Rice baseball is working to secure a Conference USA Baseball Tournament berth. Here’s what they need to do to lock down their spot in the postseason.
In two weekends the Conference USA Baseball Tournament field will be set. Rice hopes to be one of the eight squads to make the trip to Biloxi, Mississippi, but they have some work to do before they can rest easy. With six conference games remaining, Rice is in the running, mathematically, for the full gamut of finishes in the conference standings. The Owls are 12-12, good for fifth place in the 12 team race. Here are a four possible outcomes for the next two weeks
Scenario 1 – Rice wins the CUSA Regular season championship (2% chance)
What it would take – Rice finishes 6-0 with plenty of help
A 6-0 finish with dreadful weeks from Southern Miss and FAU could skyrocket Rice into first place. That would give the Owls 18 wins, tied for the most in the league with Southern Miss. It would also clinch included the tiebreaker, an assumed sweep of the Golden Eagles in the Owls’ last home series of 2019. Rice swept a good Louisiana Tech team at home, but this would require an extra dose of good fortune.
Scenario 2 – Rice earns a Top 4 seed (28% chance)
What it would take – Rice wins final two series, WKU or LaTech lose two series
This scenario would require a strong finish with additional help, but it seems within reason. Rice winning their final two series would elevate the team to 16 wins. WKU is 14-9-1 and Louisiana Tech is 13-11. If WKU sweeps Louisiana Tech, Rice would hold the tiebreaker and thus the No. 4 seed. If Louisiana Tech beats WKU, Rice would need one of those two schools to lose out. Louisiana Tech closes at FIU. WKU is home against Old Dominion.
Scenario 3 – Rice earns a Bottom 4 seed (50% chance)
What it would take – Rice splits their next six games
Losing either of the next two series makes the odds of postseason play dicey. Rice is one win up of Marshall (11-12) and Old Dominion (11-13) and two ahead of UTSA (10-13) and Middle Tennessee (10-14). Rice needs to finish ahead of one of those teams to make the field, assuming 9-win Charlotte or FIU don’t surprisingly catch fire over the final two weeks. If Rice can manage a 3-3 finish they’re more than likely safe.
Scenario 3 – Rice misses CUSA Tournament (20% chance)
What it would take – Rice wins two or fewer games
Anything fewer than 15 wins opens the door for the rest of the conference to make a move. A 14-16 finish could push Rice to the bottom of the conference, falling even with lowly UAB who already has 16 losses entering the final two weekends. One win would leave them at the mercy of a potential tiebreaker to UTSA, MTSU, Charlotte or FIU, all of which have a series win over the Owls this season.