Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HUNTSVILLE -- Freshman Dominic DiCaprio's bases-loaded double sparked a five-run first inning and freshman Jackson Parthasarathy's solid outing on the mound helped paved the way to the Rice baseball team's 8-3 road victory at longtime rival Sam Houston State Wednesday evening in Huntsville.
Rice went right to work in the top of the first inning. The Owls patiently drew five walks before DiCaprio blasted his first collegiate extra-base hit to the gap in left-center field. It was Rice's lone hit of the inning, but the Owls were in business with a 5-0 lead.
Sam Houston had a hit and a walk that turned into a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. The Owls could have avoided the scores, but a costly fielding error allowed the unearned runs to come home before getting out of the inning.
Rice got a run back in the top of the fourth. Charlie Warren led off with a single up the middle and advanced as Ryan Chandler drew his third walk of the contest. Warren hustled to third on a fly out to center, but he alertly sprinted home to make it 6-2 as the Bearkats had trouble handling the relay back into the infield. The Owls added two more in the fifth on two hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 8-2. The Bearkats added a solo homer in the eighth for the 8-3 final.
Parthasarathy was what the pitching staff needed in just his second career start. The rookie right-hander from Austin worked 5.2 innings scattering just three hits and one walk while allowing the two unearned runs. He had one strikeout on the way to earning his first career victory. Fellow freshman Zach Esquivel had a pair of strikeouts in 2.1 inning out of the bullpen. Sophomore right-hander Glenn Otto fired a scoreless ninth with the Owls leading by five runs.
The Owls finished the night with nine hits, but it was the pitches they didn't swing at that were an equally big part of the win. Rice drew a total of 10 walks on the night, including five free passes in the top of the first inning. When the runners got on base, it was just a matter of going 6-for-14 at the plate (.429) that allowed seven different Owls to score and match the team's highest run total so far this year.
Rice next returns home to host former conference rival UCF in a three-game series at Reckling Park on March 4-6. Friday's start time is set for 6 pm.