RUSTON, La. -- Louisiana Tech rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the 15th inning to take a 4-3 win over the visiting Rice baseball team late Friday night in Ruston, La.
Rice is now 32-19 on the season and 19-9 in C-USA action. With a second-straight win in this weekend series LA Tech improved to 36-16 overall and 18-11 against the league.
Four Owl pitchers, including Blake Fox and three from the bullpen, combined to hold one of the top hitting teams in the conference to just two runs for well over four hours of baseball. The Bulldogs put together three of their 11 hits in the bottom of the 15th to push across the tying and winning runs on Chace Lunceford's single to right-center.
LA Tech's emotion from winning the marathon duel was identical to the Rice dugout's elation in the top of the same frame. Senior Connor Teykl, sidelined all week with an injury, came off the bench and delivered what looked like a pinch-hit three-run homer to right-center. Teykl was initially allowed by the umpires to touch all the bases for a 5-2 Rice lead, but after huddling the umps ruled the hit to be a ground-rule double -- driving in one run but effectively taking two more big insurance runs off the board.
Leading up to the 15th Rice was able to players on base as well as it has in a week. The Blue & Gray could have helped itself earlier well before Teykl's pinch-hit double. The Owls were 2-of-27 with runners on base and 1-of-12 with men in scoring position.
Timely hits could have gone a long way in helping starting pitcher Blake Fox. The senior lefthander was fantastic in firing 8.2 innings where he allowed just one run on three hits and a walk while striking out seven. Glenn Otto had a 3.1 solid innings, allowing one run and striking out four. True freshman Evan Kravetz registered 2.0 shutout innings as well.
Louisiana Tech was first on the scoreboard, manufacturing a run in the bottom of the third inning. Chandler Hall reached on a high chopping single into left, then moved to scoring position on Brent Diaz sacrifice bunt. Hall scored on J.D. Perry's single into left-center for a 1-0 lead.
Rice answered with a run in the top of the fourth. Ryan Chandler dropped a tricky hit between three fielders in shallow left field and never stopped sprinting his way to second base for leadoff double. Dane Myers picked him up two batters later with an RBI single into center that made it 1-1.
The game was deadlocked until the 11th, when sophomore Tristan Gray connected on a pitch for his third homerun of the season. LA Tech answered with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning to tie it back up for three more frames.
The weekend series concludes Saturday (May 21). First pitch is set for 2 pm.