The No. 19 Texas Longhorns used two big innings and solid mound performances from seven different pitchers to post a 9-1 win over the No. 15 Rice Owls in collegiate baseball action Tuesday evening at Reckling Park in Houston, Texas.
Two days after being tagged with a loss against Stanford, Cole Green (1-1) bounced back to earn the victory with 1.2 innings of relief. He struck out four of the six batters he faced and helped UT get out of a jam in the fourth inning. Riley Boening started the game with two innings of two-hit shutout work. Casey Whitmer followed with 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out one. The lone Rice run came off Brandon Workman in the sixth inning. Chance Ruffin, Stayton Thomas and Marcus Tackett closed out the game with one scoreless inning apiece, including hitless frames from both Ruffin and Thomas.
Texas (10-4) drew first blood with five runs in the fourth inning, chasing Rice starter Cole St. Clair from the mound. Cameron Rupp hit a leadoff single to rightfield and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Belt. After Kyle Russell drew a walk, David Hernandez plated Rupp with a single down the leftfield line. Kyle Lusson followed with a seeing-eye single through the right side of the infield to drive in Russell from second base and put runners at the corners. Michael Torres singled to leftfield, plating Hernandez and inflating the UT cushion to 3-0. Texas added to the lead with a single to centerfield by Jordan Danks, scoring Lusson and a wild pitch by reliever Price, allowing Torres to come across for the 5-0 margin.
Rice (8-6) scratched out a run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Aaron Luna hit a leadoff single up the middle off UT reliever Brandon Workman. With one out, a hit-and-run single up the middle by J.P. Padron put runners at the corners. Rick Hague hit a sacrifice fly to leftfield, plating Luna to trim the lead to 5-1. The Owls eventually loaded the bases with two outs before Workman induced a groundout to second base by Chad Mozingo.
The Longhorns added three insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning. Brandon Belt hustled out a triple which he laced to the gap in right centerfield to lead off the frame. With one out, Hernandez drove in Belt in with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. With two outs, Lusson reached on an error by the Rice second baseman and Torres made the Owls pay for the mistake as he deposited a 3-1 pitch by reliever Jonathan Runnels over the fence down the rightfield line, inflating the cushion to 8-1.
Texas manufactured a run in the top of the ninth. Danks hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a walk, advanced to third on a groundout to the pitcher by Rupp and scored on a groundout to second base by Belt.
The Longhorns were paced offensively by Torres who went 3-for-4 with two runs, three RBI and his first home run of the season. Hernandez went 2-for-3 with one run and two RBI. Danks also chipped in with a pair of hits.
Luna led Rice at the plate, going 2-for-3 with one run.
Cole St. Clair (1-1) was saddled with the loss for the Owls. He allowed five runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out five over 3.2 innings. Bryan Price was effective in 2.1 hitless innings of relief, fanning three Horns.
Texas returns to action Friday evening, hosting the Kansas Jayhawks in a 6:05 p.m. contest at UFCU Disch-Falk Field to open Big 12 Conference action.