Sixth-ranked Texas launches fierce rally in sixth to split series with No. 15 Rice
HOUSTON -- Freshman Michael McCann laced a two-out, run-scoring double to break a 3-3 tie in the top of the 10th inning, lifting No. 6 Texas past No. 15 Rice 4-3 Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park.
McCann's double came during a rally that started when Tres Barrera drew a two-out walk and Bret Boswell followed with a single up the middle. McCann swung at the first pitch he saw, driving a fastball down the left field line to bring in Barrera.
Freshman pitcher Kyle Johnston came on in the bottom of the 10th with a runner on second and one out to close it out. After issuing a walk to the first batter he faced, Johnston got a fielder's choice and then struck out pinch hitter Blake Fox to end it.
The win salvaged a series split for the Longhorns (2-2), who rallied from deficits in both of their victories.
Down 3-0 after six innings, Texas tied it up in the seventh. With two on and two out, Ben Johnson came to the plate and laced a ball to right field that was misplayed, going under the glove of Charlie Warren and all the way to the wall. That allowed both runners to score and Johnson to reach third base.
After Rice went to the bullpen for left-hander Austin Solecitto, the Longhorns countered with pinch-hitter C.J Hinojosa, who ripped a single to center field to score Johnson and tie the score at 3-3.
The game remained tied the final two innings, with Texas again receiving great pitching from the bullpen. Lefties Kirby Bellow and Ty Culbreth combined with Johnston for 5 1/3 scoreless innings. In the series, the bullpen allowed just two runs in 18 innings of work.
Starting pitcher Chad Hollingsworth opened the game with four scoreless innings including retiring the side in order in the third and fourth. He worked out of trouble in the first two innings, getting a 4-6-3 double play in the first and stranding a pair of Owls in the second.
Rice broke through in the fifth, however, loading the bases after two singles, a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk. Ford Stainback drove in the game's first run with a soft blooper just over the head of second baseman Brooks Marlow, and Leon Byrd followed with a two-run single to left field to make it 3-0.
Bellow came on with two outs in the inning and got an inning-ending groundout to strand two runners and prevent further damage. He worked a scoreless sixth inning and struck out the side in the seventh before giving way to Culbreth.
In the eighth and ninth, both teams had chances to take the lead. Rice's leadoff hitter reached in both innings, but each time Culbreth (1-0) worked around the trouble. In the ninth, Zane Gurwitz led off with a single but the Longhorns were unable to capitalize.
Rice again had a leadoff single to start the bottom of the 10th, and a sacrifice bunt moved the runner into scoring position. But Johnston (save: 1), in his first collegiate appearance, came on to shut the door.