Cougars face Blazers in crucial series for Conference USA championship hopes

Mark Mayorga

Staff Writer

The Houston Cougar baseball team (21-20) is nearing the end of the year and focusing on its remaining Conference USA games.

This weekend they face-off with the UAB Blazers (21-10), who are tied with them for second in C-USA, in a three-game series in Birmingham, Ala.

"We need to go out there and be ready to play," left fielder Brandon Caraway said. "This series with UAB is very important, seeing how we're tied for second with them."

The Cougars enter the game on a three-game conference winning streak and only one game behind first place Tulane in the conference standings.

The Blazers, who cost UH a chance at the conference regular season championship last year, will be contending with a Cougar team that has been successful in conference play with their well-balanced attack.

The offensive trio of Mike Medrano, Bruce Rios and Caraway average a .390 batting average and combine for eight home runs and 48 RBIs.

The Cougar pitching staff has been outstanding in its last three starts, putting together three consecutive shutouts against its conference opponents.

In game one of the three-game series, the Cougars will send left-hander Shane Nance to the mound.

Nance has fared well in conference action, going 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA.

Sophomore Duncan McAdoo gets the ball in game two. This right-hander, in his nine starts this year, has posted a 3-2 record with a 5.48 ERA.

In Sunday's matinee, senior lefty Jon McDonald will get his 10th start of the year. McDonald, the Cougars' most consistent pitcher this year, has been excellent in conference play, posting a 4-1 record with a 3.09 ERA.

"We're going to have to pick up some momentum and go out and play the type of baseball we're capable of against UAB," outfielder Mike Medrano said.

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