Conference USA weekend roundup

Rice has continued to distance itself from the rest of the pack in Conference USA. The No. 7 Owls swept a three-game series from No. 24 East Carolina to improve to 13-2 in league play. With second place Houston dropping two-of-three at UAB, Rice now owns a 3.5 game lead in the conference standings. Southern Miss and Tulane renewed their long-standing rivalry and the home standing Green Wave took two of three on Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. Marshall swept its series against UCF in Charleston to move to .500 in C-USA play and overall.

Rice took Friday night’s opener, 10-3, as Adam Zornes tied a career-high with four hits and drove in three runs, while the Blue & Gray notched 16 hits. Saturday’s tilt went to extra innings, with the Owls winning, 5-4 in 10 frames as Chad Mozingo drew a bases-loaded walk to provide the winning run. On Sunday, Matt Langwell fired his first career complete game in Rice’s 7-1 win.

UAB surprised second place Houston with wins on Friday night and Saturday afternoon to earn its first series win over the Cougars since 1997. In Friday’s game, UH hit six home runs (including Jake Stewart who hit three)and scored four runs in the top of the ninth, but UAB held them off for a 10-9 victory. Blazer third baseman Luke Stewart had a home run and three RBI in the win. The next day, Mitch Kloskowski earned his fifth win of the season after throwing seven solid innings for UAB. Houston took the series finale, 10-4, as Chase Dempsay threw 4.1 shutout innings out of the bluppen to earn his fourth win of the year.

Shooter Hunt struck out a season-high 12 batters and closer Mason Griffin fanned three in a pair of solid stanzas as Tulane downed Southern Miss, 4-3 in Friday’s opener. On Saturday, freshman utility athlete Rob Segedin went 2-for-4 with an RBI during his time at the plate and tossed a pair of perfect innings to pick up the save as the Green Wave earned a series win with a 4-2 victory. In the finale on Sunday, the Green Wave out-hit Golden Eagles, 14-5, but give up three homers and two unearned runs in a 10-8 loss. Tulane nearly pulled out the sweep, loading the bases in the eighth and ninth innings before Golden Eagle closer Tyler Conn shut the door for his NCAA-leading 14th save.

Marshall posted its second straight series sweep in Charleston, taking three from UCF. The seven league victories are already the most by the Thundering Herd in its three seasons as a member of Conference USA.

In non-conference play, Memphis dropped three games against Dallas Baptist, including one by a single-run and another in extra innings.