Hey Batter, Batter!!
by D. Ryan Nonceaux
In his four
seasons at UH,
McDonald was a
constant on a
The UH baseball team went through the emotional rollercoaster that was the 1998 season in relative
obscurity. Although this year's squad finished the year just one game out in the Conference-USA
race, the team attracted little attention and did not even recieve a consideration for a regional bid.
The team played one of toughest out-of-conference schedules in the nation, yet did not fare well in
season long series against ranked teams such as Texas A&M, Rice, Baylor, Oklahoma, and Alabama.
Coach Rayner Noble decided to play tougher teams this season instead of the usual lineup ofTSU,
Lamar, and McNeese St. among others. However, this idea may be the reason that UH did not
repeat its bid in a regional tournament.
Houston played very impressively during the run for the C-USA regular season title. The
Cougars earned a conference record of 21-6 during the regular season, including a series win
versus Tulane at Cougar Field. However, an unlikely villian, UNC-Charlotte, swept UH in Charlotte
in April, effectively destroying the Coogs' bid for
the C-USA title. UNC-C also beat UH in the
conference tournament at Zephyr Field in New
Orleans, which was the beginning of the end for
UH in the double elimination tournament. After
beating Memphis in the first round, UH lost late
inning leads to UNC-C and to Southern Miss to
make an early exit from the tournament. After
working all season for the second seed, UH did not
take advantage of its position and was ousted before
The regular season, however, did have its
bright spots for a team that did finish 35-24. This
season included sweeps over Michigan, Illinois,
South Florida, Cincinnati, UAB, Southern Miss and
Memphis. However, the Cougars were spotted with
a 1-8 record right out of the shoot, including five
losses against teams that reached an NCAA regional.
But with a schedule that included five weekends in
a row at home beginning with the Marriott West Loop Houston Invitational, UH steadily improved
and with a 12-10 victory over Michigan on March 8, reached the .500 mark for the first time of
Houston's solid play during weekend series continued through the end of March until the
weekend in North Carolina against UNC-Charlotte. However, with the advent of the Sterling Bank
Series against Rice, UH struggled all season in its non-conference, weekday games. Without a deep
pitching staff, the Coogs were suspect to giving up huge games against some of the best hitters in
Continued on pg. 215
Right fielder Eric Lee slides to catch a pop fly
against Rice at Cameron Field. Lee came on strong
to hit two homeruns in the C-USA tourney.
Photo by Pete Medrano