Former 2015 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year and local Houston area native Luken Baker put on a show for his hometown fans on Saturday leading TCU past Rice 10-0. Baker who starred at nearby Oak Ridge High School, made his second career start for Texas Christian a memorable one. Pitching at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, Baker scattered four hits over six shutout innings and added a home run from the clean-up spot.
TCU left little doubt as to whom would be the better team on this night exploding for five two-out runs in the second. A two run double by Dane Steinhagen got things going before Connor Wanhannen RBI single made it 3-0. Cam Warner closed out the second with a two run single.
Baker continued the scoring parade in the third with a lead-off home run. The TCU slugger also homered on Sunday in his pitching debut for TCU. Two batters later Elliott Barzilli added a two run shot and an 8-0 lead.
Meanwhile Baker retired the first eight Rice hitters he faced before hitting a batter with two outs in the third. The hard throwing right-hander pitched his way out of a second third one out jam in the fourth. It would be thier only serious threat of the night.
TCU added single tallies in the fourth and sixth innings to close out the scoring.
TCU’s shutout of Rice is its third of the seaason in six games and its 27th since the start of the 2014 season, tops among all Division 1 NCAA teams.
Baker (2-0) helped #13 TCU improve to 5-1. Rice falls to 3-4. Both teams conclude play on Sunday in teh Shriners Hospital For Children College Classic. TCU will face the University of Houston in a mid-afternoon game set for 2:35p.m. while Rice plays the nightcap opposite the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns. at 6:05p.m.