Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Rice baseball team rallied for three runs in the eighth inning for a 6-4 road victory in the opening game of a Conference USA weekend series Friday evening in Charlotte, North Carolina.
With the team's seventh win in the last eight games Rice is now 20-26 overall. The Owls also climbed into a tie for seventh place in the conference standings with a 10-12 league record. Charlotte is 27-18 on the year and 14-8 in C-USA.
Rice went right to work for a pair of early runs. Ryan Chandler led off the top of the first inning with a double to right field and scored easily on a one out double down the left field line by Dane Myers. Myers took third on an infield hit by Dominic DiCaprio and scored on Tristan Gray's sacrifice fly.
Charlotte responded with the long ball it its half of the inning. Leadoff batter Zach Jarrett knocked his team-leading eighth home run of the season to make it 2-1.
The Owls got the run back in the top of the second for a 3-1 advantage. Darryn Sheppard singled through the left side, stole second and scored (from third base) when Chandler knocked his second double in as many at bats.
Charlotte tied the game in the sixth. Logan Sherer slugged a one out home homer over the wall in left, but the 49ers were still looking for more. A single and a walk put two on, and the runners advanced a station on a wild pitch. The equalizer came home on a ground out that made the score 3-3.
The 49ers took the lead for the first time in the seventh. A single and walk with one away put a runner in scoring position, and the situation got even more dangerous with a wild pitch that moved the runners up. With an extra base a sacrifice fly from Sherer to put Charlotte in front for the first time, 4-3.
Down but not out, the Blue & Gray bounced right back with a three-run rally. Each of the first three batters hit safely, with a DiCaprio single to left and back-to-back doubles by Gray and Proctor to even the score, 4-4. Gray was still at third on the play, but hustled home and slid safely on a bunt by Dayne Wunderlich. Sheppard then lifted sac fly to score Proctor for one more insurance run and a 6-4 margin.
There was still the little matter of holding off Charlotte at home for two more frames. Junior right-hander Glenn Otto worked the final 2.0 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three for his sixth save of the season.
The Rice foursome of Chandler, DiCaprio, Gray and Proctor all collected two hits on the night. The Owls posted double-digit hits for a fourth-straight game and for the 17th time in the last 24 outings.
The three-game weekend series continues thru Sunday. Saturday's second game is scheduled to begin at 1 pm Central Time. Sunday's first pitch is set for 12 noon (Central).