Rice baseball gets a rematch this weekend in their second series against UTSA. What has changed for both programs over the past month?
One of the oddities of the 2021 Rice Baseball schedule is the multiple rematches scattered throughout conference play. The Owls and Roadrunners opened up their C-USA schedules against each other in Houston in late March. Now they’ll head to San Antonio to play another suite of four games.
How each team fared this week
Rice baseball (15-21-1) salvaged a single win against Old Dominion on the road, bouncing back from two one-sided losses to present more a more formidable match in the final two games. Now the Owls have to prove the team they’re ready to play more like the team that showed up Saturday night and not the one that was tossed about on Friday and Saturday morning.
UTSA (15-15) had a tough weekend as well, taking the series finale on the road against Charlotte to post a 1-3 weekend. Prior to that, UTSA took three of four from Middle Tennessee at home. UTSA is 6-6 at home this season.
Friday | Roel Garcia (1-2, 5.45)
Saturday 1 | Blake Brogdon (2-5, 5.29)
Saturday 2 | Mitchell Holcomb (4-4, 7.20)
Sunday | Brandon Deskins (1-4, 4.84)
It’s been a series of patchwork performances from the UTSA pitching staff in recent weeks. We’re probably not going to see many of the Roadrunners’ arms go too deep into games — eight different UTSA pitchers have made multiple starts. — instead expect to see the opening man give way to a series of arms out of the bullpen.
The bats are the most prominent asset of this UTSA team. As a team, the Roadrunners are hitting .290, fourth-best in Conference USA and a decent margin above Rice (.264) which ranks fifth. Depth has been a key differentiator. Griffin Paxton leads the way with a hefty .354 average, but he’s supported by players like Nick Thornquist and Joshua Lamb, both of which are hitting .333 or better with 12+ extra base hits.
The Roadrunners hit for a good amount of power and don’t strike out too often. Their 225 strikeouts are the fewest in C-USA.