HOUSTON -- The Rice baseball team held off a ninth inning Pepperdine rally for 7-6 victory in the first game of a double-header, but the Waves completed a late rally for a 5-2 win over the Owls in the nightcap Saturday at Reckling Park in Houston.
In the first game of the day, Rice and Pepperdine traded early runs and were tied 2-2 after three innings. The Waves scored twice in the top of the fourth to go up 4-2, but the Blue & Gray surged back in front on the strength of four runs in the fifth. With the bases loaded Pepperdine was careful pitching to Ford Proctor after the sophomore belted his first home run of the season back in the second inning. He drew a walk to force in one run, and a wild pitch tied made the score 4-4. Chace Sarchet then drove in two with a single for a 6-4 Rice advantage.
A Ryan Chandler RBI single in the bottom of the sixth stretched the lead to 7-4, but Pepperdine continued to fight. The Waves scored a run in the seventh off the Owl bullpen and were looking more before Glenn Otto stepped in to end the threat with a single pitch. Pepperdine staged one last bases-loaded rally in the ninth and scored an unearned run to make it a one-run game. Otto and the Owls held worked out of trouble to preserve the 7-6 final.
In the day's seven-inning second game, designated hitter Darryn Sheppard had a RBI single in the second and solo home run in the fourth to drive in both of Rice's runs for a 2-0 lead. The narrow margin appeared as if it might be just enough as Owl true freshman pitcher Matt Canterino was again sound and solid. The rookie scattered four hits while striking out a career-high ten as he came to within an out of a (seven-inning) complete game victory.
Pepperdine, however, collected four hits and took advantage of an Owl walk and hit batter on the way to five runs in their last offensive inning. The Waves retired Rice in the bottom of the seventh to claim a 5-2 come-from-behind win. Rice is now 4-8 on the season. Pepperdine is 6-4 overall.
The Owls next play at longtime state rival Lamar on Tuesday (March 7) at 6:30 pm in Beaumont. Rice then hosts national power Stanford in a four-game home series March 9-12.