Rice Baseball earned their second straight weekend sweep, this time taking all three games in their conference opening series at UAB.
FRIDAY | Rice 8 – UAB 1
Connor Walsh got the party started with a three-run bast over the left field wall in the third inning to give starter Parker Smith some breathing room on the road. UAB would scratch across a run in the fifth on a single, but that would be the only damage ceded by the Rice pitching staff on the day.
Leading 3-1 after seven, the Rice bats provided some extra insurance runs in the eighth and ninth. Graiden West picked up his first career hit, contributing to late inning boon. Manny Garza had RBI in both frames and Benjamin Rosengard and Walsh (again) drove in one apiece to round out the parade. Altogether Rice entered the bottom of the ninth with a commanding 8-1 lead and won by the same score.
SATURDAY | Rice 2 – UAB 1
JD McCracken earned the Saturday start and tossed a strong 4.1 innings of one-run ball, striking out five before ceding his turn on the mound to Justin Long who continued the impressive pitching run. He worked 3.2 scoreless innings and was credited with the win, thanks to an RBI single from Drew Holderbach in the seventh that broke an early 1-1 stalemate that had persisted since the third inning.
Krishna Raj was called upon to close out the game in the ninth. He allowed one walk, but struck out two, collecting his second save of the season and his first of the weekend.
SUNDAY| Rice 3 – UAB 1 (10 inn.)
Unlike most getaway days, this Sunday affair was a low-scoring slugfest that echoed Saturday’s nailbiter. It was UAB who took the early lead this time, chasing Rice starter Blake Brogdon from the game in the second inning and driving in the first run off Tom Vincent that same inning, although the blame lies on Brogdon’s box score.
Down 1-0 for most of the game, Rice finally had their chance in the seventh. Max Johnson drew a leadoff walk then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ben Royo moved him to third on a single to left field before Pierce Gallo’s sac-fly tied the game. The game would stay knotted at 1-1 until the 10th when Rice delivered the game-winning run courtesy of an RBI single from Manny Garza before he came around to add one more insurance run to secure the sweep.
THREE FOR THE ROAD
Rice baseball has now swept consecutive weekend series, something they never accomplished last season. It was also the Owls’ first series sweep to open conference play since 2015. Here are a few takeaways from the weekend.
1. Being elite in one thing
ON DECK | at Texas A&M (Tues), vs UTSA (Fri-Sun)
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