Rice baseball shook off their bullpen struggles, topping Louisiana Tech 4-3 in a Conference USA Tournament elimination game.
As the old saying goes, lightning doesn’t strike twice. For Rice, the lightning came in the form of a walk-off loss to Marshall a week ago on Thursday. Then it happened again. And again. And yet another time, with the final strike coming off the bat of Southern Miss slugger Matt Wallner on Wednesday.
Rice had led all four of those games by two or more runs entering the eighth inning. Each time the bullpen coughed up the advantage and the bats failed to rise to the occasion.
The story started in a similar way against Louisiana Tech in Thursday’s Conference USA Baseball Tournament elimination game. Rice got things going with a two-run double off the bat of Cade Edwards in the first, giving starting pitcher Evan Kravetz some breathing room early on.
Next, both sides swapped single runs, Louisana Tech in the third and Rice in the fifth, to bring the score to 3-1 in favor of the Owls. Then coach Matt Bragga made a bold decision. Rather than turn to the same pitchers who had failed to deliver over the past week, he put the ball in the hand of Jackson Parthasarathy.
Rice’s typical Sunday starter wasn’t as sharp as usual out of the bullpen. Following Kravetz’s five-inning, one-run performance, Parthasarathy struggled through a 1.2 inning showing. He allowed two runs before Dalton Wood came to relieve him.
After watching countless relievers fail to shut the door, Wood delivered. The freshman reliever worked two and a third perfect innings, allowing no hits, striking out one and clinching the Owls first win in a week’s time.
Apparently lightning does strike twice, but its encores are limited to four dismissive blasts. For the first time in a week, Rice took the lead and held on. Now they’ll look to do it again on Friday.
Up Next | Winner of Marshall vs Southern Miss, 3:00 PM, Friday
Rice will meet their demons face to face on Friday where they’ll face the winner of the Marshall and Southern Miss game scheduled to take place later Thursday afternoon. Rice is 0-3 against Marshall this season and 2-2 against Southern Miss.