No. 17 Baseball posts 9-5 victory over No. 3 Rice
The Longhorns collect 10 or more hits for the fifth-straight game and took advantage of five Owls' errors as No. 17 Texas earned a 9-5 victory over No. 3 Rice in front of 5,105 fans at Reckling Park on Tuesday, March 7.
Texas' (11-8) victory marked their second in a row overall and eighth consecutive triumph over Rice (13-4) in the all-time series.
Two-out singles by Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas), Kyle Russell (Magnolia, Texas) and Bradley Suttle (Boerne, Texas) in the top of the first inning combined with a stolen base, a wild pitch and an Owls' error to stake UT to an early 2-0 lead. Rice attempted to answer in its half of the opening frame with a leadoff double from Tyler Henley, but Texas starter Kenn Kasparek (Weimar, Texas) recorded a pair of shallow fly-ball outs around a strikeout to end the inning unscathed. In the bottom of the second, the Owls cut the lead in half as Jordan Dodson reached on an infield hit, advanced to second on a groundout and scored on a controversial double inside the left-field line from Brian Friday. Texas then reclaimed its two-run lead in the third as Bryan Herrera (Austin, Texas) drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on a wild pitch that rolled into the UT dugout and scored on a two-out, RBI-single off the bat of Suttle. Still threatening in the frame with another single and a walk, the Horns loaded the bases, but Rice reliever Will McDaniel fielded a come-backer off his shin to work out of the jam without further damage.
The Longhorns loaded the bases for the second time in as many innings in the fourth and scored once to make it a 4-1 game when Russell was hit with a pitch. The Owls then escaped the threat when Dodson fielded a fly ball to left and threw the runner at third out at home with a perfect throw. Following a scoreless fifth, Texas tacked on another run in the sixth via a Brett Lewis (Rockwall, Texas) single, an error on a failed pickoff and a RBI-base hit from Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas) to pull in front 5-1. The Owls answered in the bottom of the sixth by using a leadoff single, a double from Joe Savery and back-to-back sacrifice flies to plate two runs and make it a 5-3 contest.
Coming right back in the seventh, the Horns loaded the bases on two doubles and an intentional walk with one out before a throwing error brought in one run, Lewis drove in two with a single and Peoples singled in another to give Texas a 9-3 lead. Three straight two-out hits, including an RBI-triple from Henley, in the bottom of the seventh by the Owls then closed the gap to 9-5. From there, Kyle McCulloch (Houston, Texas), who came on in relief to start the seventh, retired the final seven batters he faced to seal the win and earn his second career save. Earning the victory was Kasparek, who went six innings and struck out four in his first start of the year, while Rice starter Craig Crow incurred the loss.
Paving the way offensively for the Longhorns were five players with multi-hit outings, including Lewis, who went 3-for-4 with one run scored and two RBI, Russell, who scored two runs and drove in two more with a pair of hits, and Peoples, who went 2-for-4 with one run scored and two RBI. Rice, meanwhile, had its attack led by Henley, who went 2-for-3 with one run scored and one RBI, and Greg Buchanan, who posted two hits while scoring one run and driving in another. Of additional note for UT, Stubbs and Russell extended their current hit streaks to 13 and nine games, respectively.
Up next, the Horns return home to Disch-Falk Field to open a three-game series against No. 20 Long Beach State on Friday, March 10 at 6:15 p.m. Central. To purchase tickets, call by phone (1-800-982-BEVO).