Rice Owls 42-13 21-3 C-USA
Texas Longhorns 37-20 15-12 BIG 12
St. John’s Red Storm 41-14 20-7 1st Big East
Sam Houston State Bearkats 37-23 18-12 Southland Conference
Wayne Graham in his 17th season leads the Rice Owls. This year ball club is a very typical Graham ball club. His pitching staff and timely hitting of his batters lead the way for this Owls team.
Leading the way on the mound is Sophomore Ryan Berry. For the year, Ryan is 7-4 with a 3.10 era. Opposing team is batting a .245 average while he has given up 25 walks and struck out 80 in 90 innings of work. Behind him are two very dependable arms in Matt Langwell and Chris Kelly. They are both 5-1 on the season. Coming out of the Bull Pen is Cole St Clair. When Rice needs to close out a game it will be in the hands of St. Clair.
Offensively, Rice has a line up that is batting collectively a .308. Leading the way will be Aaron Luna, he is batting .327 with an on base avg. of .473. Aaron is the only Owl that makes this offense go. You have the like of Adam Zornes with his 11 home runs and then you have Diego Seastrunk who is batting .374 with 55 rbi.
This is a team that has all the tools to make it back to Omaha.
Second seed Texas is coming in being led by Augie Garrido. This year has not been a very Texas like year. Usually you can count on two things from Texas pitching and defense. This year the pitching staff was not settled on until 5 weeks ago. That is when they moved Chance Ruffin to the Friday roll and Kenn Kasparek to the Sunday roll. The defense has been the Achilles heel of this team up until 4-5 weeks ago. As a team, they have committed 79 errors and that will not get you far in this tournament. The defense has done a much better job ever since the pitching rotation has been settled upon.
Chance Ruffin is 7-3 with a 2.05 era and the opposing team is batting.186. If Texas wants to advance out of this regional it is going to have to rely on Kenn and Austin Wood to step up and give the pitching staff some very meaningful innings.
Offensively Sophomore Brandon Belt with his 64 RBIs leads the Horns, While Kyle Russell has hit 15 homeruns and Russell Moldenhuaer is batting a.366.
St. John Red Storm
St John’s is from the Big East Conference where is won the regular season crown. St John is making its second straight tournament appearance and its fourth in the past five seasons.
A pitching dominated team, led by Senior George Brown, leads the Red Storm. The Senior left hander is 9-0 with a 2.73 ERA and a career-high 58 strikeouts in 85.2 innings. The pitching staff has two other very capable left-hander, one Matt Tonosi which is 6-1 with an 1.72 era and Junior pitcher Scott Barnes is 7-3 with an 3.92 era.
Offensively they are led by Senior captain Jeff Grantham was named a CoSIDA first team Academic All-American for the second straight year. A third team All-BIG EAST selection, Grantham is batting .354 this year with a team-best .479 on-base percentage. The shortstop has seven doubles, two home runs and 27 RBI.
Sam Houston Bearkats
The Bearkats won the Southland Conference tournament and gets to stay relatively close to home. The Bearkats are only and hour outside of Houston.
Mark Johnson leads the Bearkats. Coach Johnson is in his 23rd year of coaching where for the first 21 years he was at the helm of Texas A&M.
This Bearkats ball club is led by its offense. With Seth Hammock leading the way with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs. They also have Keith Stein with 10hrs and 56 RBIs and Bobby Verbick with 14 homeruns and 57 RBIs.
If the Bearkats can get any help on the pitching mound than this years team could make some noise much like last year team where they went to the regional finals in Mississippi.
Houston Regional At Reckling Park
Fri., May 30
Game 1: Texas vs. St. John’s, 2 pm;
Game 2: Rice vs. Sam Houston State, 6 pm;
Sat., May 31
Game 3: Losing teams at 2 pm (elimination game);
Game 4: Winning teams at 6 pm;
Sun., June 1
Game 5: 2 pm (elimination game)
Game 6: 6 pm (possible championship game)
Mon., June 2
Game 7: 6 pm (championship – if necessary)