Rice baseball has a mix of new and old faces set to toe the rubber at Reckling Park this season. Here are a few names to know on the mound.
So much feels new about the 2022 Rice baseball team. More than just a new head coach, the Owls have a flurry of new players set to take the diamond for the first time this weekend against Texas in Austin. As for who will toe the rubber in that Friday night game, or beyond it, for that matter, the details remain fuzzy.
Last year’s weekend rotation consisted of Mitchell Holcomb followed by some combination of Roel Garcia, Blake Brogdon and Brandon Deskins. Holcomb has exhausted his eligibility and moved on. In his place appears to be Pepperdine transfer Cooper Chandler, who posted a 3.17 ERA and a 12-5 record over four seasons with the Waves and has gotten off to a strong start in spring practices.
Cooper seems the most likely to earn the Friday night spot out of the gate given his experience and production through practices. Who slots in behind him seems almost entirely up in the air. New headman Jose Cruz Jr. could stick with some of the aforementioned veterans or turn to someone like Alex DeLeon who has starting experience at Rice or San Jac transfer Thomas Burbank.
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No matter who snags the starting spot, Rice baseball will have options to work with in the bullpen. Dalton Wood has the potential to be a hammer at the back end. Freshman David Shaw has been utilized in the later innings this spring as well. Fellow freshman Trey Clucas might get an early look as could redshirt freshman and Texas A&M transfer Tom Vincent.
Beyond that cohort are a few more familiar names who have toed the bump at Reckling Park in years prior and look to elevate their game to compete for pitching time thanks to the new tools brought by Cruz Jr. and his staff.
Drake Greenwood, Cristian Cienfuegos, Micah Davis, Reed Gallant, Garret Zaskoda and Matthew Linskey have each had their moments in the past. Of that contingent, Cienfuegos flashed in small doses this spring. Gallant was effective as well. All could get opportunities early this season.
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