The Houston Cougars will take a break from their Conference USA schedule and host former Southwest Conference rival No.14 Texas A&M in a doubleheader, 4 p.m. today at Cougar Field.
The Cougars (16-11 overall, 5-1 C-USA), tied with UAB atop the standings, have not fared well against nationally ranked opponents. Today's doubleheader with the Aggies will be the 12th and 13th games against ranked teams for the Cougars, who have posted a 4-7 record against them.
Senior Jon McDonald, who still remembers playing in the old SWC, considers these games important for the Cougars.
"It's a good rivalry with those guys," McDonald said. "We get up for them just a little bit more because they're the Aggies."
The Houston offense that has scored 42 runs in its last three games will be facing a tough Texas A&M pitching staff. The Aggies' four starters are a combined 18-5, with an 2.82 ERA.
The Aggies' offensive attack includes not only hitting but speed as well. A&M brings a solid lineup that has been able to swipe 55 bases this year.
"It's going to be a long day," left fielder Brandon Caraway said. "We're not going to get away with mistakes. We're gonna have to do the little things in these two."
In game one, the Cougars will send sophomore Alex Jackson to the mound. Jackson this year is 2-0 and has a team-best ERA of 3.27. The Aggies will counter with sophomore Chance Caple, who is 4-0 and has an ERA of 1.77.
In game two, freshman Kyle Crowell will get the ball for the Cougars in his third start of the year. Crowell, in his nine appearances this year, has an ERA of 5.40 in 13 innings of work.
The Cougars are in the midst of a four-game winning streak and will have to maintain their good pitching and hitting against A&M.
"We're playing really well and feeling good," Scottie Scott said. "They're a good club, but hopefully we'll come out and play like we are now. We're in a groove."
UH pitcher Shane Nance said, "We're looking to win both games. They're a good team to play if we want to get recognized nationally."
Sunday: Cougars 17, South Florida 4
On deck: Cougars (16-11, 5-1 C-USA) vs.Texas A&M (21-10) - 4 p.m. today at Cougar Field
*All home games are free to UH students