Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (email@example.com)
HOUSTON – The Rice baseball team had 15 hits and five Owl pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout on the way to a 9-0 road victory at crosstown rival Houston Tuesday evening at UH.
Rice exploded for seven runs in the top of the first inning. True freshman Brad Gneiting led off with a double to left and scored on Dane Myers’ one-out single into left-center field. Dominic DiCaprio drew a walk and Myers scored from second on Ford Proctor’s single to center.
Tristan Gray followed with an RBI double to right to make the score 3-0, but the Owls weren’t finished. With two outs and runners on second and third, Charlie Warren drove both home with a hard single to left-center. The hit early parade continued as Chace Sarchet singled and Gneiting collected his second hit of the inning as the team batted around. Two more runs scored on the play to stretch the margin to 7-0.
The Blue & Gray was back on the board again in the third and fourth. Andrew Dunlap came off the bench and knocked the ball off the wall for a double. He went to third on Gneiting’s third hit of the day and scored as Chandler reached base on a fielder’s choice. In the fourth, Warren lined a two-out double to right to score Proctor for a 9-0 advantage.
Gneiting and Warren both had three hits in the team’s second-highest single game total of the season. Four Rice players had two or more hits in the game, and the Owls tied a season-high with four doubles.
The wealth of offensive support was welcome, but proved not to be vital to the outcome. Almost lost in all the early offensive fireworks was a sensational start on the mound by Kendal Jefferies. The sophomore right-hander worked a career-long 5.0 innings, without allowing any runs, hits or walks. He struck out three and of only three Cougars to reach base, two were on fielding errors and one was hit by a pitch.
Jefferies was relieved by Addison Moss, who struck out two in 2.0 scoreless innings. Zach Esquivel, Willy Amador and Glenn Otto kept the staff’s second shutout of the season intact for the final two frames.
Rice improved now 10-21 on the season. Houston moved to 20-8 overall.
The Owls have closed out the rugged five-game road swing. Rice next returns home to Reckling Park April 7-9 for a Conference USA weekend series against longtime league rival Louisiana Tech. Friday’s first pitch against the Bulldogs is scheduled for 6:30 pm.