#15 Houston Baseball 2015 Preview

Houston Cougars

Overall Rank: #15
Conference Rank: #1 American
#15 Houston Baseball 2015 Preview
Houston Team Page


Houston continued its rise to national prominence in college baseball last year by going on the road in the Baton Rouge Regional in the NCAA Tournament and dominating LSU in the decisive elimination to get to the Super Regional round. The Cougars were forced to have to go to Austin to play Texas and lost two straight hard fought games to the Longhorns.

2014: 48-18, 14-9
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Todd Whiting

Field Players:
The Cougars can beat you offensively with speed and execution that break a team’s will when they are executing at their best. Outfielder Kyle Survance will be the leader of the offensive attack for Houston this season. Survance is one of the top returning leadoff hitters in all of college baseball and was a big reason for the Cougars getting to Super Regionals after winning the Most Outstanding Player award in the Baton Rouge Regional. Survance can beat you with his speed and he stole 31 bases. And can hit for average, as he hit .308 on the year. Infielder Justin Montemayor was the top designated hitter in the American Athletic Conference last season after collecting 74 hits, scoring 36 runs, and driving in 31 runs.

Houston was outstanding on the mound last season and the pitching staff had a 2.35 earned run average and did a great job of attacking strike zone. Opponents only drew 119 walks against the Cougar pitching staff. Aaron Garza and Jake Lemoine will be back to anchor the pitching staff this season. Garza won nine games last season and only walked 11 batters in 108 innings which is very impressive. Lemoine deserved a better fate last season than his 6-8 overall record as he had a 2.87 earned run average in 2014. This combination of Garza and Lemoine should give Houston a great opportunity to win series on a regular basis.

Who to Watch:
Outfielder Ashton Fulmer is going to be the primary power source offensively for the Cougars this season. Fulmer hit four homeruns and drove in 32 runs last season and he will need to increase his production a little bit more in 2015. The reason why is the loss of Garrett Grayson and his six homeruns and 48 runs batted in and that production has to be replaced by Fulmer and the rest of the Houston lineup.

Final Projection:
For the most part, the Cougars have a pretty favorable schedule in non-conference play. Minnesota visits on the opening weekend of the season. The signature non-conference weekend of the season will be the Houston College Classic that will feature a rematch against LSU from last year’s NCAA Tournament. A matchup with Texas A&M will be a great opportunity to make a statement within the state against their Southeastern Conference brethren. A three game series against Rice spread out over the course of the season could be a potential difference maker as to whether or not the Cougars get to be a Regional host. A trip to play New Mexico will be a tricky one for the Cougars as it will test their ability as a team to attack the zone against the Lobos while playing at altitude. In conference play, East Carolina, USF, and Connecticut will be three potentially tough series to deal with, but fortunately for Houston two of those series will be at Cougar Field. At the end of the day the pitching for the Cougars should be more than enough for them to win the American Athletic Conference. Also, with high quality hitters like Survance, the offense should generate enough offense that a deep run to Super Regionals or Omaha is a possibility in 2015.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Kyle Survance, OF, 253
Hits: Kyle Survance, OF, 78
Home Runs: Ashton Fulmer, OF, 4
RBIs: Ashford Fulmer, OF, 32; Kyle Survance, OF, 32
Runs: Kyle Survance, OF, 53
Stolen Bases: Kyle Survance, OF, 31

Wins: Aaron Garza, P, 9
Innings Pitched: Aaron Garza, P, 108.0
Strikeouts: Jake Lemoine, P, 87
Saves: Bubba Maxwell, P, 1

Madness 2015 MLB Draft Rankings:
#24 Jacob Lemoine


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