Ral-Ly! UT Comes Back From Five Down To Edge Rice

Trailing by five in the seventh against college baseball's third-ranked team? No problem! On a rainy day in Austin, No. 2 Texas (16-2) stormed back to an 8-7 win over Rice (7-3) in front of 4,691 at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday. It marked the second win over Rice this season and the sixth time this year that UT has rallied back to win.

A three-run seventh followed by a three-run ninth keyed by two Hunter Harris two-run triples is what sealed the deal for Texas. Kyle McCulloch came on in the top of the eighth and picked up the win after pitching all of one-third of an inning. Rice's Jeff Niemann incurred the loss, his second of the season, after tossing 3.1 frames in relief. (Niemann started in the Owls' losing effort vs. the Horns back on Feb. 14 in Houston, but got a no-decision in that one.)

A pair of two-out walks followed by Adam Rodgers' triple to right center spotted the Owls a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. One inning later, after a leadoff single from Curtis Thigpen and a fielder's choice from Seth Johnston placed runners on the corners with one out, Ryan Russ lined a double to the left-center field gap that knotted the score at 2-2. Rice then loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth on a hit and two walks before a groundout by Rodgers plated a run to put the Owls on top 3-2. With Rice still threatening, J.P. Howell was called from the bullpen and retired the next two batters.

The Owls extended their lead to 7-2 in the seventh as Adam Morris connected on a two-out grand slam off of J. Brent Cox. Trailing by five, Texas went to work in the bottom of the frame as back-to-back singles from Michael Hollimon and Dooley Prince resulted in two scores when Harris tripled down the right field line. Harris then scored on a groundout to cut Rice's advantage to 7-5.

Rice loaded the bases in the top of the eighth but could not plate a runner. The Horns then put runners on first and second with one out before Harris laced his second triple in as many at-bats to score Hollimon and Prince. With the game tied at seven, Thigpen brought home Harris from third with a center field single to give the Horns their first lead in the game at 8-7. Reliever Huston Street came on in the top of the ninth and retired all three of the batters he faced to earn his second save of the year.

Leading the Longhorns' 13-hit parade were Harris and Thigpen, who each collected three hits while combining for five RBI and three runs scored, as well as the duo of Prince and Hollimon, who both tallied a pair of hits as well as runs scored.

The Horns open a weekend series with both No. 17 Cal State Fullerton and Sam Houston State. Texas will face the Titans on both Friday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, and the Bearkats at 1 p.m., Saturday.


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