Rice Baseball continues to score big wins on the recruiting front, turning an unexpected early offseason into a stepping stone toward future success.
The abrupt end to the 2020 Rice Baseball season came amidst a tough string of weeks, both in sports and in the country. Instead of spending his Friday evenings at the ballpark, he was at home like the rest of the country. But, just like he’s always done, he kept working.
“The positive is, from my standpoint, [is that we’re] still working, still trying to get better,” he said during a conversation this spring after the season had been cut short. “It’s not a ‘take a vacation for the next 30 days”, he continued. “There’s work to be done.”
Winning recruiting battles has been one of those advantages the Owls have found over the prolonged break from baseball. One need look no further than the social media feeds of assistant coaches Cory Barton and Paul Janish, who have chronicled the Owls’ ascent with Janish’s favorite #Hootem hashtag and Owl gif:
— Cory Barton (@corybarton8) May 25, 2020
Some of the players in question have been made public, some have remained secret. But the latest addition turned heads on the national stage when it was announced by Kendall Rogers of D1 Baseball: former Ole Miss signee Connor Walsh will transfer to Rice.
Walsh was the No. 27 ranked player in the nation coming out of high school. His expectations at the collegiate level were, and remain, sky high. But his debut had to wait longer than expected. He didn’t see the field for the Rebels last season, but his absence from the lineup card wasn’t his doing. He was tucked away behind stud shortstop Anthony Servideo, who hit .390 during the 17-game season.
Current shortstop Trei Cruz is seen as an obvious MLB Draft selection. Should he leave the program for the pros this offseason, Walsh would step in as his replacement. Adding Walsh is the latest in an extremely productive extended offseason. By the time Rice baseball returns to the diamond they’ll be in much better shape.