HOUSTON, Texas – Texas Baseball mashed three home runs and held off Rice for a 7-4 win on Opening Day at Reckling Park. Murphy Stehly had a three-hit debut and Zach Zubia drove in four runs to lead the Longhorns offensively.
Bryce Elder picked up his first win of the season, pitching six innings and striking out six batters. He allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and one walk.
The bullpen trio of Cole Quintanilla, Tristan Stevens and Donny Diaz held off the Owls to secure the win. Diaz recorded his first save of the season and the second of his Texas career.
In his Longhorn debut, Stehly was 3-for-4 with a double and a homer. Zubia smashed his first homer of the season in the third inning and finished 1-for-2 with four RBI. Freshman Trey Faltine homered in the fourth inning for the first hit of his career.
Texas jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Duke Ellis ripped a one-out triple to right-center field. Ellis then scored the season’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Zach Zubia. A diving catch by right fielder Bradley Gneiting robbed Zubia of extra-bases.
Rice pulled ahead in the second inning on the back of three hit batters and an errant throw. Elder was able to limit the damage by getting a strikeout to strand the bases loaded and keep the score 2-1.
The Longhorns jumped right back in front with three runs in the third. Stehly got the rally started with a one-out double and Austin Todd drove him in with an RBI single. Zubia followed up with a two-run blast to right field to make the score 4-2.
Faltine started the fourth inning with a solo home run to left field to give the Longhorns a 5-2 advantage. The homer was the first career hit for the true freshman.
The Owls plated a run in the fourth on a two-out RBI single off of Elder to trim the ‘Horns lead to 5-3.
Zubia and the Longhorns got the run right back in the top of the fifth. Stehly and Todd both reached base before Duke Ellis sacrificed the runners into scoring position. Zubia hit an RBI groundout to drive in his fourth run of the game and make the lead 6-3.
Stehly continued his big day at the plate, with a solo home run in the top of the seventh to extend the Longhorns’ lead to 7-3.
Quintanilla entered the game from the bullpen in the seventh inning and used a pair of strikeouts to get out of the frame. The Owls scratched out a run off Quintanilla in the eighth inning and Stevens finished the inning with a punch out to keep a 7-4 lead intact.
Diaz closed out the game with a perfect ninth inning that included a pair of strikeouts.
Texas and Rice continue the series on Saturday at 5 p.m. Ty Madden will take the mound for the Longhorns.