Rice baseball returns to Reckling Park this week to host a pair of teams from further north than last week’s all-Texas Shriner’s Classic.
It was a mixed bag for Rice baseball last weekend. They won one of their three games at the Shriner’s Classic, defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by run rule while falling to Sam Houston and Texas State. The Owls will get another crack at the Bobcats later in the season, but for now it’s time to turn the page to a mini-invitation on their home field.
Rice will host Northern Illinois and Kansas State it what was meant to be the second multi-team gathering at Reckling Park this season. The first, scheduled to be against Washington, Arkansas-Little Rock and Houston Baptist, was turned into a three-game series with Houston Baptist because of the Winter Storm.
Oddly enough, Rice got another crack at HBU on Tuesday, dispatching them behind a marvelous outing from Brandon Deskins. The sophomore pitcher racked up 11 strikeouts in six innings, earning his first win of the season.
Times: Friday 5:00 p.m. | Saturday 4:00 p.m. | Sunday 10:30 a.m. / 2:00 p.m.
Venue: Reckling Park
Radio: Stretch Internet Portal
Projected Rice Baseball Starters
Friday | Blake Brogdon (0-2, 8.31 ERA)
Saturday | Roel Garcia (1-0, 2.77 ERA)
Sunday AM | Mitchell Holcomb (1-1, 9.26 ERA)
Sunday PM | TBD
Kansas State (Saturday / Sunday PM)
Kansas State is 8-4 on the season after picking up a pair of midweek wins over South Dakota State. They opened the year with a win over Oregon State in the Sanderson Ford College Classic and also have a series win over Western Michigan so far this season.
The Wildcats will be a strong test for the Owls’ pitching. They hit .276 as a team and have four regulars with an OPS better than 1.000. Outfielder Dylan Phillips boasts a .381/.500/.594 slash line. The pitching has been strong as well, buoyed by starters Connor McCullough and preseason Co-Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Jordan Wicks.
Northern Illinois (Friday / Sunday AM)
Like Rice, Northern Illinois is no stranger to weather cancelations. The storms that swept across the country in mid-February canceled NIU’s opening series against Memphis. They’ve played two series since, both on the road. They won once of three games against Evansville and were swept in a four-game series at URGV, which strangely enough, contained zero nine-inning games.
First baseman Kam Smith and centerfielder Brady Huebbe have done their part. smith is hitting a staggering .435 while Huebbe has a team-high six extra-base hits and a .810 slugging percentage. The bullpen has been better than the rotation thus far. Look for Paul Tuerlli and Tristan Michaels to be the first line of defense when NIU gets into a jam.