Rice Baseball was swept for the third consecutive weekend, this time falling in three games to Western Kentucky on the road.
FRIDAY | WKU 5 – Rice 4 (10 inn.)
Rice baseball ace Parker Smith was met with a forceful greeting on Friday night in Bowling Green, allowing four runs in the first two innings, more than he typically allows over the course of a full start. Even with the rocky beginning, though, Smith settled in and was able to pitch into the eighth, allowing no further runs as he waited for the offense to arrive.
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The Owls got on the board for the first time in the fifth, using three doubles to score three runs, followed a frame later by a solo home run from Drew Holderbach to even the score. Smith left without a decision, but the game was within reach. He had done his job. Justin Long would be less fortunate. He pitched a scoreless remainder of the eighth and a flawless ninth before WKU walked it off against him in the tenth.
SATURDAY | WKU 10 – Rice 2
With JD McCracken on the bump, Rice and WKU moved quickly through a pitching-centric game in the early goings on Saturday. Both starters had allowed just one run through four innings and it wasn’t until McCracken ran into some trouble in the fifth that the bats on either side began to wake up. McCracken would battle through another two innings, leaving in the seventh in a one-rune game.
Jack Ben-Shoshan was called upon for just one batter — he walked him — before handing the ball to Krishna Raj. That would turn out to be a fateful decision. Raj was handed the disservice of entering the game with the bases loaded an no outs, but he was pelted to the tune of seven runs (four charged to him) as Rice fell behind 10-2. That would be the eventual final score.
SUNDAY | WKU 5 – Rice 2
Rice struck first in the finale on a Guy Garibay RBI single in the top of the second, but the lead was short-lived. WKU took the lead back in the bottom of the inning, scoring twice. The Hilltoppers added single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to cautiously extender their advantage. Much of those insurance runs would prove unneeded.
Jack Riedel, who saw his 16-game hit streak snapped, delivered an RBI groundout in the top of the seventh, scoring the Owls’ only other run of the afternoon. Rice simply had no answer for WKU hurler Dawson Hall who earned the win with six innings of one-run ball, tallying as many strikeouts (five) as hits allowed.
THREE FOR THE ROAD
Rice baseball couldn’t afford to be swept this weekend, but they were handed three-straight losses nonetheless. Here are three takeaways from a tough weekend on the road.
1. Fast start fizzles again
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