March 16, 2014
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MIAMI, Fla. -- The Rice baseball team overcame a four-run deficit in the middle innings to claim an 11-7 Conference USA road victory over No. 19 ranked FIU, completing a sweep of the three-game weekend series Sunday afternoon in Miami, Fla.
Rice had to rally for a 3-2 win in the series opener in 13 innings before controlling Saturday's contest 10-2. Sunday though was the first time all weekend the Owls were the first team to get on the scoreboard. Skyler Ewing reached on a fielder's choice and came home on consecutive singles by John Clay Reeves and Chase McDowell.
FIU tied the game on two hits in the bottom of the second, but the Owls were right back on top in the fourth after singles by Stainback and John Williamson, and a sacrifice fly by Keenan Cook.
The Panthers then answered by batting around for four runs in the bottom of the frame. FIU stretched the margin to 6-2 with another score in the fifth after Rice issued a leadoff walk.
The top of the sixth was the Owls' turn to bat around for four runs and a new game at 6-6. The big blows were a bases-loaded double by Cook and a McDowell single that plated two more.
FIU came right back with an unearned in the sixth. A Rice fielding error after what would have been an inning ending strikeout put the Panthers back in front 7-6.
The advantage, however, was short-lived. The Blue & Gray batted around once again, this time scoring five runs in the top of the seventh on four hits. The Owl highlight was a two-RBI double to left by McDowell, who also came in to pitch 4.0 innings of two-hit relief for his third win of the season.
At the plate McDowell finished with a career-best five RBI on three hits. Stainback went 4-for-5 and Cook drove-in a career-high tying 4 RBI on two hits. The Owls finished with 14 hits in the three-hour, 44-minute marathon,
Rice improved to 15-6 overall and a league-leading 5-1 in C-USA action. FIU is 16-4 on the season and 3-3 against the league. The Panthers had entered the weekend with only one loss and a No. 19 national ranking
The Owls have wrapped-up the weekend series, but the team still has one more game to go on its current road swing. Rice next plays at longtime rival Texas State on Tuesday, March 18. Start time in San Marcos, Texas, is slated for 6:30 pm.