May 10, 2011
LAFAYETTE, La. - Rice rallied for the game-tying score in the seventh inning and sophomore first baseman J.T. Chargois, a Louisiana native from nearby Sulphur, La., blasted a solo homer in the the eighth to lift the Owls' baseball team to a 2-1 road victory over the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Tuesday evening before a vocal crowd of 3,899 at "Tigue" Moore Field in Lafayette, La.
The win was the Owls' fifth in a row and fourth-straight away from home at Reckling Park. Rice had not trailed in any of its last four games heading into Lafayette, but Louisiana scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the third. Alex Fuselier singled and moved to second on Greg Fontenot's sacrifice bunt. Fuselier went to third on a ground out by Mike Petello and came home on a base hit to right by Jordan Poirrier.
When these same teams met at Reckling Park a month ago Rice had no trouble getting baserunners that game, but the Owls did not get a run home and the Ragin' Cajuns claimed a 2-0 shutout win. Louisiana continued the scoreless streak Tuesday until the Blue & Gray rallied to tie the game in the top of the seventh. Another one of the Owls' Louisiana natives, Ryan Lewis of Baton Rouge, La., led off with double that went into foul territory on the right side. He advanced to third base on a long fly out to center by Michael Fuda and hustled home on a Ragin' Cajun wild pitch to make it 1-1.
In the eighth the Owls surged into the lead behind Chargois' blast. He led off the top of the frame by driving a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right field. The round-tripper was the first of his career and put Rice in front 2-1.
The Ragin' Cajuns came out ready to respond in the bottom of the eighth, with a leadoff single to left-center. However, when ULL tried for an extra 90-feet on the on the play to stretch hit into a would-be double, Daniel Gonzales-Luna corralled and fired the ball into a waiting Michael Ratterre at second base to erase the threat.
Five more consecutive outs by closer Tony Cingrani and the Rice defense and the Owls were in the winner's column for a fifth-straight time since returning from the University's final exams break. The Blue & Gray moved to 33-16 on the season. The Ragin' Cajuns are now 27-22 overall.
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Duffey made his first collegiate start and pitched a predetermined 3.0 innings. He allowed one run on four hits and walk while striking out two. Jeremy Fant followed and was sharp in his 3.1 innings of work. The sophomore right-hander from Cypress, Tex., did not allow any hits nor walks and fanned a pair. Abe Gonzales pitched two-thirds of an inning that set up for his fourth win of the season. Senior Tony Cingrani came on in the eighth and earned his team-leading eighth save. Cingrani finished with 2.0 innings, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out one.
Rice has wrapped-up its four-game road swing and returns to Reckling Park this weekend to begin a four-game homestand for its final home action of the season. The Owls host Conference USA foe Memphis May 13-15 at Reckling Park. Friday's start time with the Tigers is set for 6:30 pm.
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