Rice making plays against Sam Houston State
Clutch hitting and fielding has enabled the Owls to charge into a 2-1 lead over Sam Houston State after four innings in a Houston Regional game played before a sellout crowd at Reckling Park.
The Bearkats jumped to an early 1-0 lead in their first inning when Ryan Mooney touched Mike Ojala for a one-out home run.
Rice tied the score in the second on singles by Anthony Rendon, Chad Mozingo and Michael Fuda. Sam Houston State pitcher Sean Weatherford wriggled out of further damage in the inning by striking out the final two batters.
The Owls claimed the lead in the third on a one-out single by Brock Holt, a wild pitch and Rick Hague's run-scoring single.
Ojala escaped damage in the fourth when Jon Reed was thrown out at the plate by Rice left fielder Michael Fuda as Reed tried to score on Mark Wyatt's single. Wyatt advanced to third before Daniel Nottebart was coaxed into bouncing into an inning-ending ground out. The winner of the second game will advance in the winner's bracket against Kansas State, which claimed a 16-8 victory over Xavier in the first game of the regional. The loser will face the Musketeers in an elimination game Saturday afternoon.