Longhorns shutdown No. 5 Rice before sold-out crowd
AUSTIN, Texas -- Four pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout and the Longhorns' offense scored three two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth to snap a 0-0 tie as No. 1 Texas (18-1) earned a 7-0 shutout victory over No. 5 Rice (12-4) in front of a season-high crowd of 6,815 fans at Disch-Falk Field on Wednesday, March 9.
Rice threatened to break a scoreless tie in both the top of the second and third innings as the Owls loaded the bases with two outs in the second and received a one out triple from Joe Savery in the third, but in each instance UT starter Kyle McCulloch (Houston, Texas) worked out the jams without allowing a run. The Texas offense, meanwhile, was held hitless through the first three frames by Rice starter Eddie Degerman. UT then broke up the perfect game bid by Degerman in the fourth by placing runners on second and third with two outs after an error, a walk and a wild pitch, but the junior forced a groundout to retire the side.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Horns would mount a threat by placing two runners on with no outs via a hit-by-pitch and a base hit from Chance Wheeless (Round Rock, Texas), but Degerman retired the next three batters in a row to keep the game tied at 0-0. One full inning later, Texas put together a two-out rally as Seth Johnston (Boerne, Texas) and Taylor Teagarden (Carrollton, Texas) each came up with singles to put runners on first and second. Thomas Incaviglia (Monterrey, Calif.) then dropped a base hit over the head of the Rice shortstop to bring in Johnston before Clay Van Hook (Brenham, Texas) singled through the right side to make it 2-0 in favor of UT. Still battling in the frame, Wheeless came up next and lined a single off the pitcher's leg that on the throw allowed Incaviglia to score from second and push the Horns on top by a 3-0 margin.
Following a scoreless seventh, UT combined two walks, two errors and a wild pitch with RBI-base hits from Calvin Beamon (Aurora, Colo.) and Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas) in the eighth to bring in four more runs and make it a 7-0 ballgame. J. Brent Cox (Bay City, Texas) then came on to work the ninth and struck out the side in order to close out UT's fifth shutout of the season. Earning the victory in relief was Clayton Stewart, who improved to a team-best 6-0 by tossing 2.2 innings of hitless relief, while Rice reliever Adam Hale shouldered the loss after coming on in the sixth for Degerman, who allowed only one hit while fanning five over five innings of work.
Headlining the evening for Texas was Wheeless, who was the only player in the game to post a multi-hit outing with a 2-for-4 effort, Incaviglia, who went 1-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored, Teagarden, who scored two runs and tallied a single, and the foursome of McCulloch, Stewart, Buck Cody (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Cox, who limited the Owls to three hits on the night and only one hit from the fourth through the ninth. Rice, meanwhile, was led by Savery, who collected a triple and reached base safely three times.
Up next, the Longhorns open a three-game series with the Purdue Boilermakers at Disch-Falk Field on Friday, March 11 at 6:15 p.m. Central.