Rice Baseball went toe-to-toe with league-leading UTSA and while the Owls lost the series, they measured up well against the Roadrunners.
FRIDAY | UTSA 4 – Rice 3 (11 inn.)
It didn’t seem like it would turn into a pitcher’s dual on Friday afternoon following an exchange of two-run home runs by each starter in the first inning, but that’s where the game went following Guy Garibay’s game-tying blast over the right field wall. Parker Smith would settle in from that point onward, finishing with three runs allowed (two earned) and six strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched.
The unearned run would prove to be costly, though. Smith committed an error on a leadoff bunt single, allowing the runner to advance to second. Then he came in to score shortly after on a wild pitch. Trailing 3-2, Rice baseball would rally to tie the score in the ninth on a pinch-hit single by Paul Smith before ultimately falling in the 11th inning.
SATURDAY | Rice 13 – UTSA 8
After a modest start at the plate for both squads, the bats came out swinging in earnest on Saturday. The teams combined for six runs in the second inning, with Garibay starting the hit parade for the Owls with a home run with Manny Garza and Benjamin Rosengard collecting RBI in the inning as well. UTSA would punch back to briefly take a 5-4 lead before the Owls’ offense exploded again.
Rice baseball struck for five runs in the fifth with two RBI from Garza and three from Paul Smith on a home run. The nine runs would be enough, but the Owls would add two runs each in the seventh and eighth innings for good measure, hanging on to win 13-8 and force a rubber game on Sunday.
SUNDAY| UTSA 6 – Rice 5
UTSA struck for two runs in the second inning against Rice starter Tom Vincent, signally another game that would require run production to win. Rice responded immediately afterward, taking the lead on back-to-back home runs by Aaron Smigelski and Ben Royo, on consecutive pitches, no less. UTSA answered with a two-run shot in the third to go up 4-3 and the game was on.
Another home run, this time by Connor Walsh, evened the score at five in the sixth inning where the margin remained until UTSA came through with a two-out double to right-center in the eighth, going ahead for good. Rice would not reach base in either of their final two frames, dropping the game and the series on Sunday afternoon.
THREE FOR THE ROAD
Rice baseball has dropped their three-game series with UTSA two games to one, narrowly losing out on the chance to win a series against the best team in Conference USA. Even in defeat, the Owls acquitted themselves well and proved they belong near the top of the standings in a variety of ways. Here are a few takeaways from the weekend.
1. Game On
ON DECK | at Lamar (Tues), at FAU (Fri-Sun)
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