HOUSTON -- The Rice baseball team battled nationally-ranked Arkansas late into the game, but the undefeated Razorbacks pulled away for a 5-2 win in Friday's final game of the evening at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Arkansas was first on the scoreboard. In the top of the second inning Cullen Gassaway knocked a leadoff double to left-center field and advanced to third on a ground out to the right side. Owl third baseman Dane Myers made a sensational play to corral a hard liner, but the run was able to score on the ground out for a 1-0 lead.
The Razorbacks added a run in the fourth. Carson Shaddy started the frame with a single and Clark Egan's double put runners on second and third. Shaddy scored on a ground out for a 2-0 advantage, but the Owls would not go away so easily and tied it up in the fourth.
Owl senior Grayson Lewis and freshman Ford Proctor hit back-to-back singles, and both advanced on a grounder to the right side. Red-hot Dayne Wunderlich followed with a two-out single into center to drive the runners home for a new 2-2 contest.
Rice did not need to give a talented Razorback team any help, but the Hogs scored a pair of runs in the top of the seventh without getting any hits. The Owls walked two, hit two and had a wild pitch as UA went back on top 4-2. Arkansas added a final score in the ninth for the 5-2 final.
Rice is now 3-3 on the season. Arkansas is 6-0 overall.
Charlie Warren led the Owls with a pair of hits while Wunderlich recorded both of the team's RBI. Veteran right-hander Jon Duplantier started on the mound and went 6.1 innings, a longer outing that his first start a week ago. Three Rice hurlers seeing their first Division I season on the mound, Zach Esquivel, Evan Kravetz and Nick Orewiler, all pitched in the Astros' home venue and held Arkansas to seven hits. The Blue & Gray also welcomed an error-free game in the field.
Weekend action in the tournament continues through Sunday (Feb. 28). Rice next meets longtime state rival TCU on Saturday at 7 pm.