Rice baseball fell to 0-7 on the season, dropping their first midweek contest in San Marcos to Texas State by a score of 9-2.
Texas State struck first with a solo home run in the first inning and never looked back. A three-run third inning and a three-run fifth put Rice baseball in an insurmountable hole, from which they were unable to return.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
Pitching staff remains a work in progress
Kel Bordwine’s early-season struggles opened the door for Brandon Deskins to start on Tuesday. He lasted just 2.1 innings before a two-walk, three-hit third inning chased him from the game. Bordwine came on in relief and was a bit wild, walking three batters while recording five outs.
Andrew Kane and Joshua Larzabal had the best nights out of the bullpen, maintaining their spotless 0.00 ERAs. Each should move up in the pecking order after the trio of Bordwine, Ryan Rickett and Garrett Zaskoda were all tagged with runs in their brief outings.
Still not enough clutch hits
Rice baseball picked up hits with runners in scoring position during the fifth and the sixth innings. Even getting one key hit evaded Rice all weekend against UC Irvine. More than zero is a step in the right direction, but it’s nowhere near the level Rice needs to be if they want to win games.
The problem has impacted the entire lineup. Here are the averages of the Owls’ top hitters with runners in scoring position this season.
- Trei Cruz – .167
- Cade Edwards – .167
- Austin Bulman – .000
- Bradley Gneiting – .000
- Justin Collins – .000
On most nights, those five have represented the majority of the top five spots in your order. If they aren’t driving in runs, there won’t be any sort of consistent offense.
Much tougher than expected
Going back to March 2018, Rice baseball has dropped five straight games to in-state rival Texas State. That losing streak is only two games shy of the Owls’ current seven-game skid. Every team starts the season winless, but few teams make it to the third weekend without a single tally in the lefthand column.
Rice has shown deficiencies in the starting rotation, the bullpen and the batting order. The defense has been strong — much improved from this point last season — but there is plenty more work to be done to get this team back to where they want to be.