TUCSON -- Rice collected 14 hits and reliever Matt Ditman halted Arizona's bases-loaded rally in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Owls' baseball team posted an 8-5 victory over the Wildcats Friday evening in Tucson.
Rice quickly jumped on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Freshman Ryan Chandler led off with a double down the left field line and Ford Stainback followed with an RBI triple that rolled to the wall in left. Stainback trotted home a grounder to the right side to put the Owls up 2-0.
Both teams struck for a run in the third. Stainback knocked a one-out double to left, and went on to score on John Clay Reeves' hard RBI single that hit off the Wildcat pitcher.
Arizona didn't need any hits to get the run back in the bottom of the third. Jared Oliva reached on catcher's interference and advanced to third on a failed pick-off attempt at first. He scored on Scott Kingery's sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
The Wildcats battled back to tie the game in the fourth. Designated hitter Tyler Krause drew a leadoff walk and Riley Moore followed with a two-run homer to right.
Rice immediately answered with two runs in the fifth and never looked back. John Williamson's single and Chandler's double to left put runners on second and third to start the inning. Williamson scored, and Chandler advanced, on Stainback's RBI grounder. Chandler hustled home on Leon Byrd's sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.
The Blue & Gray stretched the margin to 7-3 in the sixth thanks to four more hits. Arizona added a run in the seventh after a leadoff walk and two-out RBI single by Kingery. Rice got the run right back in the eighth after Kirby Taylor hit a two-out single, and then scored all the way from first base on Williamson's high-chopping base hit that bounded into foul territory on the right side.
The Wildcats staged one final rally in the bottom of the eighth. Olivia singled-in a run with two-on and two out, and a four-pitch walk to the next batter loaded the bases to bring the more than 2,100 UA fans to their feet. Owl reliever Matt Ditman stopped the threat with an inning-ending strikeout, and he pitched a scoreless ninth for an 8-5 final.
Rice finished the day with 14 hits, making it all six games this season to post double-digit hits. Chandler and Williamson both had three hits each and combined for three runs and two RBI. Junior right-hander Kevin McCanna started on the mound and earned his first win of the season with a 6.0 inning effort. He was relieved by Austin Solecitto and Austin Orewiler before Ditman closed it out with his second save.
Rice is now 4-2 on the season. Arizona saw its season-opening unbeaten streak snapped at five. The teams play the second of the three-game weekend series at Noon (1 pm Central Time). The contest is slated for a live broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.