HOUSTON–Texas A&M coach Rob Childress said last night that Rice is the best team in Texas. It’s hard to argue with him after the Owls completed a 3-0 weekend at the Houston College Classic with their second-straight win over a top Lonestar State contender.
The Owls got a third straight strong outing from their starting pitcher–this time freshman lefthander Taylor Wall–and systematically dismantled sixth-ranked Baylor 8-3 on Sunday afternoon.
Wall allowed just one run on three hits and a pair of walks while striking out eight over 6 1/3 innings. He doesn’t have the kind of velocity we’ve seen from a lot of other pitchers this weekend, sitting around 85-86 mph with his fastball, but he used a four-pitch mix very effectively. His best pitch was a deceptive 73-74 mph changeup with excellent arm speed, and he used his 77-80 slider as a chase pitch against both righthanded and lefthanded hitters.
"The best thing that happened today is Taylor Wall, a kid who came out of high school with a great changeup, and he hadn’t had it (last week)," Rice coach Wayne Graham said. "He had it today. He’s got to pitch for us–there’s no doubt–and I think he’s on his way now."
Wall’s counterpart, junior lefthander Craig Fritsch, was mostly strong for Baylor, racking up seven strikeouts of his own over five innings. He has a loose, projectable frame and throws a 90-92 mph fastball with late life, to go along with a good 76-78 slider and a promising 78-80 changeup. Two of the three runs Fritsch allowed in the second inning were unearned, as a throwing error by shortstop Joey Hainsfurther (on a ball first baseman Dustin Dickerson really should have handled) opened the door.
But Fritsch’s worst pitch of the day was a 3-0 fastball to Rice cleanup hitter Anthony Rendon with two aboard in the fifth. Rendon jumped all over it, drilling a three-run homer over the bullpen in left-center, although Baylor coach Steve Smith late said he did not think the ball actually cleared the fence. That broke the game open, giving the Owls a 6-1 lead.
"(Fritsch) was probably thinking I’m a freshman, I was probably nervous in a big tournament like this, but I was just ready to hit that fastball, and I hit it," Rendon said. "On a 3-0 pitch, you’re looking for a perfect pitch, you’re looking for a certain little box. That’s where he threw it to me, and I hit it."
"He’s going to be a pretty good hitter, it looks like to me," Smith said.
Rice’s veterans came up big Friday and Saturday, as juniors Mike Ojala and Ryan Berry and senior Jordan Rogers carried the Owls to wins over UCLA and Texas A&M. Rogers was strong again today, striking out three over 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, but freshmen Rendon and Wall stole the show.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog