HOUSTON -- Visiting UCF halted an Owl rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to preserve a 2-0 win over the Rice baseball team Saturday evening in Houston.
Down by two in the final frame the Owls fought to the end. With two away true freshman Ford Proctor drew a walk and senior Grayson Lewis punched a single into right centerfield to bring the potential winning run to the plate. Dayne Wunderlich hit a tricky grounder to the left side, but the Knights converted on a close force play at third to end the contest.
UCF had a quality start on the mound by junior right-hander Robby Howell, who earned his second win of the season by allowing four hits and no walks over 7.1 innings. Knight pitchers Campbell Scholl, Drew Faintich and Harrision Hukari each contributed to help make the narrow 2-0 margin stand. Four times in the game Rice was able to put the leadoff batter on base only to have each threat contained.
Rice starter Blake Fox turned in another steady outing in his third start of the season. The senior left-hander allowed the game's only two scores in 7.0 innings where he scattered seven hits and one walk while striking out six. Back-to-back two-out doubles in the fifth were the game's lone two runs.
Rice (5-6) saw its two-game win streak snapped, and the weekend series between the former conference rivals is now level at one game for each team heading into Sunday's finale. Start time is set for 1 pm at Reckling Park.