While the level of competition may not have been top 25 caliber, the Rice Owls took care of business with a 7-0 homestand completed Wednesday.
The Owls scored five runs in the seventh inning to pull away from UTSA Wednesday at Reckling Park. The victory over the future Conference USA Roadrunners was the last game before the Owls start this season’s slate of conference games. Rice (16-7) faces Southern Mississippi (8-12) in Hattiesburg Friday through Sunday.
After a 7-6 start to the season, Rice has now won 10 of 11 and seven straight. The Owls won two games against another future C-USA foe, Louisiana Tech, before sweeping Harvard last weekend. Rice had to go extra innings Tuesday to fend off Stephen F. Austin 3-2.
With two outs in the tenth inning, Keenan Cook walked and then stole second. His high school teammate Michael Aquino drove Cook in with the winning run.
As for Wednesday’s game, here are the top 2 reasons Rice won:
1. Big Innings
Rice scored four runs in the fifth inning and then five more Owls crossed the plate in seventh inning, all with two outs.
UTSA had just cut Rice’s lead to 5-4 in the seventh. Connor Teykl walked and Cook was hit by at pitch. Skyler Ewing singled to score Teykl, and after a throwing error by UTSA rightfielder Jesse Baker, Cook also scored. Michael Ratterree singled to bring home Ewing to make it 8-4. Ratterree scored on Geoff Perrott’s single and he came home on Leon Byrd’s double.
“I thought we did a good job of hitting, and it was very nice to see how we turned things on late in the game,” Rice coach Wayne Graham said in a news release. “We’d get a runner on second base and drive him, and we did that a couple of times tonight when it seems like we hadn’t done it very much at all so far this season. It was good to see.”
2. Six solid innings for Chase McDowell
The junior righthander improved to 3-1 on the season. He held UTSA scoreless through six innings, before giving up a homer and two other hits in the seventh. His final line was: 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
“Chase gave us a quality start,” Graham said. “I would have liked to see the bullpen give him a little more support, but it was still a quality start. I have no doubt Chase will help us.”
Player of the Night: Rice senior catcher Geoff Perrott went 4 for 4 at the plate, scored two runs and drove in Ratterree. The Kingwood native leads the Owls with a .370 batting average.
Fun Fact: Rice is now 16-3 in games where they score the first run.
Get your Box Score here.
Conference Standings: Here’s a look at the conference standing going into the first weekend of C-USA play.
- Houston 18-4
- Rice 16-7
- UCF 14-9
- Memphis 12-8
- Tulane 12-11
- East Carolina 11-10
- Marshall 9-10
- UAB 9-11
- Southern Miss 8-12