Rice (32-30) defeated Texas Southern (21-34) 13-6 after a rough start to eliminate them from the NCAA Tournament and end their season.
Texas Southern loaded the bases right from the jump with two singles from Kamren Dukes and Jose Camacho followed a Gaudencio Lucca hit by pitch, allowing three runs to score on two consecutive singles to center and left field from Gerrick Jimenez and Christian Sanchez.
The Tigers went right back to work in the second with a walk to Charles Guillory to lead off and a sacrifice from Horace LeBlanc III, followed by a Dukes double to score the fourth run of the game after recording as many outs. An RBI single from Jimenez later in the inning made Texas Southern’s lead grand-slam proof. In the process, the Tigers had chased Rice starting pitcher Zach Esquivel after just 1.1 innings pitched where he allowed five hits leading to five runs, all earned, while walking one and recording no strikeouts.
Rice answered back in the second inning when Tristan Gray led off the inning with a solo blast to right. The homer was followed by a walk to Dayne Wunderlich, who took second on a wild pitch and scored from there on Charles Warren’s single to right field to cut the TSU lead to three. That lead was cut further with Ryan Chandler’s single to left that scored Warren to make it a 5-3 ball game. Two walks to Ford Proctor and Dominic DiCaprio loaded the bases and the subsequently scored the fourth run in the inning.
Rice then tied the game when Gray, batting for the second time in the inning, wore a pitch.
The game would enter into a deadlock for two innings before an error allowed the leadoff Texas Southern batter in Jimenez on to start the fifth inning, scoring on Sanchez’s single to left field.
Then the rains came and with them came a delay that last an hour and 22 minutes. The rain delay would be to the benefit of Rice, who possessed a much deeper pitching staff than their SWAC foes did.
Rice powered ahead when play resumed with a solo shot from Chandler to open the bottom of the seventh inning for the Owls and put them ahead. Rice would then bust the game open with a single from Proctor, a walk from Myers, and a single from DiCaprio to score Proctor. Gray then wiped the bases clean with a three run jack. The Owls batted around in the inning and in his second at-bat, Chandler singled in an extra run to make it 12-6 Owls.
Rice tacked on a sac fly from Wunderlich to score DiCaprio for one more run.
With the win, Rice advances to play the loser of Saturday night’s contest between Southeastern and LSU at 3:00 Sunday for a chance to stay alive and play the winner of the SLU-LSU game on Sunday night.