Rice baseball dropped a slugfest to Texas A&M Corpus Christi, the Owls’ first loss to the Islanders in 21 games between the two programs.
For the first time in program history, Rice baseball fell to Texas A&M Corpus Christ on the diamond. The Owls pushed the Islanders to the brink, but were unable to keep pace with the visiting bats, falling by a final score of 12-10.
It was apparent from the start it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing for either pitching staff. Texas A&M Corpus Christi would use eight pitchers. Rice used six. Of those 14 hurlers who took the mound at Reckling Park on Wednesday night, only five left without at least one earned run charged to their ledger.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi struck first with one run in the second. Rice responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. Then the Islanders took it back as the seesawing began.
From the bottom of the fifth inning through the top of the eighth, at least one run was scored in each consecutive half inning. Both teams traded leads through that period before Texas A&M Corpus Christi broke things open with a five-run eighth inning which featured four extra-base hits.
Despite the five-run deficit, Rice would threaten in the ninth before a double-play ball stranded the tying run on second base.
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It’s hard to fault the bats for not doing enough on a night when they managed 10 runs on 13 hits. The Rice defense played relatively well too, committing one error as they welcomed surehanded fielder Hal Hughes back to the lineup for the first time this season. The pitching, however, continues to be an adventure.
Brandon Deskins was productive, working 3.2 innings of 2-run ball, allowing his first home run of the season. Outside of that and a 1-2-3 inning from Reed Gallant in the ninth, Rice struggled to get outs, even when they handed the ball to their most reliable relievers.
Tom Vincent, Christian Cienfuegos and David Shaw combined to allow nine hits and seven earned runs in 2.0 innings of work. Bad days happen for every pitcher, but stringing three bad days together is usually indicative of a bigger problem. If Rice wants to be competitive in Conference USA, they’ve got to find more consistency on the mound.