HOUSTON -- The Rice baseball team rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie visiting Arizona 2-2, but Owl fielding errors in the top of the eighth opened the door for the Wildcats to claim a 6-2 win in Saturday's second game of the weekend series at Reckling Park.
Arizona has won both of the first two games of the series. First pitch of Sunday's finale is scheduled for 1 pm.
Down 2-0 to start the bottom of the seventh, Rice rallied to tie the contest 2-2. Sophomore Ryan Chandler singled with one-away and Connor Teykl doubled to a spacious area in left as UA defenders were positioned toward their left on the play. Designated hitter Hunter Kopycinski was hit by a pitch to load the bases, bringing true freshman Ford Proctor to the plate who was making his first career start. The rookie from Beaumont made his first collegiate hit a memorable one, singling to left-center to drive in two runs for a new 2-2 game.
Rice was its own worst enemy in the top of the eighth. Three fielding errors led to four unanswered unearned runs and Arizona back on top, 6-2. The Wildcats worked out of trouble in the bottom of the eighth after Dane Myers' walk and Dominic DiCaprio's second hit of the game put two men on base. The Owls finished the night with seven hits and drawing four walks.
It was not the final result the team had battled to rally for, but the Blue & Gray may have found a silver lining. Saturday marked the long-awaited return of junior right-hander Jon Duplantier to the mound. In making his first Rice appearance since 2014, the standout from Katy, Texas, was solid in scattering five hits over 6.0 innings while striking out five.