Rice tops TCU with mix of defense, pitching

HOUSTON -- In the best defensive contest of the six games played through Saturday at the Houston College Classic, Rice got the best of TCU, 1-0, at Minute Maid Park.

Pitching figured prominently into the result, as Rice starter Blake Fox (3-0) silenced the Horned Frogs for six innings. Owls reliever Zech Lemond got the crucial outs in the end, getting a three-inning save.

"He's a believer," Rice coach Wayne Graham said of Lemond, who allowed only one hit. "He believes he's going to get out of anything he gets into."

Lemond helped the Owls (7-4) preserve their lead in the eighth inning. TCU's Boomer White, who had singled in his first three at-bats, came up with two runners on base. The right-handed Lemond got White to pop up to catcher John Clay Reeves to end the threat. Reeves also doubled and was hit by a pitch.

"No pressure, no dominance," Lemond said. "If you can't enjoy the pressure when you're out there, how can you enjoy playing baseball?"

Charlie Warren scored the game's lone run on Reeves' sacrifice fly in the sixth inning off TCU (6-4) starter Preston Morrison (1-1). In eight innings, Morrison allowed only five hits with five strikeouts and a walk. The left-handed Fox allowed five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

"He's a solid guy," Graham said. "We figure he's going to get us into the seventh inning, not usually with a shutout."

The two-hour, nine-minute game featured five double plays (three by TCU) and no errors. Rice left fielder Michael Aquino threw out a runner at home plate to end the top of the third. In the eighth, Lemond threw out a runner at the plate for the second out.

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