff, led by Associate Head Coach Terry Rooney, was recognized on a national level.”

With the exception of South Florida, the other AAC schools mentioned were off to strong starts to their respective seasons pre-pandemic and each boasted double-digits in the win column.

Although the 2020 season was canceled before conference play could begin, Houston ranked towards the bottom in the AAC standings with an overall record of 6-9.

Since 2014, Houston has won five conference titles – a statistic that ranks second in Texas and eighth nationally. They have made four appearances in the NCAA tournament in that timeframe.

There is still no official start date announced for the 2021 season.

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