|Tuesday, February 22, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 100
|Coogs look for first
By Anna Sivadasan
In the brief two-year history of the Silver Glove Series, the UH baseball team (7-3) has never been in this position.
The Rice Owls have won the season series between the two schools in each of the last two years, and subsequently, the Owls have won the Silver Glove trophy, given annually to the series winner.
Shane Nance pitched well in Saturday's contest versus Oklahoma but still picked up the loss in UH's 3-1 defeat. Today, Greg Runser will try to beat Rice for the second time.
But when UH hosts Rice this afternoon at Cougar Field, No. 9 Houston will have an opportunity to clinch the season series and keep the trophy on its side for the first time.
"I'd like to instill into everybody on our team to not just take the glove, but to also take the sweep," UH pitcher Duncan McAdoo said. "That would be really good for our seniors after what happened the last two years."
UH took the first step in the process with a 6-2 win Feb. 8 in the inaugural game at Rice's Reckling Park. The Cougars broke open a 3-1 game with a three-run ninth inning to secure the win.
Junior righty Greg Runser (1-1) started for Houston that Tuesday, and he will make his second start against the Owls this afternoon.
"Hopefully, he has the same type of stuff he had the last time he pitched against them," UH head coach Rayner Noble said. "If he does, I think he could give them some trouble."
In his previous start, Runser pitched five quality innings to lead the Cougars to the four-run victory.
"I'm not going to try and change anything from last time," Runser said. "Every time I pitch, I go out and stick with the same game plan. And if their hitters make adjustments, I'll just make adjustments to what they're doing."
The No. 21 Owls head into today's game with a respectable 6-5 record, but that mark is not up to Rice's normally high standards. The Owls' pitching has continued to be a strength, posting a team ERA under 3.00 in 11 games. But it's the lack of hitting that has led to Rice's slow start.
"They've got a lot of new faces," Noble said. "And anytime you have that, it just takes some time to acclimate to the system, especially at this level. That's something they haven't fought for in a while. The last few years they've pretty much had a veteran club. But they definitely have the pitching to get it done."
The Owls are batting just .212 as a team, and only one of their everyday players (Eric Arnold) has a batting average of more than .300.
"Their team has more depth, but what they don't have is that one guy who could beat you," Runser said. "They just don't have a guy who you have to make perfect pitches to or you have to pitch around."
Rice ace Kenny Baugh, who brings a 2-0 record and a 0.99 ERA into the game, will get the start in today's contest. Baugh has pitched 27.1 innings so far this season and has allowed only three earned runs during that stretch. He's also struck out 29 batters in those 27-plus innings.
"He's a very good pitcher, and I know I'm going to have bear down a little bit more because it's going to be a close game and one or two runs could make the difference," Runser said.
UH faced Baugh in its last meeting at Rice. The junior righty came into the game in relief and pitched six innings, allowing no earned runs with four hits and five strikeouts.
"What makes him so effective is that he can throw any pitch he wants to at any count," UH rightfielder Eric Lee said. "At 3-0, most pitchers would throw you a fastball, but he could throw his change-up or that nasty curveball."
Baugh will probably be limited to only three innings of work today because the Owls plan to save him for conference play this weekend.
First pitch this afternoon is set for 2 p.m.
Send comments to