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Volume 68, Issue 136, April 18, 2003

Sports

Cougars still hungry

By Emily Davis
The Daily Cougar

The numbers added up to another tough time for the Cougars when they played their final game of the Silver Glove Series against Rice on Wednesday night:

0 -- Number of runs UH scored in two of its four previous meetings with Rice this season;

3 -- Number of games in the Cougarsi losing streak, all suffered at Tulane last weekend;

4 -- Number of games UH had lost to Rice already this season;

11 -- Number of runs Rice scored in the teamsi most recent game, an 11-0 Owls win on April 1;

25 -- Number of runs Rice scored in its four wins over the Cougars, to just nine for UH.

Do the math, and what do you get?

One -- as in one huge victory for the Cougars, who pummeled the No. 1 Owls 5-1 at Cougar Field to salvage one game of the five-game series, along with some respect. And one as in one huge sigh of relief for a team that had struggled to get above .500 only to fall back to 18-18 with its lost weekend in New Orleans.

Now, Hyung Cho and Co. look to add three more wins when they host Conference USA foe Saint Louis this weekend.

"Conference games show us who we are," assistant coach Todd Whitting said. "These series matchups give us a chance to play for the length of time it takes to see how we compare."

Wednesdayis win over the Owls showed that the Cougars (9-6 in C-USA) have what it takes to regain the powerhouse status they held earlier this season.

Ranked as high as No. 10 in the preseason by Baseball America, UH dominated C-USA opponents all year until its three-game slide last weekend -- including 3-0 sweeps against Cincinnati and Alabama-Birmingham.

"A sweep gets us going," junior pitcher Gene Flores said. "When we are motivated like that, things go our way."

But Saint Louis (13-18, 3-12 in C-USA) has other plans for tonight when Game 1is first pitch is thrown at 7 p.m. at Cougar Field. 

After a 5-1 win over Bradley on Wednesday, the Billikens and freshman pitcher Eric Rohr (1-0, 3.70 ERA), who had his first career win this week, look to extend their two-game winning streak that started with a 6-5 decision over Southwest Missouri last week.

Games 2 and 3 are set for 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. 

And if the Cougarsi hitters show up like they did against Rice, Saint Louis will be <I>living<P> the blues on their trip home.

Both Michael Bourn (.220, 10 runs, 5 RBIs) and Travis Tully (.392, 15, 9) went 2-for-2 on Wednesday to help UH out-hit the Owls 8-7 and improve the teamis batting average to .261.

"We have some strong hitters," Whitting said. "Practice is showing constant improvements. We have to keep that up."

After this weekendis games, the Cougars will take a five-game road trip -- visiting Southwest Texas on Tuesday, South Florida April 25-27 and Baylor on April 30. A home game against Texas-San Antonio at 2 p.m. April 29 was added to the schedule.

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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