Rice freshman Jon Duplantier was given the ball for his second career start Tuesday against the No. 8 team in the country.
Duplantier didn’t have a bad outing, but Texas’s two early runs against him, combined with three more in the sixth inning, lifted the Longhorns to a 5-2 win over Rice at Reckling Park in Houston.
No. 12 Rice notched seven hits, but couldn’t take advantage of scoring opportunities. A pair of defensive miscues also helped the Longhorns keep innings alive.
Texas improved to 23-7. Rice (21-10) has now dropped four of six after a nine-game win streak.
It didn’t take long for Texas to get on the board. Leadoff hitter Brooks Marlow singled as did the next two hitters, Ben Johnson and Mark Payton. The next hitter, Tres Barrera, grounded into a double play, as Rice traded Marlow’s run for two outs. Duplantier struck Collin Shaw out to end the inning.
Shane Hoelscher picked up Rice’s first hit of the game in the second inning, but Michael Aquino’s grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame.
An error helped lead to Texas’ second run in the third inning as Marlow scored on a sacrifice fly. Duplantier, a Katy native, finished with a line of two hits, two runs, four walks and three strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work,
The Owls broke through in the fifth inning. Connor Teykl walked and advanced to second on a Ford Stainback single. Charlie Warren lined into a double play, but Teykl came home on a Blake Fox single.
Texas took command the next half inning. A sacrifice fly brought home C. J. Hinojosa. A bases loaded walk issued by Kevin McCanna to Payton brought home another runner. Marlow then scored again on Barrera’s single. Johnson tried to come home, too, but he was gunned out by Aquino.
Teykl added a run in the seventh on a single, two wild pitches and a groundout. Singles by Hoelscher and Teykl in the ninth brought the tying run to the plate with two outs. Stainback flied out to center to end the game.
Lukas Schiraldi earned the win for Texas. He has allowed just three runs in his last 21 innings on the mound. Morgan Cooper came on to get the last two outs.
Rice will welcome in East Carolina for a weekend series. First pitch of Friday’s opener is 6:30 p.m. at Reckling Park.
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