The trip has been made.  The workouts are done.  The pitching decision has been confirmed.

It's time to play ball.

The #3 seed Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (39-21) take on the #2 seed Rice Owls (35-20) in first round action of the Houston Regional hosted by the University of Houston.  First pitch is scheduled for 2:35.  The game will be heard on ESPN1420 and News/Talk 96.5 KPEL beginning at 2:05.  The game can also be heard on as well as on radioPup, a free app for mobile phones.

Rice is the regular season champion in Conference USA.  The Owls were upset twice in the conference tournament against FIU and Middle Tennessee. The Cajuns were the third place team in the Sun Belt and got an automatic bid as the Sun Belt Tournament champion. Louisiana had to work its way though the losers bracket and defeated Troy, UT Arlington and Texas State (twice) to reach the championship game, where they defeated #! seed South Alabama 5-1 in 12 innings.

Louisiana coach Tony Robichaux announced yesterday evening that freshman Wyatt Marks (6-1, 1 save, 3.25) will get the start against the Owls.  Marks bounced back from a rough outing against Troy to throw seven shutout innings against Texas State this past Saturday.

Stefan Trosclair (.358-16-53) and Kyle Clement (.358-8-29) lead the Cajuns in hitting, while DH Tyler Girouard (.337-3-28) and Blake Trahan (.336-2-28) are the other Cajuns hitting over .300.

They will face a rugged Rice pitching staff and will see lefty Blake Fox on Friday.  Fox (8-2, 3.34) .  Matt Dittman (3-3, 10 saves, 2.85) averages more than a strikeout per inning on the season.
Rice is hitting 300 as a team, the highest of any team in the regional.  Kirby Taylor (.339-1-29), Ford Stainbeck (.336-0-29) and Charlie Warren (.330-1-28) are the leading hitters for the Owls, while John Clay Reeves (.324-8-55) is the big power threat for Rice, which has hit only 16 home runs all season.
The winner of this game will play Saturday at 7pm against the winner of Friday's second game between #1 Houston and #4 Houston Baptist.  The losers will meet in an elimination game Saturday at 2:30pm.