CBB Visit: Texas at Rice on October 26

Matt Evers in action on Sunday (Property of CBB)
Matt Evers in action on Sunday (Property of CBB)
The Rice Owls downed the Texas Longhorns 13-6 at Reckling Park on Sunday. The 14 inning exhibition game win brings Rice to 3-0 for the Fall campaign and drops Texas to 1-2.

The game pitted two freshman pitchers against each other, as Taylor Wall got the nod for the Rice Owls and Taylor Jungmann started the game for the Texas Longhorns. Wall pitched a scoreless first inning, striking out 2 Longhorn hitters. The Owls got off to a quick start in the bottom of the first inning against Jungmann with a leadoff single from second baseman Brock Holt. Holt advanced to second on a ball in the dirt and scored on a Chad Mozingo single to right field. Mozingo would then steal second and cross home plate on a Diego Seastrunk single to left center field.

The Longhorns evened it up in the top of the second inning when Tant Shepherd drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a Kevin Keyes double to left field. David Hernandez would then hit a lined shot off the leg of Tyler Wall to load the bases with no outs. An infield single by Kevin Lusson drove home Shepherd and a bases loaded walk of Brandon Loy tied the game. Wall finished the day with 2 innings pitched allowing four hits, issuing two walks, two earned runs, and striking out two.

The Owls would answer in the bottom of the second inning as they plated seven runs against Jungmann. The flood of runs started with a Jeremy Rathjen single to left field followed by a steal of second base. Holt would drive him home with an RBI single to center field. Jimmy Comerota walked pushing Holt to second base. Holt came home to score and Comerota advanced to third on a Mozingo base hit to make the score 4-2 in favor of the Owls. A Jungmann balk plated Comerota and sent Mozingo to second. He would come around to score on a base hit by Anthony Rendon. Rendon advanced to second on the throw home and came home on a line drive base hit to center field by Seastrunk which made the score 7-2 in favor of Rice. Steven Sultzbaugh would bring Seastrunk all the way around to score on a triple to the gap in right center, and the second balk of the inning by Jungmann plated him and rounded out the scoring in the second inning for the Owls. Jungmann’s two inning stat line was nine hits, two walks, one strikeout and nine earned runs.

Ryan Berry relieved Wall and pitched three shutout innings for the Owls, allowing only two base runners on the day. Keith Shinaberry pitched a scoreless third inning for the Longhorns. Cole Green took over for Shinaberry in the fourth inning. The Owls got a single from Rendon with one out in the fourth followed by a RBI double from Seastrunk to stretch the lead to 10-2. Seastrunk advanced to third on a Sultzbaugh groundout and scored the Owls’ eleventh run on a wild pitch by Green. Green rebounded in the fifth inning, retiring the Owls in order.

Mike Ojala worked two scoreless innings for the Owls, followed by two scoreless innings from Matt Evers. Brandon Workman worked two scoreless innings for the Longhorns, and Stayton Thomas relieved him with a scoreless eighth inning. Austin Wood toed the rubber for the Longhorns in the ninth inning and threw three shutout innings, allowing no hits and striking out two.

The Longhorns scratched two more runs in the top of the tenth inning. Zack Harwood stepped to the mound for Rice and Loy lead off the inning with a single to right field and stole second base. A throwing error on a Travis Tucker groundball moved Loy to third and Tucker to second with nobody out. Michael Torres followed with an RBI groundout to first base to give Texas its third run of the game and advance Tucker to third base. Brandon Belt then hit a sacrifice fly to left field to tack on the fourth run of the game for the Longhorns.

The score would remain 11-4 Rice as Harwood worked a scoreless eleventh followed by a quick shutout frame from freshman Andrew Benak. Chance Ruffin took over for Wood to start the twelfth inning for the Longhorns, and the scoring wouldn’t resume for either team until the thirteenth inning. In the thirteenth, Rice freshman Anthony Fazio worked out of a two out jam to hold the Longhorns to no runs. The Owls were able to post two more runs in the bottom half of the inning against Ruffin when Comerota lead off with a single followed by a stolen base. Jess Buenger drew a walk to give the Owls runners on first and second with no outs. A pass ball moved the runners to second and third, and Craig Manuel picked up a two RBI base hit to right field.

Texas was able to pick up two more runs in the top half of the fourteenth inning to bring the final tally to 13-6 in favor of the Rice Owls.

Both squads wrap up their fall baseball action next weekend as Texas takes on Texas State Sunday at Disch-Falk Field and Rice hosts McNeese State Saturday at Reckling Park.

You can check out our pictures from the game below.


  • http://thecollegebaseballblog.com Brian Foley

    Great stuff Colin.

    Do you think Tulane or someone else will knock off the Owls in Conference USA?

  • waltgreenberg

    Brian, is that wishful thinking? IMO, despite considerable losses from last year’s team (Luna, Gayhart, Padron, Zornes, St.Clair, Bell, Price, Dodson), I honestly believe the ’09 version of the Owls will be an all-around stronger team– superior defense, far superior baserunning, superior starting pitching and an offense that should be at least on par with last year’s edition. Yes, the bullpen will be a work in progress, with the exception of Soph Matt Evers (who moves into the closer role), but there are more than enough talented arms ready to step up, including a couple true Freshmen (Benak, Fazio) and several other previous redshirts (Hamilton, Harwood, Haynes).

    As for C-USA, I’d give the early nod to Eastern Carolina as our stiffest competition. Tulane, USM and Houston should all be Top 40 calibre and jockeying for post-season positioning…and I expect continued improvement from Marshall, UAB, UCF and Memphis. Tulane and USM both need to find pitching beyond their Friday starter (especially after losing their two aces in Shooter Hunt and Bowden), but both should have solid offenses; whereas Houston could have the second best pitching staff in the conference, but can they replace their considerable losses on offense (Pound, Stewart, Cesario).

  • http://thecollegebaseballblog.com Brian Foley

    I am just trying to figure out who would be the Owls toughest competition this season.

  • Colin Weber

    I would still have Rice as a heavy favorite in Con-USA this year. With the return of Ryan Berry and Mike Ojala in the weekend rotation, the Owls will have a very strong weekend rotation. As walt mentioned, the bullpen would be the question mark as there are a lot of unproven arms (but definitely some talent). The conference schedule doesn’t set up very well for the Owls this year as they have to hit the road to play against three of the top four other teams in the coference, travelling to Southern Miss, East Carolina, and cross-town rival Houston. They do catch Tulane at home this season. I could see the Owls dropping a series or two with a tougher road schedule, but I expect Wayne Graham to win another conference championship and have a strong post-season team.

    The key to Rice’s season is solidifying the bullpen and getting big contributions from several new faces – JUCO transfers Sultzbaugh (CF) and Holt (2B) and freshmen Wall (P), Rendon (3B), and Rathjen (OF). Keeping Buenger (DH) healthy will also boost the Rice offense.

  • http://thecollegebaseballblog.com Brian Foley

    I am hearing alot about this Holt kid…Is he related to the one at Florida State?

  • waltgreenberg

    Colin, nice assessment, though you do realize that two years ago the Owls won 8 of 9 road games vs. ECU, USM and UH. To give you an idea just how good the Owls defense could be this season (and Wayne Graham is already calling it the best defense since the 2003 championship team), the infield will be fielded by 5 high school SSs (Rendon 3B, Holt 2B, Hague SS, Comerota/Buenger 1B), all of whom had excellent defensive reputations. As for the OF, I’m not sure anyone in college baseball will have more speed and range than Rathjen, Sultzbaugh and Mozingo, and all of above average arms.