Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Connor Teykl drove-in Dane Myers for the tying run in the sixth, and the same duo then combined for the go-ahead RBI & run in the eighth to help lift the Rice baseball team to a 4-3 Conference USA road victory over No. 19 ranked Southern Miss in Saturday afternoon in Hattiesburg, Miss.
The win, in front of a rowdy crowd of 4,950 that is the sixth-largest in the history of USM’s Pete Taylor Park, moved Rice into a tie with Southern Miss for first place in the C-USA standings. The Golden Eagles won the opener of the three-game set on Friday 2-1. Sole possession of first place in the standings is on the line in Sunday’s 1 pm series finale.
The Owls might have surprised even themselves by using the long-ball to post a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. Dayne Wunderlich blooped a two-out base hit into shallow left field and Ryan Chandler followed with hard blast that sailed over the right field wall. Chandler’s first career round-tripper put the Blue & Gray up 2-0.
Southern Miss quickly got the runs back and more in the next in the next two frames to take a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the third Jake Sandlin homered to right field with two away. In the fourth USM pushed across two more on two walks and a pair of hits, all after Rice had started the inning by getting two quick outs.
The Owls rallied to tie it, 3-3, in the sixth. Myers led off with a single to left and hustled to second on a ground out. Tristan Gray punched a single to right to put runners on the corners. Myers dashed home on Teykl’s sacrifice bunt where the only play USM could make was to get the batter at first base.
Two innings later the same two Owls found themselves in a near-replay of the same scenario – with Teykl needing to drive-in Myers from third. Myers, after an epic 15-pitch at bat, drew a leadoff walk and made his way around the bases to third via ground outs. Teykl didn’t have the same out to give this time, but produced a clutch double to left to give the Owls a 4-3 lead in the eighth.
The single run lead was again all the margin sophomore right-hander Glenn Otto needed. Entering the game in the seventh in relief of starter Blake Fox, Otto didn’t allow a hit and struck out three in the final 2.1 scoreless frames to improve to 5-1 on the season. Fox was also solid working into at least the seventh inning for the eighth time in his last nine starts. The senior struck out four while scattering six hits in 6.2 innings of a no-decision.