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Friday, March 3, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 108

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UH continues challenging stretch with Illinois in town

By Anna Sivadasan
Daily Cougar Staff

Three more months like February, and the UH baseball team will be in pretty good shape. "Considering the competition we played, it was a great month for us ," UH right fielder Eric said. "Now we just have to build on it."

After a successful February, the third-ranked Cougars will open March with a three-game series against the Illinois Fighting Illini this weekend at Cougar Field.


Pete Medrano/The Daily Cougar


UH will try to rebound from Tuesday's loss to Texas with a strong showing this weekend against the Illinois Fighting Illini.

UH was 11-4 last month with 10 victories against teams that made the regionals last season and six wins against top 25 teams. 

UH's month was also highlighted by a three-game sweep of then No. 2 Louisiana State in Baton Rouge last weekend.

As for the losses, three were at the hands of Texas, with one of the defeats going into extra innings and another decided on Tuesday night in the ninth inning. The fourth defeat in February came at home to the Oklahoma Sooners.

"I feel pretty good about where we're at," UH head coach Rayner Noble said. "We do need to improve on some things. We'll probably make some adjustments in our starting rotation, and I'd like to solidify our bullpen. It just takes a little time for everything to come together, but I'll take our record right now."

The Cougars had two separate five-game winning streaks during the month, and as indicative of the 11-4 record, they did not have a substantial losing stretch. And with a high ranking, the bull's-eye is now clearly on their back.

"Teams are definitely coming at us harder because of where we're at," UH third baseman Kris Wilken said. "But that's how our team wants it to be. We want to see the best from other teams, because it just makes us better."

Eric Lee

Kyle Crowell (3-0, 1.59 ERA), Duncan McAdoo (2-0, 6.28) and lefty Shane Nance (2-1, 2.96) will be Houston's three starters against Illinois this weekend.

The Illini come into this weekend's action 3-0 after a three-game sweep of Texas-Pan American.

Illinois will start three right-handers -- Jason Anderson, Justin Olson and Joe Ziemba -- against UH this weekend.

The junior Anderson was an All-Big Ten selection last season.

"He was a freshman the last time we saw their team," Noble said. "He was drafted pretty high out of high school, and he's a pretty good talent."

Anderson picked up a win in his start against UT-Pan Am, pitching 5.2 innings and surrendering five earned runs with five strikeouts and eight walks.

The two teams last met in 1998 at Cougar Field, and UH took all three. The Cougars lead the all-time series 5-2.

"We've played them a few times in the past, and they've always been pretty good," Noble said. "They're usually near the top of the Big Ten standings."

First pitch tonight and Saturday will be at 7 p.m., and Sunday's game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
 

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