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Volume 71, Issue 131, Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sports

Memphis next on UH's hard ball hit list

No. 19 Houston hopes to move up in rankings with a strong outing against C-USA foe Tigers

by RONNIE TURNER
The Daily Cougar

With 15 games remaining in the regular season, Collegiate Baseball No.19 UH is looking to finish strong down the stretch and make a legitimate run at the Conference USA regular season title. The second place Cougars (25-15, 9-3 C-USA) will have the opportunity to distance themselves from the rest of the conference and pull closer to front-runner and top-ranked Rice Owls when they host Memphis at Cougar Field for a three-game weekend series beginning at 7 p.m on Friday.


Junior pitcher Brad Lincoln will get the start in Friday night's game against Memphis. He currently has a team-best 1.78 ERA.
Stephen Pinchback/The Daily Cougar

UH enters Friday's contest two games behind the Owls and two and a half games ahead of Southern Miss in the conference standings. The Cougars have been on fire lately, winning 12 of their last 15 contests, their latest coming against Texas A&M on Tuesday night. In the 9-6 win, the Cougars got strong hitting performances from senior second baseman Isa Garcia and freshman catcher/pitcher Luis Flores, who combined to go 5-for-9 with two home runs and five RBIs.

Junior right-hander Brad Lincoln (8-1, 1.78 ERA) will take the mound for the Cougars on Friday night. Lincoln, the ace of the pitching staff, is currently on a seven-game winning streak and hasn't lost since Feb. 18 against Arizona State. In his last outing against Southern Miss on Friday, Lincoln went six innings and gave up two runs on five hits with six strikeouts, propelling the Cougars to an impressive 24-7 victory.

Lincoln's mound opponent will likely be senior right-hander Stephen Gostkowski (1-3, 5.45 ERA). Against Rice on Friday, he pitched 7.1 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with seven strikeouts but was bested by counterpart Eddie Degerman as the Owls triumphed 7-3. 

Memphis (21-17, 6-6; not counting Wednesday's game against Mississippi State) will enter the series after running into a brick wall against No.15 Mississippi State at home on Tuesday night. The two teams took each other to the limit, battling to an 8-8 tie before the Bulldogs broke it open with four runs off Memphis relievers Matt Yokley and Neil Schenk in the ninth en route to winning 12-8. Pitching has been a problem for the Tigers this season; their pitching staff currently sports a 6.07 ERA. 

However, Memphis has been good with the bats. The Tigers rank near the top of C-USA in hitting with a .311 team batting average. Lincoln will have the task of cooling off a potent Memphis lineup paced by junior first baseman Adam Amar and junior infielder Bill Moss. Amar leads the Tigers with a .392 average to go along with six homers and 39 RBIs, and Moss is second with a .358 average and 24 RBIs.
 

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