Feb. 24, 2013
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HONOLULU, Hawaii - Though down to their last strike with two outs in the ninth inning, the No. 10 ranked Rice baseball team rallied for three runs to claim a dramatic 7-5 come-from-behind victory over the University of Hawaii Sunday afternoon in Honolulu.
Trailing the Rainbows 5-4 to start the ninth inning, Rice's Skyler Ewing came off the bench as pinch-hitter and drew a leadoff walk. He advanced to second on a sacrifice by Michael Aquino and hustled to third on a long fly out to centerfield by Geoff Perrott. Hawaii was able to get two strikes on junior outfielder Keenan Cook, which brought the 3,067 fans in attendance at Les Murakami Stadium to their feet, but Cook slapped a base hit into left field to make the score 5-5.
Rice had tied the game with two outs, but the Owls weren't quite finished with their turn at bat. Ford Stainback and Shane Hoelscher followed with consecutive singles to load the bases. Christian Stringer drew a walk to force in a run and give Rice the lead. Michael Ratterree was then hit by a pitch to force in another run that stretched the margin to 7-5 before Hawaii got out of the inning.
Owl reliever Zech Lemond was brought in to pitch the bottom of the ninth. The Rainbows tried to start a two out rally of their own with Alan Baldwin's double to left, but Lemond successfully closed the door with a game-ending strikeout for his third save of the season.
Rice was in-gear on the offensive side collecting a season-high total of 13 hits. The Owls jumped on the scoreboard for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning and added two more on four hits in the third.
Hawaii took its first lead of the four-game weekend series with five big runs in the bottom of the second inning on three hits, two walks and a hit batsman. Rice reliever Chase McDowell got the Owls out of the jam and proceeded to fire six more scoreless innings. The junior from College Station, Tex., pitched a season-long 6.1 innings, scattering just two hits while striking out three. He issued four walks on the day, but two were intentional free passes.
He held Hawaii in check to keep it a one-run gameto the ninth, and picked-up his first win of the season after the rally.
The Owls improved to 5-2 on the season with their third-straight win in the series over the Rainbows. Rice improved to 5-2 on the season win wins in each of the first three games of the weekend series. The finale is slated for Monday at 6:35 pm Hawaii Time (10:35 pm Central).