LHP Austin Wood, displaying great command of the strike zone, retired the first 14 batters he faced. The sophomore collected the win after issuing just three hits in 5.2 innings. He struck-out two and walked none.
Texas improves to 23-8 on the season while Rice falls to 19-10. The teams will meet again at Reckling Park in Houston on April 18.
The Horns left the bases loaded during their first at-bat and then stranded runners at the corners when Bradley Suttle hit into a double-play to end the third. Texas broke the goose egg in the bottom of the fourth with (you guessed it) Kyle Russell's bullet over the right field wall. It was his 16th homer (in 103 appearances) this year and is just four shy of Jeff Ontiveros single-season record set in 2002.
Wood had pitched a perfect game with two down in the top of the fifth. But the Owls took a 2-1 lead with a two-out single to center, followed by two errors (one fielding, one throwing) on Russell in right field. Texas came right back by putting up a two-spot in the home-half of the frame on a couple of hits. Wheeless' RBI-double knotted the affair after Travis Tucker reached on a lead-off single and then advanced on Rice's third wild pitch of the ball game. Starting RHP Chris Kelley was done after issuing a walk to Jordan Danks. Ryan Berry took the mound, fanning Suttle, but loaded the bases by walking Russell. Moldenhauer sacrifice fly plated Wheeless and the Horns regained the lead, 3-2.
The Owls had runners on the corners with two down in the top of the sixth when RHP Pat McCrory came on in relief of Wood. The JC-transfer fanned Aaron Luna on a 3-2 breaking ball to get out of the jam. Texas pushed two more runs across in the bottom of the frame courtesy of two hits and an error. Josh Prince reached on SS Brian Friday's throwing error before Nick Peoples was awarded first on a fielders choice bunt. Tucker singled to left before Wheeless' RBI-single plated Peoples. Jared Gayhart took the mound, relieving Berry after 1.1 innings. Jordan Danks grounded out to short but scored Tucker. The inning ended when Wheeless was thrown out trying to steal third but Texas now owned a 5-2 cushion.
Rice's unorthodox method of scoring began with a hit-batsman in the top of the seventh. A chance for a double-play ball led to an Owl run after Wheeless misplayed a chopper down the first base line. LHP Joseph Krebs came-on in relief and gave up a sacrifice fly that scored the Owl's second run of the inning. A fielders choice ended the Owl uprising with Texas nursing a 5-4 lead.
Moldenhauer's solo-shot over the left field wall got one of the runs back during the Longhorn seventh.
Rice sent the meat of their order to the plate in the top of the eighth. Suttle made a great defensive stab at third to force a fielder's choice at second to end the inning. The Horns went in-order in the bottom half of the inning, looking to protect its two-run lead during the Owl's final at-bat.
But Krebs gave up a lead-off double to Joe Savery. It was the first extra-base hit for the Owls and the Horns went with RHP Randy Boone. The senior recorded a strike before giving up a single to put runners on the corner. But a Longhorn defense that was guilty of seven errors in the past two games turned the double-play to end the ballgame.
The Horns return to Big 12 Conference play when they host Oklahoma this weekend at the Disch.