Cougars plan to stuff Owls
By Stuart H. Clements
Daily Cougar Staff
The No. 7 Houston baseball team faces No. 3 Rice at 7 p.m. Tuesday at
Reckling Park after maintaining its national rank for the second straight
Brian Viney/The Daily Cougar
Senior pitcher Keith Whatley will start for the Cougars
tonight. Whatley leads the team in wins with seven.
The Cougars went 4-0 last week, defeating No. 18 Texas A&M and
sweeping three games against Memphis.
All four games were decisive, with Houston winning by no less than eight
runs. The contests improved Houston to 27-10 overall, 11-4 in Conference
USA, making the team No. 1.
Tuesday's game is the final game of the Silver Glove series, a perennial
event involving the two cross-town rivals.
The Owls have already captured the Silver Glove this season, winning
the title in three games, including a 4-0 shutout at Reckling Park on Feb.
was the first time since 1999 that Houston had been shut out.
Rice is 31-8 overall, and also leads its conference, the Western Athletic
Conference, with a 14-1 league record.
The Cougars followed up with a shutout of their own April 2 in the fourth
game of the series, when they defeated the Owls 1-0. It was Houston's first
of the season against Rice and the first time in 12 seasons the Cougars
shut out the Owls.
Senior Keith Whatley will be the starter on the mound for Tuesday's
game. Whatley moved from the Saturday starter to the Tuesday starter after
into a bit of a slump.
Whatley lost two games straight before starting last Tuesday against
Texas A&M and picking up the win to improve to 7-3.
Whatley, a native of Atlanta, Texas, leads the team and the conference
in wins. The southpaw holds a 4.10 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 48 and one-third
innings of work.
Freshman Jeff Niemann will start for the Owls. Niemann, a right-handed
pitcher, is undefeated with four wins this season and has a 3.02 ERA.
Niemann has tallied 32 strikeouts in 41 and two-thirds innings on the
The Cougar offense is batting a collective .307, up 10 points since
last week, and five of the team's eight starters have batting averages
Junior Jesse Crain leads the Cougar offense. The Boulder, Colo., native
sits atop with a .333 batting average with four home runs and 29 RBIs.
was just one of four Cougars who hit home runs against Memphis.
Junior Chris Snyder is clipping the heels of Crain with a .328 batting
average, six home runs and 30 RBIs.
Junior Brett Cooley hit three home runs last weekend and batted an outstanding
.706 for his best performance to date. Cooley leads the team with 12
doubles, 10 home runs and 31 RBIs and pulled his season batting average
up to .319. Junior Anthony Scalise is tied with Cooley at .319.
Sophomore Michael Bourn holds a .314 batting average and leads the team
in stolen bases with 18.
Rice's offense is batting .334 as a team, and Vincent Sinisi leads the
offense with a .407 batting average. Sinisi also tops the charts with 15
and has tallied five home runs and 49 RBIs.
Owl Eric Arnold had a batting average over .400 two weeks ago, but has
dropped to .357. Arnold leads in RBIs with 52 and has smashed six home
runs this season.
Enrique Cruz leads the Owls in home runs with nine this season.
The Cougars face C-USA foe Cincinnati this weekend in a three-game series
at Cougar Field beginning at 7 p.m. Friday and concluding at 1 p.m.