Rice Snaps Horns 10-Game Win Streak, 7-4

Texas and Rice have played a number of classic games over the last nine years, often featuring the club's most battle-tested hurlers. On Tuesday, both teams went in a different direction. In an effort to get their pitchers big-game experience, Augie Garrido and Wayne Graham decided to build depth, using some of their more inexperienced hurlers.

The end result was 34 total baserunners and a 7-4 Rice victory, snapping the Texas Longhorns' ten-game winning streak.

Right-hander Cole Green got the start for the Longhorns (29-9), and he began the game by retiring the side in order. It would be the last perfect inning of the game for either team.

The Owls (28-10) struck first in the top of the second, opening the inning with three consecutive baserunners. Sticking with the theme of inexperience, right fielder Ryan Lewis -- who entered the game with just 17 at-bats on the season -- poked a single into centerfield to give Rice a 1-0 lead. The club added a run two batters later when catcher Craig Manuel singled to right.

Rice starter Abe Gonzales opened the game with 10 consecutive pitches outside the strike zone. With men on first and second and a 2-0 count on Brandon Belt, the Longhorns started the runners. The slugger lined a ball to left field, and Travis Tucker was quickly doubled off second base.

And that's just the kind of night it was for the Texas offense.

Facing a mixture of Kendal Carrillo, Andrew McKirahan and Stayton Thomas in the game's middle innings, Rice was able to maintain a comfortable lead over the Longhorns nearly the entire night.

Texas had its best opportunity in the bottom of the seventh. Trailing 6-4, the Longhorns got a one-out walk from Belt. Tant Shepherd followed with a sinking line drive to center, where Steven Sultzbaugh gambled and made a phenomenal diving catch. Had the ball slipped by him, Shepherd would've had at least three bases.

"I thought Sultzbaugh's play was a big key to the game," Rice Head Coach Wayne Graham said. "If that ball gets by him instead of making the catch, it's a different ballgame."

The ‘Horns certainly had their share of opportunities. Rice pitchers walked 12 batters in the game. Despite having 17 baserunners in nine innings, Texas managed just four runs.

The bottom of the eighth presented another excellent opportunity for Texas. Graham called on Diego Seastrunk -- normally the team's designated hitter -- to come out of the bullpen. Seastrunk walked both men he faced, putting runners on first and second with nobody out for the third time in the game.

Rice then called on freshman Friday starter Taylor Wall, who came in and closed the door on the Longhorns. Wall escaped the eighth without being damaged and worked around a one-out walk in the ninth to close it out.

In the end, the second-ranked Owls walked 12 batters and left Austin with its sixth victory in seven tries over the Longhorns.

"It was a difficult game for both teams," Garrido said. "And for both teams, it was a below-average game, I think."

Despite the ugly contest, both Texas and Rice are ranked in the top five and have an excellent opportunity to reach the College World Series.

Graham thinks Texas could even take home the crown.

"I'm not saying this because we won the game, but I think Texas is a real candidate to win the national championship because they've got such great pitching," he said. "They've got more good pitchers I think than anybody. And when you've got that kind of pitching, you've got a shot."

Horns Digest Top Stories