Humber set to face fellow Rice alum Berkman

Humber set to face fellow Rice alum Berkman

HOUSTON -- Philip Humber, who will take the ball for the Astros in Wednesday's series finale against Texas, has never pitched against fellow Rice product Lance Berkman in a Major League game. But the right-hander has faced Berkman before, and it didn't go so well.

Berkman launched a 450-foot home run off Humber during the pitcher's freshman year in the Rice University alumni game in 2001 at Reckling Park in Houston. Humber was just beginning a career that culminated with a College World Series championship, and Berkman was an established player with the Astros.

Humber figures to get another crack at Berkman, the Rangers' designed hitter, on Wednesday.

"That's the only time I've faced him and he's up 1-0," Humber joked. "Hopefully, I can even the score a little bit. From what I saw Sunday night, he's still got it. He's still got that swing, and obviously is going to be a tough out and a big part of their lineup this year. I think we'll have a game plan, at least, and go out and try to get him out."

Humber has come to know Berkman a little bit through the years and respects him as a player.

"The year we won the [College] World Series, in the offseason he would come and do a bible study with the guys, and I learned a lot from him," Humber said. "We maybe went to lunch together once or twice, but I never spent a whole lot of time with him. I have a whole lot of respect for him as a player and a person, and he is a great representative of baseball and Rice."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.