HOUSTON - After the Rice baseball team claimed the opening game of Saturday's double-header vs. Stanford 11-6, the Cardinal won the nightcap 3-1 at Reckling Park. Sunday's finale of the four-game weekend series has a new start time of 12 noon.
Rice staged an impressive comeback in game one. Owl fielding errors helped Stanford exploded for a 5-0 lead on five unearned runs after the first inning and a half.
Down but not out, Rice chipped away for a pair of runs in the bottom of the second on two hits, a pair of walks and a Stanford fielding error.
The Blue & Gray had a breakthrough inning in the fifth to take the lead, 6-5. With one run in, two out and a man on base, sophomore outfielder Charlie Warren battled for an 11-pitch at bat before getting struck with a pitch to keep the inning alive. Freshman Tristan Gray followed with a towering three-run home run to right field.
Gray's first career round-tripper put Rice in front 6-5, but Stanford continued to fight. The Cardinal added a run in the top of the sixth to level the score, 6-6. Freshman right-hander Josh Pettitte ended the threat and proceeded to fire a career-long 2.1 hitless innings with a career-high three strikeouts.
Rice gave him a lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth and another two in the eighth to stretch the margin to 11-6, where it ended.
The Owls may have finished the long day of baseball with more combined runs for the two games (12-9), but Stanford held Rice off for 3-1 win in game two. The Cardinal started the game with three-consecutive hits and pushed across two runs in the top of the first before Rice could retire a batter.
Stanford avoided danger in the bottom of the first when Rice had two men on base, as well as when Rice had runners in the second and fourth. The Cardinal added an unearned run in the fourth for a 3-0 advantage. Warren walked and scored Rice's lone run of the contest in the seventh.
The Owls' silver lining was 2.1 sterling innings by redshirt junior pitcher Jordan Stephens. The Alvin, Texas, native did not allow a hit nor walk while striking out three in his longest out of the season after being sidelined a year ago.
Rice is now 7-5 overall. Stanford is 6-5 on the season. The four-game series concludes on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 12 noon (a change from some earlier listings).