March 5, 2014
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HUNTSVILLE, Tex. -- The Rice baseball team scored runs in five of the nine innings, highlighted by a four-run fifth, to claim an 8-5 road victory over Sam Houston State Wednesday night in Huntsville, Texas.
Rice was first on the scoreboard, posting a run in the top of the third. Sophomore shortstop Leon Byrd laced a hard one-out double down the left field line. He advanced to third on a ground out to the right side and scored on a two-out single by Michael Aquino.
The Owls doubled the margin to 2-0 in the top of the fourth. Junior catcher John Clay Reeves led off with a solo home run near the left field pole for his first round-tripper of the year.
Sam Houston came right back and tied the contest in the bottom of the frame. A Rice fielding error helped prolong the Bearkats' at bats that resulted in two unearned runs.
In the top of the fifth the Owls took advantage of a SHSU miscue for a total of four runs on two hits and two walks. The Blue & Gray added a run in the top of the sixth after a two-base Bearkat error, a wild pitch and sacrifice fly by Byrd.
That made the score 7-2 and gave Rice starting pitcher Chase McDowell breathing room. The senior right-hander worked a total of 6.2 innings where he allowed just one earned run while striking out five. He later helped his own cause by hitting an RBI double in the top of the eighth.
Sam Houston would not go away so easily at home and rallied for a run in the seventh before another two in the eighth. Owl right-hander Austin Orewiler pitched a scoreless ninth for his first career save and an 8-5 final score.
Rice is now 8-5 on the season. Sam Houston State, which had earned a national ranking earlier in the week, dropped to 10-3 overall.
Rice next returns home to Reckling Park to open Conference USA league play on March 7 against Old Dominion. The start time is set for 6:30 pm.