Houston, TX– The Rice Owls were in the driver’s seat for eight full innings in the Houston Regional’s opening game at Cougar Field. The ninth inning, well, that belonged to Louisiana-Lafayette.
Kyle Clement led off the inning by reaching on a dropped third strike on a wild pitch from Matt Ditman. Stefan Trosclair and Tyler Girouard followed with walks to load the bases and Evan Powell hit an RBI single into left field off of new pitcher Austin Orewiler to score Clement. Greg Davis followed that with a single of his own up the middle to bring ULL to within a run at 6-5.
Nick Thurman then reached on a errant throw from Orewiler on a SAC bunt to again load the bases for the Cajuns. Louisiana head coach Tony Robichaux talked about the ninth inning after the game, “We wanted to keep it close. I felt like we’d have an inning sooner or later and if you let the game get away from you, then that inning wouldn’t matter. In the ninth, we did a great job of not letting them use us against us.”
Rice again went to the bullpen and brought in Glen Otto. Otto walked Dylan Butler to tie the game at 6-6. Blake Trahan flied out to center to give Louisiana its first lead of the ball game at 7-6. Tony Robichaux went to freshman closer Dylan Moore to shut the door on the Owls.
Rice head coach, Wayne Graham talked about the loss after the game, “It’s obviously a heartbreaking loss, you hate to lose on a base on balls. But these things happen, and we’re still in the tournament.”
Rice got the scoring started in the fourth inning with two runs off of ULL starter Mark Wyatt when Charlie Warren and Ford Stainback led off the inning with walks and Connor Teykl hit a sacrifice fly to bring Warren home for the first run of the game. Stainback scored a pitch later when Marks let a breaking pitch get away from him and to the back stop. The Owls would add to the lead in the fifth when Grayson Lewis reached on a fielder’s choice SAC bunt and Kirby Taylor scored.
On the mound for the Rice Owls, Blake Fox worked 6.1 innings allowing two runs on four hits and two strikeouts in a no decision. Will Bacon got the win on the mound for ULL with 3.2 innings of work out of the bullpen allowing three runs on four hits and struck out four. The loss falls to Matt Ditman who gave up 3 runs on 1 hit in the ninth with two walks and a strikeout. The save goes to Dylan Moore who worked a scoreless ninth for the single season saves record in ULL baseball history.
WP: Will Bacon (6-2)
LP: Matt Ditman (5-2)
Rice moves to the loser’s bracket and will play the losing team from Game 2 (Houston vs. Houston Baptist), while Louisiana will play the winner of Game 2. The loser’s bracket game will be at 2:30 on Saturday afternoon with the winner’s bracket game to follow at 7:00.
All games can be seen online at WatchESPN.com