Horns Fall But Russell Breaks UT HR Record

Russell's smashed his 21st (Texas Sports Photos)

Kyle Russell broke Texas' single-season home run record with his 21st round-tripper Tuesday, but No. 5 Texas fell to No. 6 Rice, 7-4, at rainy Reckling Park in Houston.

Kyle Russell's solo-shot came on a 1-2 pitch in the top of the sixth, shattering Jeff Ontiveros' mark set during the 2002 national championship season. It was the only Longhorn hit that went for extra bases as leadoff hitters Jordan Danks and Chance Wheeless never reached base in a combined nine at-bats.

Texas dropped to 31-11 after Rice snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Horns dating back to the 2003 College World Series. The Owls are now 30-11.

The Owls jumped on top during their first at-bat. Tyler Henley who got things started with a leadoff triple and scored on Chad Lembeck's sacrifice fly.

RHP Chris Kelley fanned five Horns during the first three frames, but Texas knotted the affair in the top of the fourth. That's when Bradley Suttle singled to right after Russell drew a leadoff walk. Russell Moldenhaur's first sacrifice bunt of the season moved both runners into scoring position. Preston Clark grounded out to short but plated Russell.

Starting LHP Austin Wood had retired nine straight before plunking Joe Savery with a 2-1 pitch in the home-half of the frame. Wood was done after issuing a walk and one-out RBI single that saw Rice take a 2-1 lead. RHP Pat McCrory made his 13th appearance of the season, facing Jordan Dodson with a 2-0 count. McCory recorded the K with three straight curve balls and then forced a ground-out to third to end the inning.

After the Horns were retired in order, McCrory issued two lead-off walks in the Owl fifth. Lembeck bunted the runners over before Brian Friday, in a 10-pitch at-bat, plated the third Owl run when he grounded out to third. McCory issued an intentional walk to load the bases, bringing DH Aaron Luna to the plate. The sophomore laced a 1-1 fastball down the left field line for an RBI double and McCrory was done for the night. LHP Keith Shinaberry came on to record the final out by forcing a pop-up to center field but not before Rice had jumped to a 4-1 lead.

Russell's 31st career homer during Texas' next at-bat tied him with Drew Stubbs for No. 5 all-time at The University. Ontiveros holds the school record with 55 career round-trippers. But the Owls immediately responded with a two-out rally after Shinaberry bracketed a walk with a pair of doubles. RHP Hunter Harris took the mound staring at a 6-2 deficit to force the inning-ending fly-out.

RHP Scott Lonergan relieved Kelley in the Longhorn seventh and issued back-to-back singles to Nick Peoples and Chais Fuller. Travis Tucker's bunt resulted in a two-base throwing error and Texas' third run of the contest. A wild pitch pushed another Longhorn run across and sent Lonergan to the dugout. All-American RHP Cole St. Clair took the mound before Jordan Danks' sacrifice bunt moved Tucker to third. He then fanned Chance Wheeless on three straight pitches and, after Kyle Russell drew a two-out walk, ended the Longhorn uprising by forcing Suttle's infield pop-up.

Savery's leadoff homer on a 2-0 pitch to left made it a 7-4 ballgame in the home half of the frame. RHP Randy Boone came on with two-down and two-on after Harris issued a pair of walks. The senior fanned J.P. Padron on three straight pitches. But the Horns were retired in order in the eighth and ninth.

The Horns resume Big 12 Conference play when they travel for a weekend series at Nebraska.

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