March 17, 2009
HOUSTON -- The Rice baseball team got some solid pitching in surrendering just four hits and shortstop Rick Hague's two-run homer in the fifth inning gave the Owls' the lead for good on the way to a 6-3 victory over visiting No. 1 Texas before a rowdy, record-setting crowd of 6,193 Tuesday night at Reckling Park.
Rice freshman starting pitcher Matthew Reckling kept the Longhorns in check for three shutout innings before his teammates struck for the game's first run in the bottom of the frame. Steven Sultzbaugh led off with a triple to the right-field wall and freshman catcher Craig Manuel followed with an RBI single up the middle for a 1-0 lead.
Texas answered with a run in the fourth. Brandon Belt drew a leadoff walk and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Rice had a wild pitch that sent Belt to third and he scored easily on Cameron Rupp's sacrifice fly to right.
The Longhorns added an unearned run the fifth without getting a hit. Kyle Lusson started it off advancing all the way to second on a Rice fielding error. A walk and a fielder's choice loaded the bases. Designated hitter Preston Clark drove Lusson home with a sacrifice fly for a 2-1 UT lead.
Rice came right back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to move back in front. Second baseman Brock Holt stroked a one-out single up the middle and Hague blasted a two-run homer over the wall in left field. Hague's third homer of the year put Rice in front 3-2, but the offense was not quite finished. Chad Mozingo and Anthony Rendon knocked back-to-back base hits that put runners on the corners. Diego Seastrunk singled to center to score Mozingo and move Rendon to second. Two wild pitches by the Longhorns allowed Rendon to move two stations and the Owls stretched the margin to 5-2.
UT right fielder Russell Moldenhauer doubled to lead off the sixth and Rupp single put men at first and third. Moldenhauer scored on a sacrifice fly Tant Shepherd that made the score 5-3. The Rice bullpen of Jordan Rogers, Abe Gonzales and Mike Ojala did not allow Texas to get any closer. The trio held UT to just a run on two hits over the final 4.2 innings. Ojala, a Friday night starter for the Owls through the first 15 games, struck out four of the five Longhorns he faced to earn his first career save.
Rice plated its final run of the night in the seventh for a 6-3 final. The Owls had 13 hits on the night, including six different players with at least two hits in the contest. The Blue & Gray improved to 11-5 with their third win this season over a Big 12 team. The Longhorns to 14-3 overall.
The Owls next play across town at the University of Houston on Wednesday (Mar. 18). First pitch with the Cougars is set for 6:30 pm. The game is the second of five in the annual battle for the Silver Glove Trophy as the city champion.
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