May 14, 2011
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HOUSTON - The Memphis baseball team rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the tenth inning to claim a 5-3 win over Rice in the second game of a three-game Conference USA weekend series Saturday afternoon at Reckling Park.
The Owls (34-17 overall, 14-7 C-USA) saw their six-game win streak come to an end with the team's fifth extra-inning loss this season. Memphis improved to 27-22 on the year and 10-10 in league play.
Memphis struck for the first run of the game in the top of the second inning. Ethan Gross singled with two away and scored on an RBI single up the middle by Chad Zurcher after a pair of walks loaded the bases.
Rice tied the game in the third. Geoff Perrott was hit by a pitch, moved to second base on Daniel Gonzales-Luna's sacrifice bunt and scored on a single through the right side by Anthony Rendon.
The Tigers runs in the fourth and fifth to stretch the margin to 3-1. In the third, Gross singled stole second base and advanced two more stations on two wild pitches. In the fourth, T.J. Rich led off with a double and scored an RBI single by Gross.
Owl freshman Michael Aquino led off the bottom of the sixth with his second hit of the day and moved around the bases after a base hit by Keenan Cook and walk to Craig Manuel. Aquino scored on J.T. Chargois RBI ground out that made it 3-2.
Rice made a standout defensive play in the top of the eighth on a throw by centerfielder Michael Fuda in to throw-out a would-be run to Manuel at the plate. The Owls then tied the game, 3-3, in the bottom of the frame. Manuel doubled with two away and scored on to wild pitches.
The teams remained deadlocked after nine, but in the top of the tenth Memphis put its lead runner on base for the first time since the fifth. A leadoff walk and single by Gross put two men on, but after a strikeout the Owls had a chance to work out of the jam with potential double-play grounder. Rice couldn't find the handle, however, and all the runners were safe on a fielding error. The Tigers made the most of the opportunity and used consecutive singles to plate two runs for a 5-3 final.
Aquino and Perrott paced Rice with a pair of hits as the C-USA series drew even at 1-1. The deciding game of the series is Sunday at Reckling Park. First pitch is slated for 1:06 pm. The Rice seniors will be honored before their final home conference game.