Rice Baseball got several leads, but couldn’t hold any of them, leaving opening weekend without a win in a three-game series with Notre Dame.
FRIDAY | Notre Dame 3 – Rice 1
Seven strikeouts through four-plus innings is typically indicative of an encouraging start, but that wasn’t the case this time for Rice baseball ace Parker Smith on Friday night. The righty struggled with command, dancing through danger in every inning but the third because of two hit batters, four walks and a couple of defensive errors behind him.
Smith left in the fifth inning, earning the loss after Jack Ben-Shoshan was unable to keep a pair of inherited runners from scoring. Davion Hickson would deliver a sterling, four-inning, hitless performance, but it wasn’t enough. Rice managed just one run, credited to Nathan Becker on an RBI single in the very first inning.
SATURDAY | Notre Dame 9 – Rice 5
Jack Riedel got the scoring going on Saturday, earning the first of two RBI on a solo home run in the first inning. JD McCracken did his part on the mound, holding Notre Dame to three runs (two earned) through 5.1 innings before handing the ball to Tyler Hamilton in relief. The Owls held a 4-3 lead at that point and kept the score there through seven innings before disaster struck.
Hamilton was tagged for two home runs which gave the Irish the lead. It was Garrett Stratton who came on next, but he registered just one out before being forced from the game. And just like that, a 4-3 Rice lead became a 9-4 deficit entering the ninth as the bullpen failed to hold on in the final innings.
SUNDAY | Notre Dame 13 – Rice 10
The ball was flying all over the yard on Sunday, beginning in the opening inning with a two-run shot off the bat from Pierce Gallo to give the Owls a 2-0 lead which miraculously persisted into the third inning despite five walks and a hit batsman from Rice starter Jackson Mayo who lasted just two innings.
Rice looked to have claimed a commanding lead in the sixth on a three-run bomb by Jack Riedel, but the Owls’ bullpen crumbled quickly soon afterward, allowing a five-run inning from the Irish and coughing up the lead. Trailing 8-7 in the eighth, Rice managed to even the score, but Notre Dame responded with a crushing five-run ninth to secure the series sweep.
THREE FOR THE ROAD
Rice baseball leaves opening weekend without a win. A series sweep will always sting, especially when the Owls were within striking distance in each contest. Here are three takeaways from a tough weekend at home.
1. Free passes and hit batsmen loom large
ON DECK | vs Sam Houston (Tues), at Louisiana (Fri-Sun)
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