FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
HOUSTON – Highlighted by 30 homes games at Cougar Field, 35 in the city, new competition within the American Athletic Conference and a trip to California to take on the defending National Champions in UCLA, Houston Baseball and head coach Todd Whitting have unveiled an exciting 2014 schedule, announced Wednesday afternoon.
“I think once again we are playing an extremely competitive schedule here at the University of Houston,” said Whitting. “I’m excited about not only our new conference opponents, but some teams we haven’t faced before inside the league as well as outside the league.”
For the eighth consecutive season, Houston will open its slate at Cougar Field, having accumulated a winning record of 11-6, which includes back-to-back weekend sweeps the past two seasons under Whitting – who will begin his fourth season in 2014 at the helm.
“Opening at home is something I will continue to do,” Whitting said. “I like for our guys to get out and open in a home environment and hopefully get off to a good start at home.”
Houston will open its 2014 slate by hosting Nicholls State in a three-game series on Feb. 14-16. This year will mark the first time since 1988 these two programs have met on the diamond with Houston owning a 28-13 overall record.
The Cougars will take on Rice in three different venues this season with the first coming at Reckling Park on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 4:30 p.m., followed by a Tuesday, March 25 – 6:30 p.m. contest at Cougar Field and a final Silver Glove Series contest on Tuesday, May 13 at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas.
For the 14th consecutive season, Houston will compete in the College Classic, one of the most premier college tournaments in the nation, held at Minute Maid Park. The Cougars will square off against Texas Tech (Feb. 28 – 11:45 a.m.), Texas (March 1 – 3:30 p.m.) and TCU (March 2 – 6:15 p.m.).
Houston is also set to host non-conference opponents Michigan (Feb. 21-23) – for the first time since 1998, McNeese State (Feb. 26), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (March 4), Baylor (March 11), Towson (March 14, 16), West Virginia (March 15), Texas State (April 8), Sam Houston State (April 22) and Prairie View A&M (May 6). The Towson/West Virginia games will be played in a Round Robin format as those two teams will play each other once on Friday and Saturday.
Whitting’s club will spend just two non-conference weekends outside the city of Houston when they travel to Los Angeles, Calif. to take part in the Dodgertown Classic, which features games on the campus of USC (March 7), UCLA (March 8) and a showdown at Dodger Stadium against Pepperdine (March 9). The last non-league weekend road trip for the Cougars will take place in Charleston, S.C. to take on College of Charleston in a three-game set (March 21-23).
Houston’s schedule also features non-conference midweek trips to College Station to battle Texas A&M on Tuesday, April 1 – slated for 6:35 p.m. and a visit to Huntsville to take on Sam Houston State on April 15 at 6:30 p.m.
“This non-conference slate may be one of the toughest we have played since I’ve been here,” Whitting said. “Playing quality competition like this will prepare our team for postseason and prepare us for the stretch towards the end of the season and I think it will ultimately serve us well as we go through the college baseball season.”
Within the new American Athletic Conference, the Cougars welcome Memphis (March 28-30), Louisville (April 11-13), USF (April 17-19), and UCF (May 2-4) to Cougar Field, while taking on Rutgers (April 4-6), Cincinnati (April 25-27), UConn (May 9-11) and Temple (May 15-17) on the road.
The American Athletic Conference Championship will be held in Clearwater, Fla. on May 21-25.