Who’s ready for a weekend at Reckling Park? Rice baseball returns on Friday with a three-game series against the visiting Rhode Island Rams.
For baseball fans, there are few words sweeter than opening day. Rice gets to experience that return to the diamond on Friday, Feb. 15 through Feb. 17 as the Owls kick off a long homestand to begin the Matt Bragga Era at South Main. Here’s what to expect from their first opponent: Rhode Island.
Projected Pitching Matchups
Friday: Matt Canterino vs Tyler Wilson
Saturday: Addison Moss vs Vitaly Jangols
Sunday: Jackson Parthasarathy vs Nick Robinson
Rhode Island Pitching
Tyler Wilson is the Rams’ ace and as such, crucial to the road team’s hopes of a series win. Last season the senior lefty had a 3.59 ERA and averaged 8.63 K/9, a top 10 mark in the A10 conference.
Wilson is a proven commodity among a pitching staff that will be extremely green. Vitaly Jangols started eight games last season, tallying 31 strikeouts and 10 walks with a 4.75 ERA. Righty Nick Robinson (14 appearances, 5.30 ERA) and lefty Jake Walker (11 appearances, 7.99 ERA) both have some starting experience and could challenge for a spot in the rotation early on this season.
Senior Mark Silvestri (18 appearances, 5.48 ERA) will anchor the Rams’ bullpen and could be in line to take over the closer role from last year’s anchor Nick Johnson.
Rhode Island Hitting
Rhode Island loses a lot of experience pitching and will turn to relatively untested arms. The same won’t be true of their lineup. Jackson Coutts was a revelation for the Rams’ offense in 2018. He led the team in batting average and RBI as a true freshman. Also returning are Sonny Ulliana and Greg Cavaliere, the only other Rams with a slugging percentage of .350 or better.
Nobody on the lineup is particularly threatening from a power standpoint. Rhode Island totaled just 11 home runs all of last season and tended to strike out, a lot. Senior Lawerence Hill led the team with 50 whiffs, somewhat offset by a team-high 23 runs scored and 10 stolen bases.