Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Florida Atlantic made the most of just four base hits to claim a narrow 3-2 win over the visiting Rice baseball team in the opener of a three-game Conference USA weekend series Friday evening in Boca Raton, Fla.
Rice started quick, and was able to push a across a run in the top of the first inning. Brad Gneiting drew a leadoff walk and reached third as Ryan Chandler's grounder back up the middle deflected off second base into shallow right-center field. Dane Myers drew a walk to load the stations. FAU managed to turn a double-play to keep Rice from producing a big inning, but Gneiting was able to score from third for a 1-0 lead.
The Blue & Gray added another in the top of the third as Chandler and Myers clubbed back-to-back doubles. It proved to be team's lone hit in eight tries with a runner in scoring position.
FAU answered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame to even the score, 2-2. The defending C-USA regular season champs then pulled in front 3-2 in the fifth without the benefit of any hits. Tyler Frank was hit by a pitch and took second on a walk. He hustled to third on a fly ball to right field and scored on a deep ground-out to the right side.
Rice tried to stage rallies getting runners on base in the sixth and eighth innings, but FAU worked around the threats both times. Rice finished with seven hits. On the mound Rice's freshmen duo of Matt Canterino and Addison Moss had to battle in the tight contest. Canterino struck out four in 5.0 innings of work while Moss fired 3.0 scoreless frames, allowing just one hit without any walks and striking out two.
Rice is now 8-20 on the season and 1-6 in C-USA action. FAU improved to 17-7-1 overall and 6-1 in conference to remain tied for first in the league standings.
The three-game C-USA weekend series continues through Sunday, April 2. Saturday's first pitch against the FAU Owls is scheduled for 3 pm (Central Time).