Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HOUSTON – The Rice baseball team held off a late charge from visiting UTSA to claim a 6-5 Conference USA victory Sunday and take two of three games from the Roadrunners in the weekend series at Reckling Park in Houston.
With the win Rice improved to 18-26 overall and held onto a tie for eighth place in the conference standings with a 9-12 C-USA ledger. UTSA is now 22-20 on the season and 10-11 in league play.
Rice struck first with four runs on a total of five hits in the bottom of the first inning, all with two outs already recorded. Dane Myers reached on a fielder’s choice and hustled to third on a single by Dominic DiCaprio. Tristan Gray punched a base-hit through the right side for a run, and Ford Proctor drove in DiCaprio with a long single to right-center. Darryn Sheppard followed with a double off the wall in center to add two more for a 4-0 lead.
The Owls were back at work for another run in the next inning. Charlie Warren led off the second with single up the middle and moved into scoring position on a one-out grounder. He sprinted home on a Myers’ double to right for a 5-0 lead.
Myers then helped stretch the margin to 6-0 with a run in the fifth. He walked, stole second for his team-leading ninth steal of the season, and scored on another RBI single by Gray. Myers was 6-of-10 in the weekend series with four RBI, four runs scored, two walks and a steal, as well as some solid defensive plays at the hot corner.
Rice starting pitcher Willy Amador was sound and solid on the mound, allowing just one hit and a walk through the first five frames while striking out four. With two away in the sixth, home runs by UTSA’s Jesse Baker and Bryan Arias cut the lead in half, 6-3.
The Roadrunners tallied single runs in both the seventh and the eighth to pull within one, 6-5. Owl junior pitcher Glenn Otto ended both respective innings with strikeouts. Otto then halted a final UTSA rally in the ninth with his sixth strikeout in 3.1 innings to earn his fifth save of the season.
Five different Rice players had at least two hits on the day in a 12-hit attack. Since a game at Texas A&M on March 21, the Owls’ offense has averaged 10.4 hits per game and batted .300 as a team.
Rice closes out the current homestand on Wednesday night (May 3). The Owls host longtime foe Lamar at 6:30 pm at Reckling Park.