The Rice baseball bullpen stood stall, collectively holding Sam Houston at bay to earn a series sweep of the Bearkats this season.
For the second time this season, Rice baseball notched a victory over Sam Houston. The Owls entered the game as winners of one of their last nine and left Hunstville with one of their more well-rounded performances of the season.
Hot-hitting Jack Riedel opened the game with a double to right-center field before he and Guy Garibay (who had walked) were driven in by Aaron Smigelski who smoked a ball down the right-field line for a double of his own. Staked to a 2-0 lead, Rice trusted their bullpen to piece together enough outs for the midweek win.
Last Time Out : Takeaways from Rice baseball sweep by LA Tech
Mark Perkins got the start and went two and two-thirds innings, allowing the only run of the night surrendered by Rice pitching on a double to the last batter he faced in the game. After he exited in the third inning, a combination of David Shaw, Roel Garcia, Brandon Deskins and Matthew Linskey combined for 10 strikeouts and just three hits over the remaining six and one-third innings.
Shaw was credited with the win. He left the game after the fifth inning with a 3-1 lead, a score which would endure for several more frames before Hal Hughes added two more insurance runs on a double in the top of the eighth. Rice would go on to win 5-1.
What it means | Beating good baseball teams
Sam Houston is a good baseball team. The Bearkats entered the game 12-4 at home and 19-12 overall with wins over Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas State. Anything can happen in a midweek game in April — college baseball is known for its oddities — but the Owls’ win didn’t feel fluky at all, especially considering this is the second time this season Rice has beaten Sam Houston.
The rest of the Owls’ list of victories might not look as impressive on paper. Rice was blasted by Baylor earlier this season and has been swept in back-to-back weekends by some of the better teams in Conference USA. When the competition has been at its best, this team has struggled. And that’s what makes wins like this one more meaningful.
“I think this is the best game overall we’ve had all year, from top to bottom” head coach Jose Cruz Jr. said.
If you can beat good teams, you can beat anyone. Doing it consistently separates the good from the great. Rice baseball still has a ways to go to reach that mark, but they did all they could control tonight. They’ll get three more games this weekend against another good baseball team in UTSA. If they’ve really turned a corner they’ll have another chance to put that on display soon.
ON DECK | vs UTSA (Fri-Sun)
Subscribe on Patreon for exclusive Rice football recruiting updates, practice notes and more.