March 5, 2010
HOUSTON -- The Rice baseball team rallied for a game-tying run in the top of the eighth inning, but the third-ranked Texas Longhorns came back with what proved to be the winning score in a 2-1 victory over the Owls Friday night in the opening day finale at the annual College Classic tournament downtown at Minute Maid Park.
Starting pitchers Taylor Wall (Rice) and Taylor Jungmann (Texas) were locked in a dramatic scoreless duel for the first five innings but both teams pushed across late runs. The Owls had two men on base in the top of the first inning but only men on base for the next six frames.
Wall allowed only three Longhorn baserunners through the first five innings and only one managed to reach scoring position. Texas struck for a run in the bottom of the sixth. Tant Shepherd reached on a fielder's choice and stole second to move into scoring position. He scored on a two-out single up the middle by Cameron Rupp for a narrow 1-0 advantage.
Rice then answered with a run to tie the game in the top of the eighth. Sophomore catcher Craig Manuel stroked his second hit of the night with a leadoff single and the Owls brought in sophomore Daniel Gonzales-Luna to pinch run. Gonzales-Luna advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jeremy Rathjen. He scored on Abe Gonzales' pinch hit single to left and the game was tied, 1-1.
Texas came right back with a run to regain the lead in the bottom of the frame. Shepherd drew a one-out walk and scored on a double to left-center by Brandon Loy. The Longhorns retired Rice in the top of the ninth to hang on for a 2-1 final. The loss snapped Rice's streak of four-straight victories over Texas dating back to 2008.
Wall pitched well, allowing just two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out a season-high eight batters in a season-long 7.1 innings. Jungmann finished with a nearly identical line of a run on four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in 7.2 innings.
The Owls dropped to 5-5 on the season. Texas moved to 7-2. The Blue & Gray next plays Texas Tech in the tournament on Saturday and 7 pm. The Owls close out the Classic against TCU on Sunday at 6 pm.