MIAMI, Fla. -- Rice pushed across two early runs and the Owl pitching tandem of Jon Duplantier and Glenn Otto made the margin stand up in a 2-0 Conference USA road victory over FIU Friday evening in Miami, Fla.
The Owls efficiently opened the scoring in the top of the second inning. Senior Connor Teykl punched a base hit through the right side and advanced to second on Grayson Lewis' sacrifice bunt. True freshman Dominic DiCaprio, a Florida native from nearby Coral Springs, followed with a base hit to right field that allowed Teylk to hustle home for a 1-0 Rice lead.
The Blue & Gray added another in the third inning. Ryan Chandler laced a single to center field then dashed around to third on some nice hitting to right field by Dane Myers. Chandler had no trouble scoring on Ford Proctor's sacrifice fly to left for a 2-0 advantage.
Rice would go on to reach double-digits in hits for the 15th time this season and fifth time in the last six games. The hits didn't translate into any more runs on the night, but the narrow margin was all the room Duplantier and Otto would need.
In his 12th start of the season Duplantier scattered three singles and a walk while striking out eight as he worked into the bottom of the ninth. He surrendered a hit in the bottom of the first inning, only to pick the runner off first base. The Rice defense also turned two round-the-horn double plays, including an FIU back-breaker in in the sixth when the Panthers had runners on first and second with one away. Duplantier's lone walk was with one out in the ninth, but Otto came in getting infield grounders that soon ended the contest. Otto notched his team-leading eighth save while Duplantier improved to 6-4.
Rice moved to 29-14 overall and 16-6 in C-USA action to stay tied for first in the league standings. FIU is now 22-25 on the year and 9-13 in conference.
The second game of the weekend series is set for 5:30 pm (Central Time). The series concludes Sunday.