Houston Regional: Rice-Xavier preview

May, 31, 2009
HOUSTON -- Veteran Rice coach Wayne Graham is exactly where he didn't want to be heading into the third day of the NCAA regionals.

The Owls' 7-6 loss to Kansas State last night pushed the Houston Regional 1-seed into the losers' bracket and an elimination game against Xavier on Sunday afternoon.

Unlike their previous teams, the Owls don't have much pitching depth. Those problems are especially aggravated if the Owls have to go to the bullpen.

Whether they have enough pitching to go through two games today and another one on Monday remains to be seen. Especially considering they will have to beat a hot-hitting KSU team that is hitting .400 with four homers and 30 hits in the Wildcats' first two NCAA tournament games.

But assuredly, Graham didn't want to find out.

Here are the starting lineups for the elimination game. Rice is the visiting team.

Rice Owls (40-16)

2B Brock Holt
SS Rick Hague
DH Diego Seastrunk
3B Anthony Rendon
LF Michael Fuda
C Craig Manuel
CF Steven Sultzbaugh
1B Jimmy Comerota
RF Jeremy Rathjen
RHP Jared Rogers (3-1, 7.24 ERA)

Xavier Musketeers (39-20)

C Billy O'Conner
2B Drew Schmidt
RF Neil Lindgren
P-DH Ben Thomas
SS Jordan Conley
1B Bobby Freking
LF Steve Brown
3B John McCambridge
CF Adam Pasono
LHP Ben Thomas (5-1, 6.47 ERA)

The Owls will start Sunday's game without right fielder Chad Mozingo, who is nursing a fractured hamate bone in his right end. Mozingo has started 50 of the Owls' 56 games and ranks second on the team with a .551 slugging average.

Pregame weather conditions: The temperature is 87 degrees with humidity at 33 percent. Winds are from the southeast at 6 mph.


HP: Joe Marion 1B: Mark Chapman 2B: Scott Cline 3B: Randy Watkins



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