The Longhorns beat Rice 11-4 on a cold, wet Tuesday night at Reckling Park in Houston as part of their opening slate of road games this season.
Rice attempted to stop a powerful Texas offense with four different pitchers, but the combined effort fell short as the Owls allowed 13 hits and 10 RBIs.
“We came out here ready to go, and we understood that after this game we could get a little rest,” head coach David Pierce said in a postgame interview with Texas Sports. “The intent was to road trip and get back home.”
Texas initially fell down, 1-0, after an unearned single in the bottom of the second inning. But the Longhorns rode a string of successful at-bats to close the gap in the third.
The third inning brought five runs on four hits for Texas. After two walks put shortstop Bryce Reagan and center fielder Duke Ellis on base, outfielder Eric Kennedy materialized with an RBI single that brought Reagan home. After the 1-1 tie, designated hitter Zach Zubia came back from a two-out deficit with an RBI single that gave Texas a 2-1 lead.
Catcher DJ Petrinsky later secured the 5-1 lead with a three-run triple after hitting a bullet into right field for one of his two hits of the night.
“We put some at-bats together, back to back, and we had some quality at-bats,” Pierce said. “Just a very good night for us in a wet, nasty condition, but we got the win.”
The scoring barrage extended into the fourth inning when the Longhorns made it an 8-1 lead after a three-run, three-hit inning.
Defensively, the Longhorns were strong throughout with only a few, quickly corrected issues.
Pitcher Ty Madden had a solid two innings before falling apart in the bottom of the third. A wild pitch, which placed a Rice batter on first, snowballed into a bases-loaded situation after two walks.
“I felt like Ty did a good job early and just getting out there. We have so many good, young arms and we got to get them out there,” Pierce said.
With the Owls looking to cut into the Longhorns’ lead, pitcher Beau Ridgeway held off the effort and struck out the following batter.
But pitching issues returned in the bottom of the fifth when Ridgeway gave up three runs on three hits and put the score at 8-4. Replaced by pitcher Cole Quintanilla, he assisted the remaining two outs.
“Cole was outstanding, he looked like he has been out there,” Pierce said.
Quintanilla’s time on the mound opened the door for Zubia to continue his successful day, hitting a solo home run that gave Texas its ninth run. The last run of the night came in the ninth inning with an RBI single by pinch hitter Tate Shaw.
With an early 3–1 record, the Longhorns could build on their strong start with a three-game series against the 0–3 Purdue Boilermakers beginning Friday.
“It’s a tough stretch,” Pierce said. “What we’ve got to do is start a little later in our practice tomorrow, only go a couple of hours, and really we’re looking at some of our coverages and calls and being sharp with that. Then, a regular Thursday getting ready for Purdue.”