Texas dropped the first game of the four game series 2-3. Post game, head coach David Pierce preached to the team about having a short memory, as the Longhorns have a double header the next day against the Rice Owls.
It was a hard fought pitcherâ€™s duel through most of the first 6 innings. Texas pitcher Morgan Cooper was on fire through the first 5 innings, throwing 67 pitches (46 strikes) and recording 6 Kâ€™s. But the Longhorns couldnâ€™t help Cooper’s effort as they struggled for hits against Riceâ€™s veteran thrower Dane Myers â€“ who recorded the longest outing of his career with 90 pitches (50 strikes and 3 Kâ€™s). After that Cooper threw 20 more pitches (12 strikes) before he was relieved by sophmore RHP Nolan Kingham.
Texas led 1-0 in the 6th inning off a sacrifice fly from Kacy Clemens, but Rice scored two off a double that flew over the head of a diving Travis Jones in left field. The Longhorns responded with a run of their own off a Kody Clemens’ shot to right field.
After the 6th Kingham came in with a strong performance, hitting 97 mph and retiring the first 7 batters he faced. But the game slipped through his fingers as he allowed one run off of one hit. Notch an assist on that run off a passed ball from Michael Cantu and a questionable call by the home plate umpire to allow the run to cross (when the ball had hit the Rice batter DiCaprio on the foot in the batterâ€™s box). Once it hit DiCaprioâ€™s foot (which was blatant), it shouldâ€™ve been a foul ball and DiCaprio back in the box with a 2-2 count.
Instead Rice won the game off that run.
Texas couldnâ€™t get manufacture another run after that, despite having runners in scoring position. In fact, Texas had a hard time with RISP. The Longhorns stranded 5 runners in this game, one on 3rd and two on 2nd. Freshman Ryan Reynolds accounted for 3 of those stranded runners and the other two were given to the other Freshman, Austin Todd.
Rice had their struggles at the plate as well. They just couldnâ€™t put metal to ball as 8 of their 8 strike outs were made swinging at air. The Texas pitchers came right at the Rice batters as well. Morgan Cooper recorded 17-24 first pitch strikes and Nolan Kingham record 8-10 first pitch strikes.
Stars of the game: Freshman David Hamilton and Sophomore Kody Clemens
Hamilton, who made two spectacular defensive plays consisting of one back handed grab and long toss to first for an out and another bullet to on another long throw to first.
David Pierce had high remarks for Hamilton, “He was outstanding… Not just okay. He was excellent tonight… He’s a kid who’s going to have some range that other don’t.”
Kody Clemens had a hot night at the plate, notching the Hornsâ€™ second run off the homerun and tallying a single. Kody was very excited about the new strategy at the plate by the new staff stating, “I loved it! We just have a better opportunity to swing the bat.”
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