HOUSTON -- Despite Kyle Russell setting the single-season school home run record, No. 5 Texas dropped a 7-4 decision to No. 7 Rice in collegiate baseball action Tuesday evening at Reckling Park.
Russell hit his 21st home run of the season over the leftfield fence to cut the lead to 4-2 in the top of the sixth.
Rice drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning. Tyler Henley hit a leadoff triple to centerfield and scored on a sacrifice fly by Chad Lembeck.
Texas scored an equalizer in the top of the fourth. Russell drew a walk to start the frame. Bradley Suttle followed with a single through the right side of the infield. Russell Moldenhauer pushed runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Preston Clark plated Russell with a groundout to shortstop to even the score at 1-1.
Rice promptly reclaimed the lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Joe Savery was hit by a pitch and Aaron Luna walked setting up a Jess Buenger RBI single through the left side of the infield.
The Owls inflated the cushion to 4-1 with two runs in the fifth. J.P. Padron and Henley each drew walks to start the inning. Lembeck pushed the runners to second and third with a sacrifice fly. Friday plated Padron with a groundout to third base and Luna pushed Henley across with a double down the leftfield line.
Russell pulled the Horns within two with his homer in the top of the sixth, but Rice responded with two runs in the bottom half of the frame. With two outs, Padron doubled to the gap in right centerfield and Henley drew a walk setting up a two-run double by Lembeck, staking Rice to a 6-2 lead.
Texas got a pair of unearned runs in the top of the seventh. Nick Peoples and Chais Fuller both singled to start the frame. An unsuccessful sacrifice bunt attempt by Travis Tucker resulted in a run as a throwing error allowed Peoples to score. Fuller scored on a wild pitch to close the gap to 6-4.
Rice added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff homer by Savery.
Austin Wood (4-1) was saddled with the loss for Texas, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk while striking out one over 3.1 innings.
Chris Kelley (2-2) picked up the win for Rice. He allowed two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out a career-high seven. Cole St. Clair earned his first save of the season pitching three no-hit innings.