April 20, 2011
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HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team twice overcame early two-run deficits on the way to 7-5 victory over visiting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Wednesday evening at Reckling Park.
The Islanders jumped on the scoreboard for two runs in the top of the first inning. A&M-Corpus Christi drew a pair of walks and took advantage of three wild pitches with two base hits for a quick 2-0 advantage.
The Owls came right back and tied the game in the bottom of the frame. J. T. Chargois singled and went to second on a wild pitch. He scored on a two-out single by Craig Manuel but Rice wasn't finished. Michael Ratterree and Michael Fuda followed with consecutive singles to tie the game 2-2.
In the top of the second, Bobby Buckner led off with a single and he moved to second with a stolen base. Buckner scored on a two-out ground-rule double by Omar Garcia. Garcia scored on Trey Hernandez' RBI single to put the Islanders in front 4-2.
Rice moved in front with three in the bottom of the fourth. Fuda walked to start it off and Shane Hoelscher singled through the left side. Ryan Lewis sprinted for three bases after driving the ball deep into the right--center gap, scoring both runners with ease. Lewis came home on Derek Hamilton's ground ball that made it 5-4.
The Owls opportunistically added a run in the sixth. Three walks and a hit batsman forced in Rice's sixth run of the night to make it 6-4. The run was big because the Islanders cut the margin back to one, 6-5, in the seventh when Matt Holland slugged a solo homer to right field.
Rice added its final insurance run of the evening in the eighth. Hamilton singled to left, went to second via a hit batsman and third on a sacrifice by Chargois. Hamilton dashed for home on an Islander wild pitch that made it 7-5.
Owl senior reliever Tony Cingrani worked a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts to earn his team-leading fifth save. Sophomore right-hander Tyler Duffey was the winning pitcher in relief after striking out four in 2.1 hitless innings. Seven Rice pitchers on the night combined for 14 strikeouts. Five Owls out of the bullpen held the Islanders in check with a single run over the final 7.1 frames.
On the offensive side, every Rice starter in the lineup had a base hit. The Owls reached double-digit hits for the 20th time this season and third time in the last four games.
Rice improved to 27-14 on the season while wrapping-up a six-game homestand.. The Islanders are now 22-19 overall.
The Blue & Gray return to C-USA action on April 22 with the first of a three-game league series at UAB. The Friday opener with the Blazers is set for 6:30 pm in Birmingham, Ala.