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Tuesday, February 22, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 100

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UH looking good early on

Sports Opinion

Rohith Nandagiri

There is something special about this year's Cougar baseball squad. They have a sort of quiet confidence about them, which they have translated into a solid 7-3 record.

They are ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation and have beaten traditionally strong baseball schools such as Rice and salvaged a tough win at Austin against Texas.

Kyle Crowell

In college baseball, just as in pro baseball, the season is very long. It stretches from the beginning of the semester through May and after the semester ends. A lot can happen between now and then, and losses will be incurred along the way.

Many Cougar supporters are foaming at the mouth for a chance to go to the College World Series in Omaha, a place no Cougar team has gone since the late 1960s, when Bill Worrell pitched for the team.

With a senior-laden pitching staff led by Kyle Crowell and Shane Nance, the Cougars definitely have the chance to contend for the national championship. Crowell had an unbelievable effort last week in which he shut out Oral Roberts over nine full innings. Throw in a little Duncan McAdoo and Robert Dieudonne and you have an experienced pitching staff that UH head coach Rayner Noble can depend on.

But not only is the pitching strong, the offense is very potent. Jarrod Bitter and the Cougar hit squad are scoring a decent amount of runs in the early going. Once Brandon Caraway and Jason Pekar come around and hit like they did last year, they should be the top offensive club in the region.

The lineup has a little bit of everything. There is speed with Eric Lee and Brandon Caraway. You have power with Bitter and J.P. Woodward, and you have good contact and clutch hitting in Pekar and others. 

Today at 2 p.m. the Cougars take on Rice at Cougar Field in yet another rivalry game. The Cougars beat Rice on the opening day of their new stadium and the Owls can't be too happy with that piece of history.

It also didn't help that this newspaper, as well as our homecoming king, basically referred to Rice in a derogatory manner

But this is what college sports is all about. It's great to see this intense rivalry develop with a school that is so close by. It's too bad that Rice students are not as enthusiastic about their sports as UH fans are, but it is great to see 

that even though they are so different, they have a connection in that they have great baseball teams. Now, if only all the sports could rival each other in that way.

The Cougars are winning a good percentage of their non-conference games against tough competition. When they enter Conference USA play, UH should dominate as usual. The only school that has a remote chance of giving the Cougars trouble is Tulane. But Houston has a chance to have a great record heading into the post season. It might be a bit premature, but the Cougars have not been in this sort of position in a long time, so it is OK to be a bit giddy.
 

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