Ian Rice made his professional debut on Sunday night as he got the start behind the plate and batted clean-up in Eugene’s 8-2 loss to Tri-City.
The 29th round pick out of the University of Houston went 1-for-3 with a walk. After a strikeout and a ground out, the 21-year-old walked in the 6th inning and then singled in the 8th for his first pro hit.
Rice started 51 games behind the plate for the Cougars, batting .255/.427/.364 with three homers, nine doubles, 48 walks and 34 strikeouts. He helped Houston to a conference title and a # 1 seed in the NCAA Regionals.
Drafted by the Boston Red Sox last year in the 21st round, Rice spent his first two years of college at Chipola Junior College, where hit hit .330 with 11 homer and 51 RBI as a sophomore. He earned JC All-State honors and was named the Panhandle Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Like many of the Cubs college draft picks Rice spent the summer of 2014 in the Cape Cod League, playing in 29 games for Cotuit. The right-hander batted .270 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in 63 at-bats.
The Virginia native will split catching duties with Tyler Alamo while in Eugene and may get a taste of the Midwest League before the summer is over.