Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Rice baseball team outhit Southeastern Louisiana 12-8 in Friday night's opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, but the Lions claimed a 12-6 win over the Owls to advance to the Saturday's winner's bracket.
Rice, now 31-30 on the season, next faces Texas Southern in the losers' bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Start time against the crosstown Tigers, 20-33 after falling to regional host LSU by a score of 15-7, is set for 2 pm Saturday at Alex Box Stadium.
Southeastern Louisiana jumped on scoreboard for a pair of runs on one hit and three Owl fielding errors in the bottom of the first inning. Rice answered with a run on in the top of the second after Tristan Gray led off with a single and scored on an RBI single by Charlie Warren.
After a solo home run by the Lions in the third, Rice still managed to tie the score in the fifth on a two-run longball to left by Dayne Wunderlich. The Brenham, Texas, native's sixth home run of the season made it a 3-3 game, but that proved the closest the Owls would get the rest of the way.
The Lions exploded for four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to take an 11-3 advantage. Rice continued to fight, and plated two more runs on four hits in the top of the seventh to make it 11-5.
Southeastern Louisiana added a final run in the eighth, one of four unearned runs in the game as Rice tied a season-high with seven fielding errors. The miscues, along with eight free passes to first base from seven walks and a hit batsman, were too much in a NCAA Tournament setting.
In the ninth junior third baseman Dane Myers connected on a 3-2 pitch for a home run. His seventh homer cut the margin to 12-6, where it ended. Wunderlich went 3-for-4 on the day with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Four Owls had two hits in the contest.