05/05/2017 7:22 PM
ALBANY, N.Y. - One of the most storied college programs in Texas will be sending two of its most promising freshmen to play for the Albany Dutchmen this summer. Rice, which has sent players 26 players to the MLB, including Brock Holt and Anthony Rendon, will send both Brad Gneiting and Roel Garcia to the northeast this summer.
Gneiting is a 6-foot, 175-pound freshman from North Richland Hills, Texas, where he attended Keller High School. Gneiting was a two-time First Team District 5-6A honoree in a district that was recently ranked as the fourth-toughest baseball district in the country, according to MaxPreps. During his first year at Rice, Gneiting has been an everyday guy, hitting .266 with nine doubles, 13 RBIs, and 12 walks while appearing in 34 games with 27 starts. Rice Head Coach Wayne Graham has played Gneiting at both second base and left field this season, and has moved him around the lineup as well, even making a handful of starts leading off for the Owls. Gneiting will be a jack-of-all-trades for the Dutchmen, able to play multiple positions and hit multiple places in the lineup.
Garcia is an intimidating force right when he steps on the mound. The right-hander stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 220 pounds. In high school, Garcia helped his team, Deer Park High School, to a 37-3 record, a District 21-6A title, and a berth in the Region III finals of the state tournament. Garcia made his collegiate debut for Rice this past February against Texas, throwing 3.0 innings and only allowing one hit while striking out four Longhorns. He has appeared in eight games out of the bullpen for Rice, totaling 11 strikeouts in only eight innings.
Gneiting and Garcia are not the first players from Rice to come and play for the Dutchmen. Dom DiCaprio, Rice’s starting catcher, donned a Dutchmen uniform in 2015, totaling 18 hits, 15 walks, and 13 runs over 29 starts. DiCaprio is currently leading the Owls with a .359 average with 55 hits in 43 games. His four home runs, 33 RBIs, and .445 on-base percentage all lead the team.