Texas tops Rice behind Peters' gem

HOUSTON -- Dillon Peters made it look easy on the mound for Texas. Longhorns closer Nathan Thornhill put some excitement in the game, giving Rice life in its final at-bat.

Thornhill, who relieved Peters to start the top of the ninth inning, struck out pinch-hitter Blake Fox with the bases loaded to end the game and preserve the Longhorns' 2-0 win over the Owls (6-4) on Friday at Minute Maid Park.

"Nathan was trying to get [the win] for himself." Texas coach Augie Garrido said jokingly.

Peters was sharp. In 106 pitches, the left-hander threw eight scoreless innings, allowing no walks and four hits with six strikeouts.

"I just kept them off balance from the get-go," said Peters. "I mixed a lot of different pitches in a lot of different counts. It seemed to be effective so I went with it."

Thornhill wasn't as effective. He retired his first two batters before allowing singles to Michael Aquino and John Clay Reeves. Thornhill then walked pinch hitter Connor Teykl. But Thornhill got Fox looking on a 1-2 count for the final out and his first save.

Texas (7-3) scored its runs in the fourth inning off Chase McDowell (0-1), who replaced Rice starter Jordan Stephens, who left after pitching two scoreless innings, allowing one hit. Consecutive doubles by Tres Barrera and Ben Johnson scored Kacy Clemens and Barrera.

Rice's biggest threat came in the fourth inning. Shane Hoelscher and Skylar Ewing opened with singles. Cleanup hitter Aquino fouled off the third strike attempting to sacrifice for the first out. Peters (1-0) followed by striking out Reeves and Leon Byrd.

"I knew I needed to punch somebody to line up that double-play ball," said Peters. "That guy didn't get the bunt down so I felt pretty comfortable and tried to get a ground ball and ended up punching [out] some guys."

Kevin McCanna pitched four scoreless innings in relief for Rice, which was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.