Cougars on the prowl

D. Ryan Monceaux

Sports Editor

The University of Houston is as well represented in the major leagues as any other college in the nation. With five players in the bigs, the Coogs sport an awesome group of talent.

Doug Drabek, undoubtedly the best-known former Cougar, is struggling once again this season. With a high ERA and a sub-.500 record, Drabek is floundering for his fourth team in eight years. Many remember his Cy Young year in 1991, but since then his career, including four years in Houston, has taken a dramatic downturn. However, this season with Baltimore is exactly what the Orioles should have expected when they signed him.

The line on Drabek

5-6, 6.26 ERA, 69.0 IP, 37 SO

Woody Williams finds himself as the best pitcher on a Toronto Blue Jays team that boasts the past two AL Cy Young Award winners. A UH pitcher in 1987 and '88, Williams has compiled a great résumé in this his sixth season in Toronto.

The line on Williams

7-2, 3.29 ERA in 14 starts

Matt Beech is on a short-term role with the Phillies. Monday evening, Beech pitched eight innings of four-hit ball with a career high 11 strikeouts. He evened his season record in an impressive 2-1 win over the Pirates. Although his season stats are not overly impressive, he's on his way to becoming a great pitcher in only three seasons in the league.

The line on Beech

3-3, 4.52 ERA, 69.2 IP, 68 SO

Jason McDonald has played most of the year in the outfield for the Oakland A's, but is on the disabled list at the moment due to a concussion. McDonald was the guy who slammed into future Hall of Famer Ricky Henderson in late May. He was scheduled to come off the DL June 8, and there is no word on when he will be back in the bigs.

Minor League highlights

Scott Sheldon, who played for UH between 1988 and 1991, has seen limited action in the majors this year. He has played most of his year in AAA Oklahoma City, where he has 13 homers and 45 RBIs for the Redhawks.

Geofrey Tomlinson, who left UH in 1997 and was drafted by the Royals in the fifth round, has been selected to start in the Midwest League All-Star Game June 23 in Clinton, Iowa. The Class A outfielder plays for the Lansing Lugnuts in his first year as a pro.

Former Cougar hoopsters

Hakeem Olujawon is experiencing pain due to tendonitis but is still scheduled to undergo surgery on his knee sometime this offseason. However, the 1998-99 Rockets will have a much different look without Clyde Drexler and Kevin Willis and the possibility of losing Charles Barkley.

Galen Robinson and Willie Byrd are playing basketball in the United States Basketball League for the Tampa Bay Wind Jammers. Through 20 games both, especially Robinson, are playing well.

Robinson is 18th in the USBL in scoring, averaging almost 19 points per game. He is also seventh in the league in rebounds, pulling down 8.6 boards a game. Willie Byrd is averaging almost eight points a game in very limited action.

On to the Open

Heading into this week's U.S. Open, PGA Tour veteran and Coog alumnus Fred Couples is the hottest player on the tour. After his win two weeks ago at The Memorial, Couples jumped to the top of the money list with almost $1.5 million. Couples also came close to winning at Houston and in the Masters. While the Open is not Couples' favorite major, he likes his chances at Olympic Club.

"I like the course, and although my record there is shaky, I think with decent driving I could put up a good finish," Couples said at the Shell Houston Open.

Steve Elkington, who was a part of the 1983 and '84 NCAA Championship teams, is still recovering from viral meningitis and is working his way back to full strength. His closing-round 68 at last week's Buick Classic put him in a great position to attack the course this week.

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