Wednesday, February 10, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 90

Rice draws first blood in series

A UH coach is headed to NFL . . . again

About the Cougar

UH-Rice: a budding rivalry

By Mark Mayorga
Daily Cougar Staff

For there to be a rivalry between two teams like No. 2 Rice and No. 24 Houston, there must be some competitive dueling between the two teams in order for there to be any kind of appeal.

Tuesday night both teams supplied each fan in attendance with his money's worth, as the two combined for 22 runs in the opening game of the second annual Silver Glove Series.

"These games aren't so much about winning a trophy but about pride," Rice shortstop Damon Thames said. "We've played against most of these guys around high school, so it's a battle on each side. It's great to win against good competition and at the same time try to keep the trophy on our side."

In a game that displayed the characteristics of a big heavyweight boxing match, both teams exchanged punches, but it was Rice's seven-run fourth inning that proved to be a climb too high for the Cougars.

"Both teams swung the bats well today, but it's hard to win when you give up seven runs in one inning. And that's what really broke our backs," Houston head coach Rayner Noble said.

The Cougars were handed their first loss of the season, but one thing was clear, Houston can and will be able to play and win against some of the best teams in college baseball.

"It's a learning experience early in the season, but we want to beat teams like this," infielder Sean Allen said. "The big key is that we have to beat the top teams in the country so we can be considered amongst the top."

After surrendering their early four-run lead, the Cougars saw that lead turn into a three-run deficit in the top of the next frame. However, the Cougars displayed what a year of maturity can do to a ball club. The Cougars didn't lie down; they came back with four runs and even had an opportunity to tie late in the game. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert with the bases loaded.

"I thought we did a good job, considering Nance may not have been at his sharpest, but he's tough any day," Rice head coach Wayne Graham said. "To come back from a four-run deficit, that really makes me proud."

If this game is any indication of what is to come for both of these teams this season, the next four meetings throughout the year should pan out to make this second annual Silver Glove Series one to talk about for a long time.

"We're not in the same conference, but it's fun to come out and get the bragging rights to the city," Rice outfielder Jason Gray said. "Everyone knows it's going to be a battle every time we take the field, and since we have four more games, it should be exciting. We got them this time, but we definitely have to be ready for next time."

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