NCAA Baseball Houston Regional Breakdown

Houston Regional Breakdown

The Rice Owls head into the Houston Regional looking to regain some momentum after a 1-2 performance in the Conference USA tournament.  They are also looking to atone for last year’s disappointment of getting eliminated by Cal on their home field in the regional round.  The Owls are paced offensively by Jeremy Rathjen and Michael Fuda who have combined for 16 homeruns and 85 runs batted in. Christian Stringer leads the in batting average at. 348.  On the mound Matthew Reckling has been the workhorse with two complete games and has been complemented nicely by Andrew Benak and Austin Kubitza.  All three starters have earned run averages under 3 for long time Head Coach Wayne Graham. The Owls have a very balanced squad across the board as they can hit, pitch, and play solid defense, which will make them a tough out in this Regional.

The #2 seed in the Houston Regional is the Arkansas Razorbacks out of the SEC.  The Razorbacks are led by Matt Reynolds offensively. He leads the team in average, homeruns, and RBI’s at .340, 7 HR, and 41 RBI respectively. On the mound coach Dave Van Horn is going to start right hander DJ Baxendale in the opener and will have sophomore Ryne Stanek available in a likely showdown against Rice in the Saturday winner’s bracket game.  The Razorbacks won’t beat you hitting for a high average but they find a way to take advantage of run-scoring opportunities and are balanced out with some pretty good depth pitching wise in the rotation.

The 3 and 4 seeds are Sam Houston State and Prairie View A&M.  The  Bearkats of Sam Houston State have split two games with Rice this season and their head coach David Pierce was a former assistant at Rice from 2003-2011.  Sam Houston State earned an at-large bid from the selection committee, which was no small feat considering they play in the Southland Conference. The Bearkats have racked up six wins against NCAA Tourney teams so they definitely belong in the field. They are led by Justin Jackson and Caleb Smith on the mound. Offensively, Anthony Azar, Kevin Miller and Cole Atwood anchor things for the Bearkats. Atwood has caused plenty of havoc on the bases with 11 stolen bases. Prairie View A&M comes in as the SWAC Champions. They are paced by Derrick Mitchell on the mound with a 3.09 earned run average.  The Panthers are led at the plate by SWAC Tournament MVP Evan Richards.   


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