Rice baseball is on the cusp of clinching a Conference USA Baseball Tournament berth. Can the Owls secure a trip to Biloxi this weekend against Marshall?
The magic number is one. Rice needs one win or any combination of one loss from UTSA or FIU to clinch a berth in the Conference USA Baseball tournament. A road trip to Marshall won’t make for the easiest weekend set, but Rice has some momentum coming off an impressive series win over league-leading Southern Miss at home over the weekend.
With that ever-important context in mind, here’s how Rice matches up with Marshall:
Projected Pitching Matchups
Thursday – 2:00 pm: Matt Canterino (6-5, 2.93) vs Joshua Shapiro (5-3 3.38)
Friday – 1:00 pm: Evan Kravetz (5-2, 3.33) vs Wade Martin (0-3, 8.10)
Saturday – 10:00 am: Jackson Parthasarathy (4-7, 4.41) vs Ryan Capuano (1-2, 5.86)
Marshall ranks ninth in the conference in staff ERA. Their .253 batting average against is respectable, but 6.2 walks per game have impacted their effectiveness. Joshua Shapiro is their only starting pitcher who’s been a consistent producer, but even he has had a few rough outings of late.
Shapiro was knocked out of the UAB game after allowing five earned runs in three innings, gave up five more earned runs in 5.1 innings against UTSA before settling in with six innings and three earned runs against Old Dominion.
After Shapiro, the rest of the staff is a mixed bag. Michael Guerrero and Garrett Priestley have been two of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen. No pitcher has made more appearances than D’Andre Knight (26), but like many arms on this staff, he’s cooled off from a hot start earlier in the season.
Starting at the top with Elvis Peralta’s sterling .369 batting average and continuing nine-deep with dangerous hitters, Marshall is one of the better offensive squads in the conference.
Peralta leads the team with 24 extra base hits, one of four players with 10 or more doubles on the season. Tucker Linker, Luke Edwards, Rey Pastrana and Geordon Blanton round out that hard-hitting quartet, all potential problems for a Rice pitching staff which faired reasonably well in their last conference outing against a talented Southern Miss squad.
Erik Rodriguez has scored a team-best 42 runs this season, another in a long list of dangerous Marshall hitters. Shane Hanon, has climbed to the forefront, slashing .382/.478/.627 in 29 games.
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