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Volume 68, Isssue 106, Friday, February 28, 2003


Cougars spice it up against Cajuns

Stuart H. Clements
The Daily Cougar

The Houston baseball team dropped from the Baseball America Top 25 poll after going 1-2 last week.

The Cougars have a chance for three wins this weekend against Louisiana-Lafayette when they host the Ragini Cajuns at Cougar Field. UH dropped its home opener 3-0 to No. 2 Rice in the first game of the Silver Glove Series.

Junior first baseman Thanos Papavasiliou leads the Cougars with a .345 batting average, four doubles and four RBIs. The baseball team will look to improve on a 3-6 record when it begins a three-game series against Louisiana-Lafayette at 7 p.m. Friday at Cougar Field.

Brian Viney/The Daily Cougar

The last time the two teams faced at Cougar Field, the Cajuns won back-to-back games to advance to the 1999 NCAA Super Regionals, but the Cougars lead the all-time series against ULL 31-10-1.

In their last meeting, the Cougars swept the Cajuns on their home turf.

Junior Danny Zell has moved up as the Friday starter on the mound. The southpaw has a 3-0 record and is the only UH pitcher to record a win this season for the 3-6 Cougars.

Zell hangs onto a 0.90 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched this season, while cutting his opponentsi batting average to an anorexic .169. He has allowed only 11 hits this season.

Zell last appeared in Saturdayis game against then-No. 12 Louisiana State and led the Cougars to a 7-2 win over the Tigers, giving up only two runs in six innings.

Sophomore closing pitcher Ryan Wagner came in for three innings of hitless relief in the same game, and tallied seven strikeouts.

Senior left-handed pitcher Andy Gros is expected start in Fridayis game for the Ragini Cajuns. Gros is 1-1 on the season with 6.75 ERA in 18 and two-thirds innings.

ULL played Troy State (6-3) last weekend and moved to 5-7 for the season after winning the three-game series 2-1, including a sensational pitching duel Sunday, which the Cajuns won 2-1, to win the series.

The Cajunsi pitcher junior Austin Faught will travel with the team and likely start in Sundayis game. The southpaw was responsible for winning the Cajunsi duel against Troy State.

Faught is a familiar name to Houston; he played at UH until last year. Faught transferred to ULL after the 2002 season and will make his debut against his former team. He returns to Cougar Field 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA.

ULLis offense will be the point the Cougars will likely try to capitalize on. The Cajuns are batting only .220 as a team right now.

Although the Cougars are batting at only .221 on the season, perhaps Houstonis depth in the bullpen will relax the offense a little and allow players like junior DH Thanos Papavisiliou to get some hits.

Papavisiliou leads the Cougar offensive currently with a .345 batting average. He has tallied four doubles and four RBI, and will be looking to extend his 12-game hitting streak.

Saturdayis game at Cougar Field was moved from 7 p.m. to 3 p.m. so that it would not come in conflict with the menis basketball team, which is playing Texas Christian in Hofheinz Pavilion later Saturday.

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