Rice baseball departed for their first Conference USA road trip, paying a visit to Murfreesboro, TN. Here’s how the Owls stack up with the Blue Raiders.
The beginning of four-game weeks is officially upon us. Rice won’t play another midweek game until mid-April. For the time being, the focus will be solely on Conference USA opponents. They’ll get one more crack at an opponent from their own division this week when they take on Middle Tennessee.
How each team fared this week
Rice baseball (12-12) saw a relatively hot streak snapped this past weekend, going 1-3 against UTSA at Reckling Park. A walk-off Saturday afternoon win was the bright spot.
Middle Tennesse (13-10) split a four-game series with UAB in Birmingham their last time out. The Blue Raiders were shut out 8-0 in their opener before rebounding to win two of the back end of a Friday doubleheader and split the remaining games.
Friday | Blake Brogdon (2-3, 6.67)
Saturday 1 | Roel Garcia (1-1, 3.97)
Saturday 2 | Mitchell Holcomb (3-2, 4.86)
Sunday | Brandon Deskins (1-3, 5.47)
Middle Tennessee ranks in the top 10 nationally in WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio. If Rice hopes to get on base this weekend, they’re going to have to earn it. Typical Friday night starter Aaron Brown has already amassed a staggering 52 strikeouts in 33.1 innings pitched. Trent Siebert also has more K’s (39) than he does innings worked (33.0).
The rest of the staff is equally stout. Only one member of the Blue Raider’s pitching corps that has gone 10+ innings has an ERA above Brown’s 4.10. Opposing batters are hitting .227 on the season against MTSU pitching.
The offense hasn’t been as prolific. Two MTSU hitters are batting better than .300 with right fielder Cole Escher pacing the offense with a .356 average. While the rest of the lineup doesn’t boast an impressive average, they do pack some power. Four different hitters have seven or more extra base hits, led by Brett Coker who has eight (three doubles, two triples and three home runs).