NORFOLK, Va. - Old Dominion claimed a 12-4 win over the visiting Rice baseball team in the opening game of the Conference USA weekend series Friday evening in Norfolk, Va.
Both offenses were able to overcome temperatures in the low 40s, light rain and steady winds out to right field. The Monarchs collected 13 singles and 14 hits overall. Rice finished with 13 hits, but left a total of 15 runners on base after going just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Old Dominion turned up the heat with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Three of the first four hitters collected three hits for a quick 1-0 advantage.
The Monarchs added two more runs with four-straight singles in the third, but ODU wasn't finished at the plate. Rice walked the bases loaded and a wild pitch stretched the margin to 4-0.
The Owls looked to be getting out of trouble in the fifth, but a balk negated a swinging strikeout that would have gone a long way to end the inning. With prolonged life Old Dominion proceeded to add one run on a triple by Nick McMurray, who then trotted home on a Rice wild pitch to make the score 6-0.
After coming up empty on some chances in the first half of the game, Rice came right back with two runs in the top of the sixth. Tristan Gray and Kirby Taylor reached on consecutive two-out singles. John Williamson followed with a double to right that plated both runners for 6-2 game.
ODU pushed across two runs on a two hits and an Owl fielding error in the sixth. Four runs in the seventh on four walks, a hit batsman and the Monarch's lone extra-base hit extended the lead to 12-2. The Owls fought for single runs in the eighth and ninth in a 14-4 final.
Rice is now 15-8 on the season and 6-1 in C-USA league play. Old Dominion improved to 11-7 overall and 2-2 in conference.
The three-game C-USA weekend series continues through Sunday. Saturday's start time is set for 2 pm (Central Time). First pitch in the series finale is scheduled for noon.