Rice baseball looks to rebound from a pair of midweek losses with a second straight weekend series win. Next, the Owls take on UC Irvine at home.
11-2 Oklahoma will visit Rice as a part of a brief Texas road trip which got underway with a 7-2 loss to Dallas Baptist on Wednesday night. They’ll face the Owls for three this weekend before a Tuesday night game back in Norman against UT-Arlington.
Other than the midweek upset, Oklahoma’s only other loss came in the Tony Gwynn Classic, losing their game to Cal State Fullerton 8-6. Fullerton has been a fringe Top 25 team this season. Rice has lost to their fair share of ranked squads, but their most recent outings against ranked foes have gone well — wins over Baylor and TCU. Here’s how the Owls and Sooners stack up for their weekend series.
Projected Pitching Matchups
Friday – 6:30 pm: Matt Canterino (0-2, 2.00) vs Cade Cavalli (2-0, 1.04)
Saturday – 2:00 pm: Evan Kravetz (1-1, 3.45) vs Nathan Wiles (3-0, 1.35)
Sunday – 12:30 pm: Jackson Parthasarathy (2-1, 1.69) vs Levi Prater (2-1, 1.62)
Oklahoma pitching has been a bright spot for the team in 2019. Although most of the staff’s work has come against lesser competition, the starters and bullpen have responded in kind. None of the projected starting pitchers this weekend has an ERA worse than 1.62. The trio has combined for 14 walks total across 54 innings with 48 combined strikeouts.
The bullpen has been good, but not nearly as dominant. Ledgend Smith and Jason Ruffcorn have been some of the most reliable relief pieces for the Sooners. Smith has a perfect 0.00 ERA, allowing just three hits in 6.1 innings pitched this season. Ruffcorn, the team’s presumed closer, has three saves so far this year.
Ryan Madden, Wyatt Olds and Aaron Brooks have contributed here and there. All three will most likely make at least one appearance in the games over the weekend.
With the pitching staff throwing as well as it has, there hasn’t been as much pressure thrust on the Oklahoma lineup. It’s been the most consistent producers who make this unit operate effectively. Brandon Zaragoza and Tyler Hardman are far and away two of the better hitters on the team, with both hitting better than .375 for the season.
Hardman leads the team in home runs (four), but is not immune from strikeout outing — he ranks second on the team with 13KS. The power has been distributed across the rest of the lineup, but look for Justin Mitchell and Conor McKenna to power through in difficult moments.
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