Rice Baseball was unable to overcome a costly early error, dropping the game and the Silver Glove Series to Houston on Wednesday night.
Winners of their last two midweek games, Rice baseball saw that streak come to an end on Wednesday night against the Houston Cougars. After a scoreless first inning, both teams traded runs in the second. The modest start continued into the third, but after Owls’ reliever Garret Zaskoda collected two quick outs, a fateful error extended the inning.
Last Time Out : Rice baseball battles back to take two of three vs WKU
Instead of heading back to the dugout in a tied, 1-1 game, things began to unravel. The next three Houston batters reached base, including a two-run double followed by a two-run home run. Instead of a close game, Rice found themselves trailing 5-1 after three innings.
Having dropped the first game of the series in March, the Silver Glove was at stake and Rice was already in a sizable hole.
Houston would extend their lead with a run in the fourth. Rice got that one back in the sixth but would go on to leave eight runners on base throughout the course of the game. The big hit that Houston collected would go on to evade Rice. The Cougars had five two-out RBI. Rice had one. That alone would prove to be the difference on Wednesday night.
What it means | Focus back on C-USA
For better or worse, Rice baseball can now fully turn its attention to conference play. The Silver Glove was the last non-conference achievement the Owls had to look toward this season, two-midweek games against Louisiana notwithstanding. If Rice wants to make the Conference USA Baseball Tournament, they have to win and win a lot in their final nine conference games.
What does that look like, from a practical standpoint, head coach Jose Cruz Jr. was crystal clear regarding just how sizable the task at hand will be. “We’re basically gonna have to win every series to even have a chance,” he said. “We need at least need six wins. If we can get a seventh that’d be even better.”
Every team talks about turning the page and moving on to the next game. This time, more than ever, Rice needs to be locked in and ready to go when they make the trip to Charlotte this weekend.
ON DECK | at Charlotte
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