GENEVA, Ill. — Sitting in opposite dugouts for the first time since leaving the Hill, former WKU baseball teammates Matt Rice and Matt Ridings met on the baseball diamond wearing different uniforms at the 2012 Midwest League All-Star Game in Geneva, Ill., on Tuesday.
Rice, representing the Eastern Division, made the all-star squad as a reserve and was one of eight Bowling Green Hot Rod players to earn the all-star nod. Ridings was named to the Western Division squad after finishing the half-way point of the season with a team-best 21 appearances out of the Kane County bullpen and a superb 2.43 ERA.
Rice, in his first season with the Bowling Green Hot Rods after graduating from WKU in 2011, made his debut in Tuesday's game in the bottom half of the fifth as a defensive substitution at catcher. Rice would play the remaining five innings, finishing his night 1-for-3 at the plate, including a two-RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to extend the lead for the East. The East squad would eventually win the game, 18-2.
Ridings, WKU's all-time leader in wins (34), games started (60), innings pitched (383.2) and strikeouts (354) after concluding his collegiate career in 2010, entered the game with two outs in the top of the fifth inning, striking out Joseph Winkler on three-straight pitches to end the inning. The one batter would be all that Ridings would face in the game.
The head-to-head meeting between Ridings and Rice may have been the first since the two left WKU, but possibly won't be the last. Bowling Green and Kane County are set for a three-game series July 18-20 in Bowling Green, Ky. The second half of the 2012 season is set to get underway on Friday, June 22.