Rice baseball picked up one of their biggest wins of the year on Tuesday, taking down Texas A&M in College Station, 2-1.
Winners of six of their last nine, Rice baseball entered its midweek bout with Texas A&M on the upswing. The Aggies had just been swept on the road by No. 5 Florida, but still boasted a stalwart 15-8 record.
To earn the pivotal win, Rice needed a big game from redshirt freshman starting pitcher Garrett Zaskoda, who had struggled in his prior outing against Texas State surrendering seven runs in 3+ innings. This Tuesday night it was abundantly clear that Zakoda was not phased by the bright lights of Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Zaskoda pitched a gem. He held the potent Texas A&M offense to a first inning single, their only hit against him in 5.1 innings while striking out four and walking four. Most importantly, he kept the maroon and white off the scoreboard,
The offense did their part, manufacturing a crucial run in the fourth inning. Guy Garibay signled and stole stolen base. A throwing error got him to third, where Cade Edwards drove him in with a sacrifice fly.
Rice would add a necessary insurance run in the top of the ninth when Hal Hughes drove in Connor Walsh in the top of the ninth. Texas A&M would get one run back via the long ball in the ninth, but Rice held on to win 2-1.
What it means
This was the first win for Rice over Texas A&M under head coach Matt Bragga. The Owls ended the 2020 season prematurely following a midweek loss to the Aggies at Reckling Park. They fell to Texas A&M on the road in 2019 in Bragga’s first season at the helm in Houston.
When Rice is at its best, the Owls have gone toe-to-toe with every other program in the state. Trading blows with the Aggies and the Longhorns is an important measuring stick for what the Owls’ hope is an upward trajectory. So far, so good. Rice plays Texas in Austin in their last game of the regular season.
ON DECK | UTSA
Rice baseball returns home this weekend to kick off their conference schedule against UTSA. This will mark the first of a series of four-game sets against the same team. Rice also has a return trip to San Antonio on the calendar for a second series in late April.