May 17, 2011
HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team broke a 3-3 deadlock with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and then fought-off three different Texas State rallies to claim a 6-4 victory over the visiting Bobcats before a season-high crowd of 5,320 fans Tuesday evening at Reckling Park.
The Owls supported sophomore left-hander Holt McNair with a pair of runs in his first collegiate start in the bottom of the third inning. Michael Fuda singled through the right side, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double to left by J.T. Chargois. Chargois then scored from second on a Texas State fielding error to make it 2-0.
Texas State answered with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth, but did so without getting a base hit. A pair of walks and two Owl fielding errors in the inning led to a tie score, 2-2.
The Blue & Gray regained the lead with a run in the fifth. With one away, Keenan Cook singled and Chargois walked. Cook hustled to third on a fly ball to right and scored on an RBI single by hot-hitting Michael Ratterree.
In the sixth the Bobcats loaded the bases without a hit and pushed across a tying run as the Owls turned a double play. Rice then sent seven men to the plate for three runs in the bottom of the frame to go up by three. With two on and two away for Chargois, the Owls' sophomore first baseman punched a single through the right side for one run while putting men at the corners. Anthony Rendon followed with a double to the wall in left to drive in two more and stretch the margin to 6-3.
Texas State continued to fight. The Bobcats loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but a heads-up play by Ratterree on a line-drive to second led to a double play that helped end the threat.
In the eighth the Owls were on their way to a 1-2-3 inning, but Texas State's Kyle Kubitza sprinted to first on a dropped third strike to keep the inning alive. A walk by Jeff McVaney and single by Cory Falvey led to the team's third unearned run of the game and a tight 6-4 score.
There was one last battle to go in the ninth. After a one-out walk, fielder's choice ground out and hit batsman, Texas State had the tying run at first and the winning run at the plate.
Rice senior stopper Tony Cingrani ended the threat and the game with a strikeout for a close 6-4 final. Cingrani notched his team-leading ninth save of the season with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. Senior Abe Gonzales earned the win to improve to 5-3 after 2.2 frames without allowing an earned run.
On the offensive side the top three hitters in the Rice order of Cook, Chargois and Rendon all had two hits and combined for four RBI, three runs scored and a pair of doubles. Michael Fuda also tallied a pair of hits in the team's 10-hit attack. The Blue & Gray have posted double-digit hits a total of 28 times this season.
Rice moved to 36-17 overall with a second-straight win. Texas State fell to 34-18 on the season.
The Owls next hit the road for a three-game Conference USA series May 19-21 against a Southern Miss squad that is in first place in the league standings. First pitch in Thursday's game against the Golden Eagles is slated for 6:06 pm in Hattiesburg, Miss. The game has been selected for a television broadcast by CBS Sports Network.
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