HOUSTON, Texas -- Led by a strong relief outing from Jason Simms, the Bearkats beat the No. 19 ranked Rice Owls Wednesday night in Houston.
Simms pitched four scoreless innings allowing just four hits and striking out seven batters. The right hander was credited with the save.
“It’s a good night anytime you’re able to go into a tough midweek game and get great pitching and timely hits,” said head coach David Pierce. “Our kids played really well tonight and I’m really proud of them.”
Catcher Jessie Plumlee started the scoring by blasting a homerun over the leftfield wall to lead off the third inning.
The Bearkats tacked on another runner in the top of the fourth when third baseman Kevin Miller singled with the bases loaded to score first baseman Spence Rahm. Ryan O’Hearn was tagged out at the plate on the play.
Starter Tyler Eppler pitched just 3 1/3 innings. He allowed two walks in the fourth before he was replaced by Andrew Godail who pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings and got the win.
“Tyler (Eppler) had some command issues most of the night and he wasn’t hitting his spots,” said Pierce. “But our guys were able to pitch out of some jams and Simms was lights out.”
The Bearkats scored their third run in the sixth inning but left the bases loaded. Carter Burgess tripled to the leftfield gap with one out before Miller singled to drive him in. Miller was 2-for-3 with two RBI and Burgess was 2-for-3 with one run scored.
Rice’s best scoring chance came in the fifth inning when Stainbeck reached on a two out error by Rahm. Godail then allowed a single and a walk to load the bases before the sophomore got a strikeout to end the inning.
The Owls used eight different pitchers in the game. Starter Connor Mason pitched three innings and gave up the first two runs on three hits. The Owl staff struck out 12 and walked five.
“These wins are team-bonding wins and a chemistry builder,” Pierce said. “It puts our guys in a position to feel like they can play with and beat anybody in the country.”
The Bearkats return to Don Sanders Stadium to play a weekend series with Connecticut starting Friday at 6:30 p.m.