Texas, Rice win in Houston regional _lowres

Texas A&M pitcher Daniel Mengden, center, talks with catcher Troy Stein, left, as Texas' Brooks Marlow, right, touches third base after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of an NCAA college baseball tournament regional game Friday, May 30, 2014, at Reckling Park in Houston. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Eric Christian Smith) MANDATORY CREDIT

HOUSTON — Nathan Thornhill pitched seven strong innings and No. 2-seeded Texas put up seven early runs en route to an 8-1 win over No. 3-seeded Texas A&M on Friday afternoon at Reckling Park in the opening round of the Houston regional.

With the win, Texas (39-18) moves on to face the winner between No. 1-seeded Rice and No. 4-seeded George Mason at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Longhorns and Aggies (33-25) played in front of a Reckling Park-record 6,603 fans, but the Texas A&M faithful didn’t have much to cheer about.

Texas scored seven runs in the first three innings off of Aggies starter Daniel Mengden (4-9), who allowed seven hits and two walks. A&M coach Rob Childress pulled Mengden with one out in the third.

The Longhorns’ Nos. 4-7 hitters — Tres Barrera, Madison Carter, C.J Hinojosa and Collin Shaw — led the offensive charge, each collecting two hits. Barrera doubled and scored twice, while Hinojosa doubled, scored twice and drove in two runs. Carter had a run and an RBI, and Shaw drove in two runs.

Brooks Marlow led off the game by launching a full-count pitch over the trees beyond right field.

Texas had 13 hits on the day and got the leadoff man on base in each of the first three innings.

Meanwhile, Thornhill (7-2) matched a career high with seven strikeouts. He allowed one run on six hits, throwing 117 pitches along the way.

Morgan Cooper threw two scoreless innings in relief.

RICE 7, GEORGE MASON 2: Michael Aquino had two hits, including the go-ahead RBI double in Rice’s six-run eighth inning as the Owls rallied for a win.

John Clay Reeves and Leon Byrd each added two-run singles after Aquino’s double as the Owls pulled away.

Kirby Taylor had two hits for Rice (42-18), including an RBI single in the seventh for the game’s first run. Byrd also had two hits for the Owls, who will face Texas on Saturday.

Josh Leemhuis singled to start the eighth and scored on Mick Foley’s RBI single before Anthony Montefusco gave the Patriots a 2-1 lead, scoring on an error.

Zech Lemond (4-1) threw 1.2 innings for the win. Jared Gaynor (8-5) took the loss for the Patriots (34-21), who will face Texas A&M on Saturday in an elimination game.