Lamar and Rice to renew rivalry on Tuesday
Feb. 21, 2011
HOUSTON - Lamar University will renew the third-longest baseball rivalry in school history Tuesday when the Cardinals take on tradition-rich Rice University in a 4 p.m. start at the Owls' Reckling Park.
For the record, Lamar began its baseball program in 1952 with a 2-1 loss to Rice in Houston, and Tuesday's game will mark the 117th meeting of the schools on the diamond. The Owls own a commanding 72-44 advantage and have won 11 of the past 12 meetings between the teams.
Lamar's longest baseball rivalry is against McNeese State as the Cardinals and Cowboys have opposed each other 176 times. The Cardinals' second-longest rivalry is against Louisiana-Lafayette, which has opposed them 131 times.
The Cardinals, who won the 2010 Southland Conference Tournament last spring to earn their 13th NCAA Tournament berth, will bring a 1-3 record and an unimpressive team batting average of .180 into Tuesday's game. The Cards' lone win in last weekend's season-opening Mississippi State Tournament was a 1-0 decision over the University of Akron on Sunday.
It came in dramatic fashion as junior left fielder Kevin Roebuck slugged a walkoff home run in the ninth inning to clinch victory No. 1,400 in Cardinal history.
Rice, which went 40-23 last season and won the Conference USA championship before advancing to the NCAA Austin Regional, opened its 2011 season by going 1-2 in a home series against eighth-ranked Stanford. The lone win was a 7-1 decision in which the Owls received a strong, six scoreless innings of pitching from junior right-hander Matthew Reckling.
The teams traded road victories last season with the Cardinals winning 13-7 at Reckling Park and the Owls prevailing 7-2 in Beaumont's Vincent-Beck Stadium.
Junior right-hander Eric Harrington of Port Neches-Groves, who won 16 of 20 decisions in his first two seasons as a Cardinal, is Lamar's probable starter for Tuesday. The Owls, who are ranked 22nd by Baseball America, are expected to start senior left-hander Tony Cingrani, who posted a 1-0 record and 8.59 earned run average last year.