Owls Defeat LA Tech Saturday In 10 Innings, 3-2

April 8, 2017

Box Score

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Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (jsully@rice.edu)

HOUSTON – Darryn Sheppard lined a two-out game-winning single in the bottom of the tenth inning to lift the Rice baseball team to a 3-2 Conference USA victory over visiting Louisiana Tech Saturday afternoon at Reckling Park.

Not only did the Owls level the three-game C-USA series at one apiece, Rice’s Wayne Graham recorded his 1700th career win as a collegiate head coach – including his 26th season at Rice and 11 years at San Jacinto College.

The head coach had to earn Saturday’s important contest. With the score tied 2-2 in the seventh, LA Tech had settled-in to retire ten Rice batters in a row to force the Owls’ first extra-inning game of the season. The Blue & Gray came alive for the winning score in the bottom of the tenth.

Dane Myers led off the tenth with a base hit into left field, and he hustled to scoring position on Dominic DiCaprio’s sacrifice bunt. With one away and first open, the Bulldogs elected to walk Ford Proctor intentionally to set up a possible double play. LA Tech indeed got Proctor at second on an infield grounder off the bat of Tristan Gray, but the junior from Houston exploded down the first base line and stretched to touch first base just ahead of the throw to keep the inning alive.

Gray’s extra effort brought-up Sheppard with runners on first and third, who had already had collected two hits on the day. Sheppard punched the first pitch he saw into left to plate Myers while Gray, by rule, made sure to touch second base for the winning run to hold.

The game’s earlier innings also had some drama of a different kind. Rice starting pitcher Zach Esquivel did not allow any hits through the first five frames. By the time the Bulldogs led off the top of the sixth with their first base hit, the Owls were ahead 2-0 with single runs in the third and fifth.

As expected LA Tech, which had won Friday’s series-opener 6-4, would not go away so easily. Marshall Boggs doubled-home a run in the sixth to make the score 2-1. Tech tied it, 2-2, in the seventh on an RBI single by Brent Diaz. The Bulldogs threatened for more runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but Rice junior right-hander Glenn Otto and the defense avoided further damage. Otto finished the day scattering four hits and striking out five in 4.2 innings of work on the way to his second win of the season.

On the offensive side Sheppard logged his third three-hit day of the season. Proctor went 2-for-4 with a RBI and Myers extended his hitting streak to seven games with a 2-for-3 day - as well as scoring the game’s winning run.

Rice is now 11-22 on the season and 3-8 in conference action. LA Tech is now 20-12 overall and 3-8 in C-USA. The series concludes Sunday. First pitch is set for 1 pm at Reckling Park.

 

 

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