Rice Baseball and MTSU went down to the final inning with the fate of the series in the balance before an MTSU walk-off spoiled the Owls’ weekend.
FRIDAY | MTSU 6 – Rice 0
It didn’t matter which portion of the weather-split game it was for Rice baseball, the bats just weren’t syncing up. Rice was held scoreless in their series opener against Middle Tennessee, which was paused in the sixth inning with Rice trailing 3-0 before being restarted on Saturday afternoon.
Prior to the delay, Tyler Hamilton and Cristian Cienfuegos kept the Blue Raiders to one unearned run through four innings. Blake Brogdon was tagged for two runs in the fifth, but the Owls were very much still in the game until MTSU tagged Ryland Urbanczyk with three runs in the eighth inning on Saturday to put the game away.
SATURDAY | Rice 9 – MTSU 2
Rice baseball and MTSU traded single runs in the early innings then did so again in the top of the sixth and bottom of the seventh. The game was neck-and-neck, even when Paul Smith singled in Jack Riedel in the top of the eighth to put the Owls in front. Leading 3-2 entering the ninth, the Rice bats exploded.
Three consecutive RBI hits put Rice up 7-2 and prompted an MTSU pitching change. The new reliever didn’t fair much better, getting charged with two additional runs on sacrifice flies as the Owls smacked the Blue Raiders around, scoring six in the ninth to win 9-2.
SUNDAY | MTSU 5 – Rice 4 (11 innings)
MTSU took a 2-0 lead on a first-inning home run against JD McCracken in the series finale, forcing Rice to play from behind. The Owls chipped away with a run in the fourth on an RBI single from Trey Duffield and another in the eighth, this time via a Ben Royo home run. Finally tied again, that’s when the drama would begin.
Both teams traded solo runs in the next two half innings, forcing extra with the score deadlocked at 3-3. Royo came through again in the tenth with an RBI single, but MTSU leveled the score on a wild pitch charged Rice reliever Krishna Raj. After Rice went quietly in the top half of the next inning, Raj gave up the walk-off long ball on the very next pitch, handing the game and the series to MTSU.
THREE FOR THE ROAD
Rice baseball had their chances to win a series for the first time in a month and couldn’t close the deal. Here are a few takeaways from a wet, frustrating weekend in Murfreesboro.
1. RIP RISP
ON DECK | vs Dallas Baptist (Fri-Sun)
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