June 3, 2017
Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BATON ROUGE, La. -- With the squad's season on the line, the Rice baseball team battled back from an early 5-0 deficit (as well as an 82-minute rain delay) to claim an eventual 13-6 victory over crosstown foe Texas Southern in an elimination game at the NCAA Tournament Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge, La.
With the win, Rice now 32-30 overall, stays alive in the Regional and next meets the loser of Saturday's late game -- the winners' bracket clash between LSU and Southeastern Louisiana. The Rice game, another possible elimination game for Rice, is scheduled to start at 3 pm on Sunday (June 4).
Both the Owls' and Tigers' respective seasons were on the line heading into the game. Texas Southern quickly struck for runs in both of the first two innings. Playing as the visiting team in the neutral setting of LSU's Alex Box Stadium, TSU scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Each of the first five Tigers in the batting order reached base with four singles and a hit batsman.
The Tigers were back on the offensive for two more in the second. Charles Guillory was hit by a pitch to leadoff the frame and he moved to second on Horace LeBlanc's sacrifice bunt. Guillory scored on Karmen Dukes' double down the left field line. Dukes came home on a RBI single by Gerrick Jimenez to stretch the margin to 5-0.
Rice rallied to tie the score in the bottom of the second. Tristan Gray led off with a solo home run to right field, tying for the team lead with seven round-trippers. The Owls then mixed a pair of hits around four walks and two hit batsmen issued by the Tigers. When the dust cleared the game was leveled, 5-5.
Both teams registered single runs in the fifth. A Rice fielding error to start the frame led to an unearned TSU run. Rice countered with a solo homer from Andrew Dunlap to even the score, 6-6.
Dunlap's sixth blast of the year was before a one hour, 22-minute rain delay. Junior pitcher Willy Amador came up big keeping the TSU bats in check for 3.2 innings, but when the game restarted after the rain Rice went to Glenn Otto out of the bullpen. The right-hander from Spring, Texas, proceeded to fire 3.0 scoreless frames, scattering two hits and a walk while striking out three.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Owls sent eleven to the plate on the way to six runs on six hits. The big blows were a solo homer from Ryan Chandler to start outburst. Gray then connected for his second home run of the day, finishing game going 3-for-5 with a career-high-tying five RBI. He was one of three Rice players with three hits in a 17-hit attack. Every Owl also scored at least one run, and the Blue & Gray still left a season-high 16 players on base.
Rice added one more run in the eighth to extend the lead to 13-6. Sophomore right-hander Jackson Parthasarathy pitched the scoreless ninth for a 13-6 final.
Texas Southern's 2017 season came to an end. The Tigers finished the year 20-34 and as champions of the SWAC Tournament.