Rice falls to Lamar 5-4

Owls lose 5-4 to Lamar

HOUSTON – The Rice baseball team rallied for four runs over a span of four-straight innings, but Lamar regained the lead in the seventh and hung on for a 5-4 win over the Owls Wednesday night at Reckling Park in Houston.

Lamar built a 4-0 advantage with two two-run innings early in the contest. Singles in the second inning by Zach Luevanos and Wayne Stanley scored Brad Picha and Garret Autrey. The Cardinals added two more in the third after a pair of walks and Picha's two-out double to left.

Rice began to chip away at the deficit. Ford Stainback led off the bottom of the third with a double to left-center and he scored on a two-out RBI single by Miachael Fuda. Craig Manuel drew a walk to start the fourth and Michael Ratterree`s double to right put the men on second and third. Manuel scored on Stainback's grounder to the right side that cut the lead in half, 4-2.

The Blue & Gray took advantage of a Cardinal error for a run in the fifth. Fuda singled, moved to second on a walk and took third on a fielder's choice. A Lamar error on the play, however, allowed Fuda an extra 90 feet to home plate and make it 4-3. Rice tied the game with its fourth-straight single-run scored in the sixth. Ratterree bunted for a base hit, stole second and scored when Ryan Lewis came off the bench and delivered a base hit through the right side that tied the score at 4-4.

Lamar answered with a run in the top of the seventh to back on top. 
Darian Johnson led off with a double to right and scored on Autrey's single to left-center.

The Owls made a threat to go back in front in the eighth. Base hits by Ratterree and Christian Stringer put two men on with two-away, but the Cardinals worked out of the jam. Lamar held-off Rice's final at bats in the ninth for the 5-4 final.

"Tonight's game was determined by our mental mistakes," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "We made mistakes but the good news it's something we can correct, there's no doubt in my mind about that. It's imperative that we correct mistakes, particularly with three conference road games coming up."

Rice dropped to 16-7 on the season. Lamar improved to 8-12 overall.

Fuda and Ratterree both collected three hits on the night in a 10-hit attack. By design, a total of six Rice pitchers saw work in the game in advance of the team's upcoming Conference USA league opener. The Owls begin C-USA action on Friday (Mar. 24) with a three-game weekend series at Memphis. Game times against the Tigers are slated for 6:30 pm, 2 pm and 12:30 pm, respectively.