Rice baseball made up significant ground against Middle Tennessee. They’ll seek to keep climbing the CUSA ranks against Louisiana Tech this weekend.
If Rice is going to make a move in Conference USA, the time is now. The Owls sit at 9-9 on the edge of a conference tournament berth. A series win over Louisiana Tech, who some consider to be the favorite to with the league, would be huge for this team as they enter the final stretch. Here’s how the Owls stack up against the visiting Bulldogs:
Projected Pitching Matchups
Friday – 6:30 pm: Matt Canterino (5-4, 2.97) vs Matt Miller (5-0, 2.95)
Saturday – 2:00 pm: Evan Kravetz (3-2, 4.18) vs Logan Robbins (3-2, 6.31)
Sunday – 1:00 pm: Jackson Parthasarathy (3-6, 4.50) vs Logan Bailey (5-4, 5.88)
Louisiana Tech Pitching
The Bulldogs rank third in CUSA with a staff ERA of 4.45. Their 2.47 strikeout to walk ratio is eerily similar to the Owls’ own rate of 2.59. Aside from what should be a fairly even contest between Matt Miller and Matt Canterino on Friday night, Rice has the slight edge in the starting rotation.
It’s the bullpen that might give the Bulldogs the greatest reason for optimism. Jonathan Fincher has been almost unhittable out of the pen and brings a 1.03 WHIP into the weekend over 20 appearances. Braxton Smith has been another extremely reliable option, allowing no runs in six of his last seven appearances. If Louisiana Tech finds themselves in a jam, he could be the man called upon during multiple games this series to work around the trouble spots.
Louisiana Tech Hitting
The most intimidating facet of the Louisiana Tech lineup is its depth. The Bulldogs don’t have anyone on their team hitting .400, but they do have six regulars batting better than .270. No player is a home run king, but six guys have four or more on the season.
Outfielder Mason Mallard leads the way, sporting a glowing 1.018 OPS with a team-high 50 runs scored. He’s one of four Bulldogs to start each of the teams 41 games. The other three, outfielder Parker Bates, shortstop Taylor Young and designated hitter Steele Netterville are all well-rounded hitters. Netterville leads the team with 24 extra-base hits and seven home runs.
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