The Rice Owls continued their impressive Houston College Classic showing with a 8-3 defeat of the Baylor Bears Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park. Freshman lefty Taylor Wall picked up the win for the Owls, working six and a third innings with eight strikeouts and only allowing three hits and one run. Baylor starter Craig Fritsch was strapped with the loss after being touched for six runs, four earned, in five innings pitched.
Rice hung a three spot in the bottom of the second to jump on top. The inning started with an Anthony Rendon walk, and a Fritsch balk advanced him to second. A Jess Buenger single through the right side scored Rendon. Steven Sultzbaugh then singled and gave the Owls runners on the corners. A two-out error by Baylor short stop Joey Hainsfurther allowed Buenger to score and gave the Owls runners on first and second. Dylan Holt then singled home Sultzbaugh to give Rice a 3-0 lead before Chad Mozingo grounded out to end the inning.
A leadoff walk to Landis Ware followed by a Brooks Pinckard bunt single gave Baylor runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the third. Shaver Hansen reached first on a fielder’s choice and Ware was thrown out at third. Hainsfurther then hit a sharp line drive base hit to center to score Pinckard from second.
The score would remain 3-1 in favor of Rice until the bottom of the fifth. Jimmy Comerota started the inning for the Owls with a single up the middle. A walk to Mozingo provided Rice with runners on first and second. With two outs, Rendon stepped into a pitch and drove it out of the park for a three run homerun.
Rice would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh to take an 8-1 lead. Rendon drove home Holt on a sacrifice fly to center field, and a Rick Hague line drive to left scored Mozingo.
Baylor would add two runs in the top of the eighth when Hainsfurther doubled down the left field line to score Hansen from second. Hainsfurther was then singled home by pinch hitter Brooks Kimmey. That would cut the Rice lead to 8-3, but that would be all the scoring the game would see.
Rice finished the Houston College Classic at 3-0, with wins over UCLA, Texas A&M, and Baylor. Baylor finished the weekend 2-1 with wins over Houston, UCLA and a loss to Rice.
Rice Saturday night starter Ryan Berry was named Houston College Classic’s Most Valuable Player after throwing a complete game two hit shutout with twelve strikeouts against Texas A&M.
Rice gets back to action on Tuesday night when they travel to Sam Houston State for a mid-week clash with the Bearkats. Baylor will travel to Fort Worth Wednesday to take on TCU.