May 15, 2011
HOUSTON - Sophomore second baseman Michael Ratterree delivered a two-out, bases-loaded single to drive in the both tying and go-ahead runs that lifted the Rice baseball team to a dramatic 7-6 victory over visiting Memphis in the finale of a three-game Conference USA weekend series Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park.
With the come-from behind victory in their final at bat, the Owls claimed the best-of-three C-USA weekend series against the Tigers two-games-to-one. Rice also picked up a game in the league standings on first place Southern Miss, setting up next week's best-of-three series between the two teams in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Rice showed it was down but not out in Sunday. Trailing 6-4 with an out in the ninth, senior Michael Fuda sliced a one-out single to right center to begin the rally. The Tigers came back with a fly out and needed to retire only one more to secure the win, but at the top of the order freshman Keenan Cook drew a walk to put runners on first and second.
Sophomore J.T. Chargois followed with a base hit up the middle that was just out of the Tigers' reach, allowing Fuda to score and Cook to hustle to third. Memphis elected to intentionally walk designated hitter Anthony Rendon to load the bases and set up a force play at any station. After the Owls made a move to pinch-run Daniel Gonzales-Luna at second for Chargois, Ratterree stepped to the plate and delivered the clutch base hit into left field. Cook scored easily and Gonzales-Luna dashed home for the winning run.
Rice had lost the previous meeting with Memphis on Saturday in extra innings. Sunday marked the first time this season for the Owls to rally for a win in the ninth when trailing after eight innings.
Midway through the game Rice surrendered a three-run advantage. After the Tigers pushed across a run in the top of the fourth, Rice put four on the board with four base hits for a 4-1 lead. Memphis chipped away with two in the fifth and three in the sixth to move back in front 6-4.
Ratterree and Cook both went 3-for-5 on the day with a run scored. Chargois and Fuda collected two hits each in the Owls' 12-hit attack. Senior Tony Cingrani earned the win in relief to improve his season record to 3-2.
Rice moved to 35-17 overall and 15-7 C-USA. Memphis fell to 27-23 on the year and 10-11 in league play.
The Owls next play their final home game of the regular season against longtime foe Texas State on May 17 (Tuesday). First pitch with the Bobcats is slated for 6:30 pm at Reckling Park.
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