Rice Baseball started fast, but couldn’t hold on, falling to Texas A&M for the third time on the season in as many games.
Rice baseball couldn’t have asked for much of a better start to their midweek tilt against Texas A&M. Benjamin Rosengard mashed a leadoff home run to put the Owls in front 1-0. Drew Holderbach followed two innings later with a two-run blast, spotting the road team a 3-0 lead entering the bottom half of the inning. The lead would not last.
Texas A&M drove Rice starter Garrett Zaskoda from the game in the fourth, connecting on four consecutive extra-base hits to tie the game in the process. A pickoff attempt gone awry by Cristian Cienfuegos in the following frame would allow the Aggies to go ahead, an advantage they’d lengthen as the game progressed.
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Texas A&M added an insurance run in the sixth and two more in the eighth, all via the long ball. Trailing by four in the ninth, Rice snapped out of their offensive funk. Ben Royo hit the game’s fifth home run, getting Rice within two. Then Guy Garibay, with a runner on, deposited a ball over the right-center fence to tie the game.
Rice went to Justin Long in the ninth, proof of their desire to find a way to win. A walk followed by two softly hit balls in the infield loaded the bases, setting up the Aggies for a walk-off win which would come via a hit by pitch. For the third time this season, Rice fell to Texas A&M.
What it means | Cienfuegos joins the circle of trust
At this point, it seems unrealistic to expect Rice baseball to solidify a singular midweek starter for the season. It’s fairly obvious that head coach Jose Cruz Jr. and pitching coach Parker Bangs are willing to mix and match as they work to narrow down their pecking order on the mound. This time around, it was Cristian Cienfuegos that turned heads.
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Cienfuegos stranded the would-be go-ahead runner on third base on his way to 2.2 strong innings with three strikeouts. He did allow one run (unearned) on a sequence that felt like a halfhearted throw to second that was blocked by the base runner. This was his third consecutive quality outing in a row and it probably should earn him a relief opportunity this coming weekend.
ON DECK | vs UTSA (Fri-Sun)
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