Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Trailing by five and down to their last six outs, the Rice baseball team batted around for seven runs in the eighth inning to help claim an eventual 11-8 Conference USA road win at Charlotte in the finale of a weekend league series Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, North Carolina.
With the team’s sixth-straight win, and ninth in the last ten games, Rice is now 22-26 on the season. The Owls also held onto its tie for seventh place in the conference standings with a 12-12 C-USA record. Charlotte is 27-20 on the year and 14-10 in C-USA action.
Rice had played well to win both of the first two games of the weekend series, but found itself down 8-3 to start the top of the eighth inning Sunday. Dayne Wunderlich started the frame off with a home run, his second of the day to take over the team lead with five round-trippers, and the Owls never looked back.
Each of the next seven batters in the order proceeded to reach base by alternating four walks and three hits. Charlotte used three different pitchers to try and halt the rally, but Rice pushed across seven runs to surge in front 10-8 and equal the squad’s biggest offensive inning of the season.
Rice added one final insurance run in the top of the ninth, and kept the 49ers in check over the final two frames. The Owls used a total of seven pitchers, including five pitchers in the bottom of the seventh inning alone. The last of which was Dane Myers moving over from third base, who may not have thought much of his chances to end up posting his first win of the season.
The Owls still have one game off campus before returning home to Reckling Park. Rice meets Houston in the finale of season-long three-game series on May 9 (Tues.). That game will be played at Constellation Field, the minor league home of the Sugar Land Skeeters. The Owls then host C-USA foe Middle Tennessee at Reckling Park on May 12 to begin a four-game homestand that will close out the home portion of the regular season schedule.