HOUSTON -- Arguably the greatest position player in program history arrived at Reckling Park Thursday afternoon clutching a black bat while wearing a Washington Nationals t-shirt, and former Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon made it difficult to disregard the cruelty of timing.
One by one preseason college baseball polls are being released, and the Owls' bandwagon appears to be filling fast. Rice is ranked sixth by Baseball America and seventh in the coaches' poll, and the Owls are a popular pick to make their first College World Series appearance since they capped a string of three consecutive trips to Omaha, Neb., in 2008.
Of course that was the season before Rendon arrived and established himself as the nation's best hitter and, if Rice qualifies for the CWS this season, that will make Rendon the Owls' equivalent of Don Mattingly, whose sensational career with the Yankees spanned 14 World Series-less years yet was bookended by Fall Classic berths in 1981 and 1996.
If the Owls ...