FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
HOUSTON — A hefty home slate of 32 games at Cougar Field and three games at the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park highlight the 2013 University of Houston baseball schedule, announced by third-year head coach Todd Whitting on Tuesday.
Whitting and staff have put together a schedule that could be considered a gem for Houston fans as the Cougars will play in the city of Houston 35 times this season, including Opening weekend and the final six games of the year.
Houston will have 18 games against teams who competed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, 12 coming from Conference USA alone.
All home weekend series are slated for Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m., while Tuesday and Wednesday mid-week contests will be played at 6:30 p.m. or 4 p.m.
HOME SWEET HOME
Houston will make one weekend road trip outside of Conference USA play to San Marcos, Texas to take on Texas State in a three-game set on Feb. 22-24. Other than that, the Cougars will remain in the city of Houston for nine weekends during the season.
“I’m extremely excited about this year’s schedule with the 32 home games we have at Cougar Field. It should give us a great competitive advantage playing in front of our home crowd and I am excited about the number of times our fans will get to see our ball club play,” said Whitting.
Houston will open the 2013 slate at home against Northeastern University, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, for a three-game series on Feb. 15-17.
After opening the year at home, the Cougars will travel to Sam Houston State on Feb. 19 for its first midweek contest of the year and to Texas State the following weekend. Houston will host Houston Baptist, Penn State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, University of New Orleans, Texas, Harvard, Sam Houston State, Seton Hall, Texas Southern, and UL-Lafayette in non-conference action. Houston will travel to Sam Houston State, Texas State, Baylor, Lamar, Texas, and McNeese State.
“I’m really fired up about our non-conference slate this season,” said Whitting. “We welcome future BIG EAST opponent Seton Hall in to Houston to give us a sneak peak at what it is like to play BIG EAST baseball. Our non-conference schedule is set to provide us with a balanced level of play and challenge our club as we prepare for Conference USA action and the NCAA Tournament.”
HOUSTON COLLEGE CLASSIC
Houston will compete in what is regarded as one of the best college baseball tournaments in the country, the Houston College Classic, for the 13th consecutive year at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. The three-game tournament will take place on March 1-3. Participating in this year’s event are Houston, Rice, Texas A&M, Baylor, California, and North Carolina. The Cougars’ three opponents will be determined at a later date.
“It’s a great honor for not only our program, but for the University of Houston, to be represented in what I feel like is the premier college baseball tournament in the country every year,” said Whitting. “We are very fortunate and appreciative of our working relationship with the Houston Astros and we look forward to playing in it for many years to come.”
HOUSTON vs. TEXAS
Houston will host the University of Texas at 6:30 p.m., March 19 at Cougar Field. The two teams will then later meet in Austin, Texas on April 23. 2013 marks the first year since the 2000 season that these two teams play at Cougar Field. Houston and Texas have met previously in the Houston College Classic and in an NCAA Regional held in Austin.
“Being able to bring the University of Texas to Cougar Field for the first time since 2000 is an exciting time for our program,” said Whitting. “We will play them in Austin as well later in the year and this series should be one the fans will enjoy in 2013.”
Houston will embark on its final year of Conference USA play before moving into the BIG EAST in 2014. Houston will open C-USA play against East Carolina at home on March 22-24 in a three-game set. The Cougars will then play their longest road stretch of the year when it travels to Memphis (March 29-31) and Marshall (April 5-7) in back-to-back weekends. The highlight of the schedule will feature the final six league games of the year played at Cougar Field against UAB (May 10-12) and Southern Miss (May 16-18).
“Our Conference USA schedule is highlighted by four home weekends against East Carolina, Rice, UAB and Southern Miss,” said Whitting. “We look for our final year in Conference USA to be a competitive year with a lot of exciting moments to look back on.”
HOUSTON at RICE
Houston is scheduled for just one fall scrimmage this fall season when they face Rice on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. at Reckling Park.
A LOOK AHEAD
Houston returns four starting position players from a year ago and welcomes 17 newcomers to the squad, bolstered by a talented pitching class as well as several junior college transfer infielders. The Cougars will rely on an experienced pitching staff and solid defense to guide them this year.