HOUSTON – The Rice baseball team held-off a late rally to notch a 13-10 victory over visiting UCF in the finale of the three-game weekend series Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park in Houston.
With the win Rice claimed the three-game weekend series from the Knights two games to one. The Owls also pulled to an even 6-6 on the season.
Where the first two games of the series featured a pair of back-to-back pitching duels, the hitters for both teams were ready to shine Sunday. Not only did the squads combined for 23 runs on 28 hits, the heavy slugfest went all the way to the final bell.
UCF jumped on the scoreboard for four runs in the top of the first inning. The Owls answered with two in the second, but the Knights were back up by four again in the third after Kam Gellinger’s single drove in two more to make the score 6-2.
The lead didn’t last long.
The Owls came right back with four runs on a walk and four-consecutive hits in the bottom of the frame to tie it, 6-6. Rice then exploded for six runs in the bottom of the seventh to extend the margin to 13-6. The Blue & Gray added another four base hits and took advantage of four walks and a hit-batsman for its biggest-offensive inning of the young season.
The Knights continued to fight, and chipped away for a run in the eighth before making things interesting in the ninth. UCF rallied for three runs with two out before freshman pitcher Jackson Parthasarathy closed out a 13-10 final with the potential tying run at the plate.
Freshman Ford Proctor went 3-for-5 and scored three times to lead Rice’s season-best 13-hit attack. The trio of Grayson Lewis, Dane Myers and Dayne Wunderlich all had two hits and combined for another seven runs. Wunderlich also added a career-best three RBI. Overall the Owls were an efficient 10-for-21 (.476) when batting with men on base, and an even better 8-for-14 (.571) with men were in scoring position.
Almost lost in all the offensive fireworks was a sensational relief appearance from sophomore Glenn Otto in the middle of the contest. The right-hander from Spring scattered four singles and stuck out eight in 5.0 innings of work. It was Otto’s second-longest outing, with the second-highest strikeout total, of his collegiate career. He improved to 1-0 while Parthasarathy posted his first career save.
Rice next plays at longtime rival Lamar on Tuesday, March 8. Start time vs. the Cardinals is set for 6 pm at Vincent Beck Stadium in Beaumont.