Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HOUSTON – Visiting Pepperdine overcame a 2-1 deficit with three runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, and then held-off a three-run ninth inning rally by the Rice baseball team, to claim a 7-5 win over the Owls Friday night at Reckling Park in Houston.
Both teams avoided trouble early in contest and the score was deadlocked at 0-0 through the first five frames. Rice was on its way to working out of jam with two outs in the top of the sixth, but an Owl fielding error led to Pepperdine taking a 1-0 lead with an unearned run.
Rice came right back with two runs in its half of the inning. Charlie Warren singled up the middle, moved to scoring position on Dayne Wunderlich’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Dayne Meyers’ single into center. Myers alertly hustled to second base as Pepperdine tried to make the play at the plate, and he scored on Dominic DiCaprio’s single to right that put the Blue & Gray in front 2-1.
The Owls had the lead heading into the final three innings but did not help themselves issuing four walks and making three errors as part of a seven-error night overall (the program’s most in a single game since March of 1997). Pepperdine proceeded to post three runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth to go up 7-2. All but one of the Waves’ runs was unearned.
Rice continued to fight, and put three runs up in the bottom of the ninth on four hits. The biggest was a two-out single by Ryan Chandler to drive home two. Chandler then scored on Kendal Jefferies’ second hit of the game to make it 7-5 before the Waves could finally end the threat.
Rice finished with 11 hits, the team’s fourth-straight game to reach double-digits. The Owls are now 3-7 on the season. Pepperdine improved to 5-3 overall.
There has been a scheduling change to the three-game weekend series. The teams are now slated to play a double-header on Saturday, March 4, beginning at 11 am. The second game of the twinbill is scheduled to begin 45 minutes after the conclusion of game one.