March 18, 2014
Caleb Smith stole the show with a solid start as the Owls defeated longtime rival Texas State 14-1 Tuesday night in San Marcos.
The Rice offense quickly amassed seven runs over the first four innings on five hits, four walks and a pair of hit batsmen. That was more than enough room for Smith in just his second Division I start. The sophomore transfer worked a career-long 6.0 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and walk while striking out a career-high 12.
The dozen strikeouts are the most by a Rice pitcher since Austin Kubitza's 13 in a road game at the University of Hawaii last season. The win was Smith's first as an Owl. Rice won its sixth game in a row to improve to 16-6 overall. Texas State dropped to 13-7.
Two extra-base hits by Rice put the Owls on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning. Michael Aquino led off with a double down the right field line. He scored on a one out double to right-center by Kirby Taylor.
The Bobcats answered with a run in the bottom of the frame. Tanner Hill connected on a pitch for a solo home run to left field to make it 1-1.
Rice needed only a combined three hits for a total of six runs over the third and fourth innings. Texas State walked two and hit another two as the Blue & Gray batted around for four in the fourth. A Cook single, two more Bobcat walks, a wild pitch and sacrifice fly by Aquino stretched the margin to 7-1. Rice later added two more runs in the eighth and five more in the ninth for a 14-1 final.
In the final offensive totals four different Rice players collected at least two hits and every player scored a run. Aquino went 3-for-4 with two RBI. John Clay Reeves drove in three runs with a pair of hits.
The Owls have wrapped-up their four-game road swing and next return home to Reckling Park for a three-game Conference USA series March 21-23. Rice hosts Florida Atlantic University on Friday at 6:30 pm. Both Saturday's and Sunday's games are set for 1 pm.