|Tuesday, February 29, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 105
|Texas invades tonight
By Anna Sivadasan
It's official. They are the best of the best.
In the latest college baseball polls released Monday, the Houston Cougars are the No. 3 team in the nation, behind only top-ranked Florida State and Stanford.
"It's awesome," UH's Robert Dieudonné said. "After sweeping LSU, we knew we would be up there. We want to be even higher, but right now it's exciting."
The last time UH got off to this impressive of a start was seven years ago.
The Southwest Conference was still in existence, and Jason McDonald and Matt Beech were closing out their college careers as Cougars.
But McDonald and Beech are now playing in the majors, and the SWC has long been over.
UH, however, is still going strong.
The Cougars (11-3) have won 10 of their last 11 contests and, for the second time this season, have a five-game winning streak heading into tonight's contest against No. 4 Texas at Cougar Field.
Numerous factors have helped the Cougars' rise to the top of the polls. Offensively, UH is averaging more than six runs per game and has scored in double digits in four consecutive games -- all against Top 25 teams.
"In the beginning of the year, we didn't have everybody in the lineup hitting," second baseman Brandon Caraway said. "But now, 1 through 9, everyone is swinging the bat well."
Pitching is another reason UH has vaulted to the top of the rankings. On the mound, the Cougars' team ERA stands at 3.86. UH has given up 54 earned runs in 14 games, but 23 of those runs came in two games. In the other 12 games, the staff ERA is 2.58.
"We do have a quality staff," Dieudonné said. "We've had a few lapses in a couple of games, but as long as we limit those games to once a month, we're fine."
The Longhorns (13-3) head into tonight's game just as hot as UH. UT has also won five consecutive games, and is coming off of a three-game sweep of Big 12 rival Iowa State. UH lost to UT twice in its opening weekend in Austin.
Junior right-hander Greg Runser (1-1, 4.40) will get his third start of the season for Houston. Runser's previous two starts were against Rice.
"We've been looking forward to this game since we lost to them in Austin," Runser said. "The first time we played them, they stole a game from us, and we just want to show that we're the better team."
First pitch for tonight's game is set for 7 p.m. The game can be seen
locally on Channel 55.
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