The Houston Cougars are putting the “Road” into the Road to Omaha, as they prepare to kick off their best-of-three super regional series with the Texas Longhorns this afternoon. First pitch is slated for 3:05 at Disch-Falk Field in Austin, Texas. It will be the fifth consecutive weekend that U of H has embarked on a road trip, as 15 of their last 16 games have been away from Cougar Field.
The Cougars have a valid claim with the NCAA that they should have been the host team for this weekend’s super regional. Both #5 Houston (48-16) and #9 Texas (41-19) were #2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, but the Coogs boast the #2 RPI in the nation and also won their conference tournament over a Louisville team that also advanced to the field of 16. However, the NCAA awarded the Longhorns the host site for the best-of-three super regional, as Texas offered $90,000 more in guaranteed revenue than Houston for a two game series and $50,000 more if the series went to a third game.
Therefore, if the Coogs want to make it to Omaha and the College World Series for the first time since 1967, they will have to continue their road prowess and defeat the Longhorns twice on their home field. Houston faced the same predicament last weekend, and responded by beating LSU 5-4 and 12-2 in back to back games in Baton Rouge to advance. Texas won the Houston Regional that was hosted by Rice, beating Texas A&M in the championship game to advance.
The Coogs have already had a historic season, with the 48 wins tying for the most wins in a single season. The win total matched the 2000 and 2002 Cougar teams. The magic number the Coogs are aiming for is 50, as that would mean they would be super regional champions and Omaha bound. U of H is playing in its first super regional since the 2003 season. This will be the second time that they have faced UT in a super regional.
The two schools squared off in the round of 16 in 2002, also in Austin, as the Horns prevailed two games to one to advance to the College World Series. They would go on to win the national title that season. Houston is banking on a different outcome this time around. The two played on time this season, back on March 1st during the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park. Texas prevailed 3-2, handing the Cougars their first loss of the season following an 8-0 start.
Tags: Houston Cougars