April 1, 2008
AUSTIN -- The Rice baseball team took advantage of five Texas fielding errors and rode a career-best relief performance from freshman left-hander Matt Evers to a 7-3 road victory over the Longhorns in front of a crowd of 6,511 Tuesday night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin.
Rice turned a UT miscue on the first play of the game into a run in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Aaron Luna reached second base safely when the Longhorns dropped a fly ball in the outfield. Luna moved to third on a fly out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Adam Zornes.
Texas, however, took a 3-1 lead in the second inning on three hits and hit batsman. Russell Moldenhauer started it off with a high infield fly that the Owls couldn't get under and the ball dropped to the ground for a base hit. Preston Clark was hit by a pitch to put two runners on and the men moved into scoring position with a fly out to left. Tant Shepherd drove them both in with a base hit and scored after singles by David Hernandez and Michael Torres.
Rice came right back with a run in the top of the third. Luna laced a single to center and he moved up on a walk to Jared Gayhart. Freshman Rick Hague lined a double to right-center to plate Luna and the margin was down to one, 3-2.
Evers entered the game out of the Rice bullpen in the fourth and the rookie from Houston posted a sensational outing to keep the margin close until his teammates could put a rally together. Evers struck out 10 of the 12 batters he faced in the 3.2 innings of work, including eight in a row at one point. He struck out the side in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings and the Longhorn fans applauded his effort when he came out of the game in the bottom of the eighth.
In the meantime the Blue & Gray pushed across the tying run in the sixth and took the lead in the seventh. Padron drove a pitch to the wall in right-center for a one-out double. He advanced to third on a ground out to the right side and scored on base hit to center by Jimmy Comerota. The Owls didn't need a hit for the go-ahead run in the next frame. Luna was safe on a UT fielding error. He stole second and scored on a two-base error on a wide throw to first base for a new 4-3 lead.
With a slim lead heading into the ninth, Owls then erupted for three big insurance runs that were all aided by the Horns' fifth fielding error of the night. With Jordan Dodson on first and two away, Texas threw wide in an attempt to retire Adam Zornes and Rice suddenly had runners on first and third. Seastrunk bounced a single down the right field line to score Dodson and Hague's second double of the night drove in the final two to stretch the final margin to 7-3.
Bryan Price worked a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season. Evers earned his second win to even his record to 2-2. On the offensive side, Comerota finished the night with two hits and an RBI. He was 6-of-10 in three games against the Longhorns this year, two of which were won by Rice. Luna batted leadoff for the first time and scored three runs.
Rice improved to 20-9 overall. Texas fell to 18-9 overall. The Owls next return home to Reckling Park to host Dallas Baptist on Wednesday night. First pitch with the Patriots is set for 6:30 pm. The Owls resume Conference USA action with a three-game weekend series at Memphis April 4-6.