IRVING, Texas – Rice’s Tristan Gray has been named the Conference USA Hitter of the Week for April 12-17, the league office announced Monday (Apr. 18) from its headquarters in Irving, Texas.
Back from an injury that sidelined him for the entire month of March, Owl sophomore outfielder Tristan Gray has made up for lost time. Last week he batted a composite .462 (6-of-13) with two RBI and two runs scored to help the Owls go 4-0, taking a road game at longtime rival Texas State and sweeping C-USA foe Western Kentucky at home. He had a hit in every game to extend his current hitting streak to five-straight, and he clubbed two doubles for a team-best .615 slugging percentage. Gray doubled-home an insurance run in the 3-1 win at Texas State, then singled and scored the go-ahead run in the Friday series-opener against WKU. The Houston native tied a career-high with three hits in the second game of the WKU series, but it was his heads-up play to draw a rundown between first and second base that allowed the Owls' tying run to score from third (before he later drove in a run in that 5-2 victory). Even though he was the team's hottest hitter Gray also unselfishly contributed a sac bunt last week, but his work at the plate was only half the story. In the game at Texas State Gray also battled a swirling 23-mph wind to make eight putouts from his defensive spot in left field - the most by an Owl outfielder in any game this season.
Marshall freshman LHP Joshua Shapiro has earned the C-USA Pitcher of the Week award. Shapiro earned his first collegiate victory on Sunday over No. 16 Florida Atlantic with seven scoreless innings, while striking out five.
The Rice baseball team, 24-11 overall and 12-3 in C-USA, is next in action on Friday (April 22). The Owls play at Southern Miss in a showdown of the two teams currently sharing first place in the league standings. Start time is set for 7 pm and the contest is scheduled for a live television broadcast on FS2.