Freshman catcher Tres Barrera continued his hot streak as the No. 8 Longhorns took down No. 12 Rice 5-2 in Houston. Barrera led the Longhorns with two RBIs, while junior pitcher Lukas Schirladi, dubbed by head coach Augie Garrido as the “best Tuesday starter in college baseball,” kept Rice in check.
Schiraldi allowed five hits in 6.2 innings and surrendered both Rice runs.
As the theme has been of late, the Longhorns (23-7, 2-2 Big 12) jumped on top of their opponent in the first inning. After the first three hitters reached in the first before Barrera — who has raised his average from .129 to over .290 in less than a month — came up to the plate, it appeared as though the Longhorns could break it open early.
But Barrera, in one of his few bad at-bats in his recent tear, grounded into a double play to drive in a run but kill the threat of more.
Texas’ top of the order tacked another one on in the third with the help of poor defense from the Owls. After junior second baseman Brooks Marlow walked and advanced to third on an error off the bat of sophomore outfielder Ben Johnson, he gave Barrera another chance to drive in a run. Barrera did what he needed to, lofting a fly ball to center for a sacrifice fly to give Texas a 2-0 lead.
Rice (21-10) kept things close, though, with a two-out RBI single in the fifth to make it a one-run game. But Texas did what it has all season — come through in close games.
A big sixth inning gave the Longhorns a comfortable lead. Freshman third baseman Zane Gurwitz started the scoring with a sac fly. Then, with two outs, Marlow singled, and Johnson reached on error for the second time to load the bases for senior center fielder Mark Payton.
Payton, being patient, worked a walk to push the lead to 4-2 and give way to Barrera.
Barrera came through with yet another big hit, just as he did over the weekend against Texas Tech. He singled home Marlow to push the lead to 5-1.
Schiraldi yielded one more run in the seventh, but that was all the Owls got.
Sophomore reliever Travis Duke came on in relief and threw 1.2 scoreless innings before handing things over to freshman pitcher Morgan Cooper to close it out.
On the day, the Longhorns had 10 hits to the Owls’ seven. But it was two errors that doomed Rice. Rice’s pitching allowed only two earned runs but five total.
This is the second time Texas has beaten Rice this season in as many tries. The teams will face each other again next Tuesday.