Alcorn State will meet top-seeded Rice in the Houston Regional at 6 p.m. on Friday at Reckling Park.
The Braves (27-28) are making their first-ever NCAA Regional appearance, winning the SWAC Tournament two weeks ago.
Rice (41-19) won the Conference USA Tournament and earned a No. 8 national seed. The Owls shared the regular-season crown with Southern Miss.
“We’re not just happy to reach the regional, we’re in to win,” Alcorn coach Barrett Rey said. “This team has a lot of resiliency and don’t quit. We have a good chance because of the schedule we’ve played.”
Braves pitcher Steve Easter, who has a SWAC-leading eight wins, respects the Owls. Easter is expected to start against the Owls.
“I had no preference but there were several projected sites,” Easter said “We are just happy to be going anywhere.
“I don’t know anything them, but I have faced a couple of their players before. They are always good and them winning their conference says it all. That’s all I need to know about them.”
Baylor (29-26) and California (31-20) the other two teams in the Houston Regional, meet at 3 p.m.
If the Braves lose, they will play the California-Baylor loser on Saturday at 2 p.m. Should Alcorn pull off the upset, they will face the California-Baylor winner at 6 p.m.
Rice has earned its 17th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, the nation’s fourth-longest streak.
James Jones/The Sun Herald (MCT)