Rice baseball pitcher Evan Kravetz thought he’d be pitching out of the bullpen this year. Instead, he’s become a staple in the starting rotation.
The 2019 Rice baseball season was met by many with guarded optimism. The Owls had hired energetic coach Matt Bragga from Tennessee Tech and had seemed to have enough pitching to be competitive from game to game. The supposed pitching strength relied on the arms of Matt Canterino and Addison Moss, arguably the best one-two punch in Conference USA.
That duo never materialized as expected. Moss was scratched from opening weekend with injury concerns, opening up the door for someone else to make a start in the rotation. That someone would end up becoming senior southpaw Evan Kravetz.
“I found out like two days before the opener,” Kravetz recounted, following his career-best 13 strikeout performance against Middle Tennessee over the weekend. His seven-inning, one-hit gem helped secure a series win and would eventually lead to the first home sweep of the Matt Bragga era at Rice.
Win or lose, good or bad, Kravetz maintains he’s thankful for the opportunity. “Every Saturday I pitch like I don’t know if there’s going to be another Saturday to pitch on, so I’m just going to keep doing that and trying to win games,” he said.
Staying the course
It doesn’t look like Kravetz is in any danger of missing out on a start any time soon. He leads all Rice pitchers with 77 strikeouts, one more than staff ace Matt Canterino who entered the season as a consensus Top 5 round prospect in the upcoming MLB Draft. Kravetz had made four starts at Rice prior to this season. He’ll come close to matching his previous total career innings pitched at Rice (90.1) this season if Rice makes it to the conference tournament.
Coach Bragga was effusive in his praise following Kravetz’s latest performance. “[He’s] been awesome,” Bragga declared. “It’s been phenomenal the year he’s had.” Rather than stop there, Bragga asserted Kravetz might not be done when his days at Rice are over. “I’ll be shocked if they (Kravetz and Matt Canterino) don’t both go in the top 10 rounds come [the MLB Draft]”
All Kravetz wanted was an opportunity. He got his chance and made the most of it.