Thursday, January 27, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 82

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UH-Rice preview season; Woodward eyes early return

By Josh Gajewski

Daily Cougar Staff

The UH baseball team spent Wednesday afternoon at Rice Village's Mandola's Restaurant, for a special luncheon previewing the annual Silver Glove Series, a set of three games between intra-city rivals Rice and UH.

The series gets underway Feb. 8, when the Cougars travel to Reckling Park, the fancy new home of the Owls. The game is expected to attract a record crowd of over 4,000 people, with the Owls playing at UH later in the year.

"This is a great thing for the city," UH head coach Rayner Noble said. "We're looking forward to it and we're really excited about the possibilities."

Both teams head into the 2000 season with high hopes and a top 10 ranking. The series will boast the Conference USA Coach of the Year (Noble), the Western Athletic Coach of the Year (Rice's Wayne Graham) and four preseason all-America selections, including UH's Kyle Crowell and Jarrod Bitter.

"There are lots of expectations for both teams," UH pitcher Matt Hooper said. "We're just ready to get the season started."

Woodward may return

First baseman J.P. Woodward, who was expected to be sidelined for the UH-Texas opening series Feb. 4-6 after injuring his first rib, hopes to return for a battle with the Longhorns.

"There's a good chance I'll be back for the UT series," Woodward said. "It's one of those things where you don't want to come back too early, (but) I want to play Texas and Rice."

Noble will leave the decision up to his senior first baseman: "It'll be up to him depending on how he feels," he said. "It's more of a day-to-day, rather than a long-term thing right now."

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