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Volume 68, Issue 118, Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Sports

Cougars ready for new catfight

UH finally gets on a roll thanks to explosive bats, solid pitching

By Emily Davis
The Daily Cougar

The Cougars have bad memories. They didnit remember losing the Silver Glove Series to Rice for the third consecutive year Wednesday. They didnit remember their 2-1 conference series loss to East Carolina last week. They didnit even remember their 8-13 record going into the weekend.



Freshman Matt Farrington tied a school record by hitting three doubles against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Sunday. Farrington and the Cougars will travel to Huntsville to play Sam Houston State today.

Brian Viney/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars forgot all those things, but now they have something good to remember ­ a three-game sweep of Cincinnati, their first over the Bearcats in four years. And UH did it in a big way, outscoring the Bearcats 42-11 in the three games, including a 16-3 thrashing in Sundayis finale during which the Cougars pounded out a season-high 20 hits, their most since they had 21 on April 28, 2000, against Saint Louis.

"I think this weekendis win was a good indicator of where our team is headed for the rest of the season," assistant coach Todd Whitting said. "We saw the ball club we knew we had come out."

With the sweep, UH moved within two wins of .500 at 11-13 (4-2 in Conference USA).

The Cougars got contributions from everywhere over the weekend, as every starter got a hit and all but one scored in Game 3, and all but two hitters scored in the first and second games of the series (13-2 and 13-6 UH wins).

"We really swung the bats well," Whitting said. "We seem to be back on track for the rest of the season."

While every player had something to remember in the series, it perhaps was most memorable for freshman right fielder Matt Farrington, who tied a school record with three doubles Sunday. Farrington (.269, 14 hits, five RBIs) was 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs in the third game.

And Gabe Lucas (.306, one home run, three RBIs) had an unforgettable Game 2, when he went 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored.

The Cougars have found their well-worn winning path again just in time to visit another team of Bearkats at Sam Houston State today. The non-conference match-up is the teamsi first meeting since UH routed the Bearkats 6-1 at Cougar Field in April.

"I think we can continue with Sam Houston where we left off this weekend," Whitting said. "The guys are playing with confidence, which is very important if we want to win."

Sam Houston (11-14) is coming off a 3-0 series loss this weekend to fellow Southland Conference powerhouse Louisiana-Monroe but rolled over No. 18 Nebraska on Wednesday, 10-3.

Although the Bearkats were almost shut down by ULM on Sunday, going hitless until the seventh inning of a 4-3 loss, they have some heavy hitters of their own, including infielder Lou Ferrell (.349, two home runs, 32 RBIs); outfielder Jeremy Locke (.337, two home runs, 12 RBIs); and catcher Andrew Kasparek (.316, five home runs, 20 RBIs).

"This team is going to be tough," Whitting said. "They are coached well by Chris Rupp, who is a first-year head coach, and they will be ready to play."

After Tuesdayis game, the Cougars head to Fort Worth to play Texas Christian in another three-game C-USA series Friday through Sunday before returning to Houston to renew their rivalry with Rice on April 1 at Reckling Park.

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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