BATON ROUGE, La. -- With their collective backs to the wall in an elimination game, the Rice baseball team came up with 10 runs on 13 hits for a 10-6 victory over No. 5 ranked LSU late Monday evening in the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge.
Rice improved to 38-23 on the season and now forces an `extra' Regional game in the NCAA's double-elimination format. The Owls and national seed LSU (44-19 overall) next play a Championship Final on Tuesday (June 7) where the winner advances to next week's NCAA Super Regional round. First pitch at Alex Box Stadium is set for 4 pm.
Playing as the home team in the NCAA Tournament format, Rice broke the seal on the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Connor Teykl and Tristan Gray started the inning off with singles, and a one-out walk to Dominic DiCaprio loaded the bases. Teykl made a nifty move to avoid a tag on Dayne Wunderlich's shallow sacrifice fly and score the first run of the game. Red-hot Hunter Kopycinski followed with an RBI single to right-center, and Charlie Warren added an RBI double to right to plate one more.
LSU battled back for a run in the top of the fourth on three hits. The Owls, however, came right back with a run in the bottom of the frame on a solo shot to right field by Tristan Gray to make it 4-1.
The Tigers returned serve and tallied three big runs of their own on two hits. The big blow was a two-run homer by Kramer Robertson. The Owls also walked-in a run that tied the score, 4-4.
Rice was unfazed. The Blue & Gray answered with three matching runs on four hits, highlighted by an RBI double by Teykl and RBI single by Chandler that made the score 7-4.
The Owls then added another big three-run frame in the seventh on three hits to stretch the margin 10-4. LSU would not go away so easily at Alex Box Stadium and put another two runs on the board on the strength of Jake Fraley's two-run homer to right.
That was the last scoring of the night and the only runs Rice reliever Glenn Otto would allow. He pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the 10-6 final and earn his ninth win of the season. In 4.1 innings of work Otto allowed just two runs on six hits while striking out five but without allowing any walks. Sophomore Dane Myers started the contest and pitched 4.1 key innings to get Rice started.
On the offensive side of the ledger the Owls continued the explosive hitting the team enjoyed while eliminating Southeastern Louisiana in the first game of the afternoon. Five Rice players had two or more hits, led by Charlie Warren's 3-for-5 day with an RBI double and a run scored.