There is a remarkable consistency to the Rice Owls baseball team. A clockwork type of precision, almost, when one steps back from the day-to-day and goes to the season-to-season. Take this season, where after winning three of four games this week, the Owls have a record of 26-16. Last year, after 42 games, the Owls were 29-13. And after taking two of the three games from conference rival UTSA over the weekend, the Owls are 14-7 in conference as compared to last year's 15-6 at this time.
Ho-hum. Yawn. Nothing special to see here. Just a remarkably consistent team doing what it does year in and year out, season after season. Winning games. Staying at the top of the conference. Going to the NCAA Regionals. Can the Owls pitch? Yes. Can the Owls hit? Always. It's almost boring, this Rice consistency, this winning time and again. It's something the fan takes for granted, that the Owls will win games and somehow end up as one of the 64 teams playing for the chance to make it to Omaha and advance to the College World Series.
But the winning's not as easy as it seems. There are bumps along the road every season. Injuries, slumps, just plain stupid mistakes. It's how a team adjusts to these moments that separates the pretenders from the contenders. This has become the standard for the Owls, making the adjustments, shutting the lineup or the rotation, moving guys in and out of the closer spot, finding the ways to get the former ace recovering from Tommy John surgery back into the rotation.