Thursday, February 18, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 96

On the Front Ro

About the Cougar

Pitcher's remark comes back to haunt Longhorns

Around the Bases

Anna Sivadasan

There's always a golden rule in sports never to say or do anything that will serve as ammunition for the team you are playing.

But Texas Longhorns freshman pitcher Ryan France did just that with his comments about the Cougar baseball team prior to Tuesday's game at Disch-Falk Field.

In Tuesday's issue of The Daily Texan, UT's student newspaper, France had this to say about the Longhorns' matchup with the No. 24-ranked Cougars: "We play the really glam teams like USC and LSU and then we play a team like UTSA (UT-San Antonio) and Houston, and those are the teams that really want to beat you."

Whether or not France's comments were meant to slight UH is debatable. The fact that he said it is not.

UTSA is not ranked in any top 25 poll. The Cougars are. And UH and UT already have an intense enough rivalry that remarks like France's will only do more harm than good. The Cougars went on to win Tuesday's game 12-9 on a three-run homer by shortstop Aaron Melebeck in the 12th inning.

The Daily Texan headline 'Texas ready for lesser UH' also didn't sit too well with Houston players. As Melebeck said, "They must think we're scrubs. Coming out and beating them makes us feel great."

Pekar's game-winning slam

Jason Pekar knows he's not going to get too many chances. With the talent in the Houston outfield, the sophomore has had a tough time cracking the Cougars' everyday lineup.

So, when the opportunity presented itself against Alabama last Saturday afternoon, he didn't let it slip away.

The scenario? The Cougars and Tide were knotted at five when Pekar stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 11th with the bases loaded.

"I thought 'Oh no, not again,'" Pekar said. "The second game of the season (against Rice), I was in the same situation and the umpire called me out on a third strike.

"Against Alabama, I was put back in the same situation, and I took advantage of it. I thought, 'There's no way I'm going to let this guy beat me. Here's my chance to shine.'"

Pekar proceeded to hit a grand slam that cleared the bases and gave UH the 9-5 victory.

The Houston Cougars upset the supposed No. 5 Longhorns 12-9 Tuesday night. The No. 24 Cougars host the Adam's Mark Houston invitational this weekend at Cougar Field.

D. Ryan Monceaux/The Daily Cougar

"It's just something that you dream about, and I got lucky enough to do it," he said.

Sykes' first start goes well

When UH left-hander Jerret Sykes took the mound Sunday against then-No. 10 Alabama, it was his first start since the 1997 NCAA regional game against UNC-Greensboro.

Last season, Sykes endured an elbow injury that limited him to only two appearances on the mound.

But against Alabama's potent offense, the redshirt sophomore gave the Cougars a glimpse of what might be to come. Sykes pitched five effective innings, allowing only one run on three hits.

"Any time a guy has to sit out an entire year because of an arm problem and is able to come out in his first start and give you five quality innings, it's a plus," UH head coach Rayner Noble said. "I'm very happy for him. He deserves to have a good year."

C-USA players of the week

Offense: UH left fielder Brandon Caraway has picked up this season where he left off last. Caraway ended last year on a 21-game hitting streak and he has added to it this year, collecting a hit in all six Cougar games. The junior currently leads UH in nine offensive categories.

Pitcher: The Cougars also nabbed conference pitcher of the week honors. For the season, right-hander Bryan Moore has pitched seven-and-two-thirds innings, allowing only three hits and three runs, none of which were earned.

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