HOUSTON - The Texas Longhorns held off a pair of late Rice rallies to claim a 3-1 victory over the Owls in front of 4,755 fans in the baseball season opener for both teams Friday evening at Reckling Park.
Rice jumped on the scoreboard for a run in the bottom of the first inning. True freshman Ryan Chandler was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and moved to scoring position with a stolen base. He went to third on a base hit through the left side by Ford Stainback and scored on a sacrifice fly by Leon Byrd.
Owl starting pitcher Kevin McCanna kept Texas in check for the first four innings, striking out six and holding the No. 3 ranked Horns to two hits. The junior right-hander surrendered an unearned run in the fifth after an Owl fielding error and a pair of walks. It was the only run he allowed in 5.0 frames while finishing with eight strikeouts to tie a career high.
Texas took the lead with two runs in the seventh on just one hit off the Owl bullpen. Collin Shaw's double to right plated two for a new 3-1 game.
Rice went right to work with a pair of hits in the bottom of the seventh and went on to load the bases before UT escaped without any damage. In the eighth the Blue & Gray again started the inning with back-to-back singles, but Texas turned a key double play to end the threat.
The Owls finished the night with ten hits, including a double by Charlie Warren. Rice went on to leave ten runners on base.
Friday was only opening night. The rivals are back for two games Saturday in a split double-header, followed by the finale of the four-game series on Sunday. Saturday start times are slated for noon and 4 pm.