Rice Baseball posted an impressive low-scoring win against Sam Houston on Wednesday, silencing a powerful Sam Houston offense at Reckling Park.
Connor Walsh took advantage of his promotion to the top of the lineup on Wednesday evening, lifting a 2-1 pitch to left center and racing around the infield for a leadoff triple. He came in to score two batters later, courtesy of a single to right field by Jack Riedel, giving Rice an early 1-0 lead.
Last Time Out : Rice Baseball steals finale in series loss to Louisiana
That 1-0 lead would hold for some time thanks to some fantastic pitching performances from the Rice side. Mauricio Rodriguez got the start and went 3.1 innings of scoreless action, striking out three while allowing three hits and no walks. Krishna Raj came in to relieve him in the fourth, finishing that frame and the next inning without allowing a run. He would give way to JD McCracken, who worked around a double to keep Sam Houston off the board in the sixth.
McCracken had more magic in store in the seventh. After he overthrew first base and allowed the first SHSU hitter to reach via error he would come back and gun that same runner down at the plate two batters later. Then, after loading the bases on a single and hit-by-pitch, he would escape again, coaxing a soft groundout to second.
Rice was finally able to exhale ever so slightly when Guy Garibay blasted this opposite-field home run in the eighth, putting the home team up 3-0. Sam Houston would get their only run in the ninth inning, but Garibay’s cushion would be enough to keep Rice ahead.
That's our GUY!! Owls up 3-0!! pic.twitter.com/qYGfQcbzjN
— Rice Baseball (@RiceBaseball) February 23, 2023
What it means | Pitchers not named Smith
Parker Smith delivered a quality start on Friday night against Louisiana. The Owls’ No. 1 arm had a No.1 type performance, far and away the biggest pitching performance the Owls had on opening weekend. Smith isn’t infallible. He will have some rough outings, everyone does. But what’s most important for Rice baseball right now is to find the guys *not* named Parker Smith who can deliver quality outings.
Names to Know : Under the radar Rice Baseball players for the 2023 season
They might have found some answers on Wednesday night. Rodriguez, Raj and McCracken were all excellent in relief, bouncing back from lesser performances on opening weekend with a strong showing in the midweek game. These were three of the more high-profile transfers added to the roster this season. They’ve been penciled in as key contributors for months now. Seeing them live up to the billing was important, for them personally and the coaching staff.
To do what they did against Sam Houston was particularly impressive. The Bearkats had just put up 43 runs in their last 16 innings. They scored once in nine innings against Rice, and neither Smith nor ace reliever Matthew Linskey threw a pitch.
ON DECK | at Stanford (Fri-Sun)
Subscribe on Patreon for exclusive Rice football recruiting updates, practice notes and more.