Baseball

Rice Sweeps Saturday Twinbill

May 5, 2018

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Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (jsully@rice.edu)

HOUSTON -- The Rice baseball team swept both games of a Conference USA road double-header Saturday at UTSA, defeating the Roadrunners by the scores of 8-3 in game one and 4-3 the nightcap.

With the two wins Rice is now 20-25-2 on the season and 9-12-2 in Conference USA. The Owls are tied for eighth place in the C-USA standings with Western Kentucky based on both teams having the same .435 win percentage. WKU holds the head-to-head tie-breaker over Rice, two-games-to-one. UTSA is 25-20 overall and in sole possession of fifth in C-USA with an 11-11 league ledger.

Rice opportunistically broke a 3-3 deadlock with a late run to claim a 4-3 victory in game two. In the top of the eighth inning, sophomore Braden Comeaux hustled to beat out an infield hit that rolled its way into a tricky void of defenders just off the first base line.

Comeaux dashed around second base as UTSA committed an error attempting to pick him off first. A Roadrunner throw from foul territory to third base came in hot, but Comeaux dove in safe under a sweeping tag attempt. He scored easily on Justin Collins' RBI single to left and the Owls moved back in front, 4-3.

The Owls initially built an early 3-0 advantage. In the third back-to-back RBI doubles by Ryan Chandler and Trei Cruz put Rice up 2-0. The Blue & Gray added another in the fourth as Ford Proctor doubled-home Chace Sarchet.

Rice starter Addison Moss meanwhile was sensational striking out a career-high 11 batters in 6.2 innings of work. With two outs in the top of the seventh, UTSA's Bryan Arias hit a game-tying three-run homer. Rice freshman right-hander Dane Acker ended that threat, then picked up his third win of the season as the Owls quickly rallied to regain the lead in the top of the eighth.

Rice also rode a strong start on the mound from sophomore right-hander Matt Canterino, and had some late scoring punch, for an 8-3 win in the opening game of the twinbill. Canterino allowed just one earned run on seven hits with ten strikeouts in 7.0 innings. It was the fifth time this season for Canterino to post double-digit strikeouts in a game, but it was his first outing without issuing any walks.

The Rice offense supported Canterino with four runs in the top of the third. The big blow was big three-run home run to right by true Cruz. The blast was his fifth of the year and part of his two-hit game with four RBI.

UTSA came right back with three runs in the bottom of the frame, taking advantage of a Rice fielding error that made two of the runs unearned. The Owls had a number of opportunities to get the scores back with a total of 11 base hits, but the team could not get them timely ones and went on to finish going 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position.

With just a one run lead Canterino held the Roadrunners in check. The Blue & Gray finally broke through for three insurance runs in the eighth and a final run in the ninth for an 8-3 final. Kendall Jefferies pitched the final 2.0 innings without allowing any hits.

The three-game C-USA weekend series concludes Sunday. Note that Sunday's game has a new 2 pm start time.

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