Rice: Previewing this afternoon's game

By Amber Obermeyer - February 23, 2007

In short: something's got to give.

The Rice pitching staff has been brilliant in 10 games so far this season, sporting a sparkling 1.69 earned run average, while Florida Atlantic enters the game with a .403 team batting average and an unbelievable .682 team slugging percentage. Similarly, the Florida Atlantic staff has a rather pedestrian 4.00 ERA, but Rice enters the afternoon match-up hitting an anemic .226 (with a slugging percentage, .340, that is even worse).

The contrast in styles between the two teams extends to their scheduling: Rice has struggled somewhat against its non-conference gauntlet that has included (so far) a combined six games against traditional tournament teams Vanderbilt, Baylor, Texas A&M, and Long Beach State. Florida Atlantic spent six games beating up on lightweights Mississippi Valley State (including a 33-3 victory) and Cincinnati before a quality win last weekend against No. 17 Oklahoma State behind 12 strikeouts from starter Mickey Storey (who I have a sneaking suspicion will start today). Honestly, I think both sides of the scheduling argument have some merit: play too many good teams too early and you risk losing confidence and damaging morale, play too many patsies and you may not be ready for the postseason grind.

About five times in writing this preview, I've mistakenly typed 'Owls,' only to realize that moniker does me no good for this game. So, please excuse the repetitive use of 'Rice' and 'Florida Atlantic,' as I try to break the Owls=Rice link ingrained in my brain. To briefly introduce myself, I played (term used veeeery loosely...more like practiced) varsity soccer at Rice for two seasons and later was the sports editor and then editor in chief of the campus newspaper before graduating last May. I often have drawn the ire of fellow Rice sports-watchers for being too critical, so I am hopeful that you will not find me too biased despite my Rice connections.

More on the lineups and starting pitchers when I get to Reckling later this afternoon.

Posted by Amber Obermeyer at 04:12 PM on February 23, 2007

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