Tuesday, February 23, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 99

Stringfellow looks to get UH back to the stars

No.36 Lady Cougars tennis team takes on rival A&M today

About the Cougar

Sykes and Friends tune it up for Rice tonight

By Anna Sivadasan
Daily Cougar Staff

Houston Cougar baseball fans know the pitcher Jerret Sykes.

Ask a Houston fan about Sykes, and he will tell you that Sykes is the sophomore lefthander for the UH baseball team.

The real question, however, is entirely apart. Does anybody know about Jerret Sykes, the musician?

During his high school years at Cypress Creek, Sykes teamed up with teammate Bruce Rios, and two other high school friends, to form a band called Hollow.

"We really got serious about it in my junior year and his (Rios) senior year," Sykes said. "We just fooled around with songs that we both knew."

After playing together for a while, the crew of Hollow started writing its own songs. Later, the small-time band would finally get its big break.

"All of a sudden, our lead singer calls and says 'I've got a gig at Fitzgerald's,'" Sykes said. "It was a fun experience. We got paid for the gigs, we heard ourselves on tape, and we actually got a CD made."

With Sykes on guitar and Rios on the drums, Hollow turned out a demo and, to this day, Sykes still remembers one song in particular.

"Our favorite song, and the most fun song to play, was called 'Mad, Happy Love Contradiction,'" Sykes said. "It was a song that our lead guitarist wrote in about five minutes. It was a fast and upbeat song, and everyone liked it."

And of course, most importantly, "I got to sing a little bit on it," he added.

In addition to being a student-athlete, Sykes is also actively involved in UH campus life.

After being injured for most of last season, Jerret Sykes had two quality starts in 1999.  The Cougars play Rice tonight at 7p.m. at Cameron Field.

Barry Watson/The Daily Cougar

"When I first came here, I heard a lot of rumors," he said. "People were saying 'you don't want to go to UH; there's no campus life.'

"But there's a lot more activity on campus than what I imagined. It's just a matter of opening your eyes and getting out there."

However, these days, one of his primary objectives is pitching for the Cougar baseball team. After sitting out for the majority of last season with an elbow injury, the redshirt sophomore has made two starts this year and so far, so good.

"My elbow isn't giving me any problems whatsoever," he said. "The only soreness that I feel is what a pitcher normally feels after a game."

Although he said his true passion is baseball (he's played since he was four-years old), in high school at Cy Creek, Sykes tried his hand at another sport. He suited up as quarterback and receiver in football and played as first baseman and pitcher for the baseball team. He soon discovered, however, that he belonged on a baseball diamond rather than on a football field.

"When I graduated, I knew that if I was going to go anywhere in baseball, it was going to be as a pitcher, because I'm left-handed, and I'm not real fast," Sykes admitted.

Like most players, the sophomore enjoys emulating the best. And, as a fellow left-hander, there is one guy in the majors that stands out for Sykes. "Tom Glavine (Atlanta Braves' Cy Young winner), and I have a similar style of pitching," he said. "We both are left-handed. We don't really throw that hard, but we're able to hit our spots when we need to.

"I watch him pitch and see the way he lives on that outside corner. And I watch my film and I'm just the exact same way. Obviously, he's a lot better than I am."

UH resumes its Silver Glove Series at 7 p.m. against No. 2 Rice at Cameron Field. After its 22-inning game Sunday against Baylor, the Cougars would like to reverse their negative trend, beginning with tonight's contest. The Owls have won nine of the last 11 games in the crosstown rivalry.

"If we're going to prove that we can hang with anybody, we're going to have to beat the Rice Owls," Sykes said. "After getting a few more games under our belt, with wins against 'Bama and UT, it's going to be a different ballgame this time around."

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