Feb. 26, 2011
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HOUSTON -- The Rice baseball team rallied to regain the lead in the eighth inning, and then halted a Trojan rally in the ninth, to claim a 6-5 victory over the visiting USC Saturday at Reckling Park in Houston.
The Owls scored a run in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI single by Jeremy Rathjen and added another in the second on Derek Hamilton's RBI single to the left side.
Southern Cal responded with an unearned run in the top of the third after a hit batsman, passed ball and three-straight ground outs. Rice quickly got the run back in the bottom of the frame with a solo home run to left by Anthony Rendon. Rendon's second homer of the season, and 48th of his collegiate career, stretched the margin to 3-1 but USC would not go away so easily.
The Trojans regained the lead in the top of the sixth. Alex Sherrod connected for a two-run homer with no outs tie the game, 3-3. Two singles, a walk and hit batsman with two away put USC in front for the first time, 4-3.
Rice then moved back in front in the eighth. Three-straight walks to start the inning loaded the bases and an RBI single by Craig Manuel tied the game, 4-4, with the Owls still looking for more. Ryan Lewis drew a bases-loaded walk to force in one more and a catcher's interference by the Trojans put the Blue & Gray in front, 6-4.
In the top of the ninth a pair of singles put two USC men on base and a ground ball scored one, but an Owl fielding error on the play helped to extend the inning with runners on first and third. A hit batsman loaded the bases for USC, but versatile Rice sophomore J.T. Chargois worked out of the jam to end the game with a one-run win, 6-5.
Chargois earned his first save of the season working in relief of winning pitcher Tyler Duffey. Offensively the Owls finished with five hits and made the most of seven free passes and a hit batter.
Rice moved to 4-3 overall. USC is now 3-3 on the season. The series finale is set for Sunday at 1 pm.