The offense exploded and the pitching was crisp for Rice baseball as the Owls cruised to a comfortable midweek win over SFA.
Rice baseball wasted no time in their first of two midweek games this week, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning off a Jack Riedel RBI single. The Owls’ opponent, SFA, would answer with a pair off runs from a pair of extra-base hits in the second inning, but that was their only real offensive contributions of the evening against Rice starter Brandon Deskins
Deskins would go 4.0 innings, allowing just two hits and two runs while striking out seven. His command wasn’t perfect — three walks, one hit by pitch, and one wild pitch — but he didn’t have to be with how the Owls were swinging the bats behind him.
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Guy Garibay gave Deskins plenty of breathing room with a Grand Slam in the bottom of the second inning. Garibay had another RBI on a single to right field in the fourth, followed by an Aaron Smigelski homer to give Rice a 9-2 advantage.
From there, Deskins would give way to Mark Perkins, who would do his part in keeping SFA at bay. Meanwhile, the offense added eight more runs in the fifth to break the game wide open, including the Owls’ second Grand Slam of the night, this time courtesy of Nathan Becker. By the time the dust settled, Rice had a runaway, 19-3 victory.
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Even though Rice baseball lost all three games against Texas Tech this past weekend, head coach Jose Cruz Jr. could sense a change in his ball club. “The last couple days have been different,” he said, referring to the two final games against the Red Raiders, both of which were well within reach following a one-sided Fright night affair.
“Everything is starting to fall into place at the right time,” Cruz Jr. continued. “Especially since conference is about start.”
Rice wouldn’t even have to wait for conference play, thumping SFA in their most decisive victory of the season. The offense was great. The pitching was great. Even the defense, which had just turned in its first error-free game of the season on Sunday, was sturdy. Everything was in sync.
One win won’t guarantee the Owls anything. There was no magic button pressed or formula concocted. But they do look different. They feel different. Perhaps something has clicked and they’ve found that missing component that will enable them to play better baseball. That makes the next few days all the more interesting with Sam Houston and UAB up next.
ON DECK | Sam Houston, UAB
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