Houston Regional host Rice and Xavier met in the afternoon game, playing for a spot in the regional final. The Owls cruised to a 12-5 victory over the Muskateers, setting up a re-match of Saturday night’s Kansas State-Rice matchup in the finals. Here is your day 3 recap for the Houston Regional.
(1) Rice 12, (3) Xavier 5
HOUSTON — The Rice baseball team collected 15 hits, including eight for extra bases, and sailed behind a complete game pitching performance from junior right-hander Jared Rogers for a 12-5 win over visiting Xavier in the early game of the NCAA Houston Regional Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park. The Owls fought-off elimination to advance to play Kansas State at 6 pm.
Playing as the visiting team at Reckling Park in the NCAA Tournament, Rice opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning. Rick Hague singled with one away and moved to third on a base hit to right by Diego Seastrunk. Hague scored on a single up the middle by Anthony Rendon for a 1-0 advantage.
Xavier quickly tied the game with a run in the bottom of the frame. Billy O’Conner led off with a single and walk to Drew Schmidt walk put runners on first and second. Neil Lindgren sacrificed both runners into scoring position. O’Conner scored from third on a Rice wild pitch.
The Owls exploded for four runs to go up 5-1 in the second. A leadoff walk to Steven Sultzbaugh and single by Jimmy Comerota put runners on the corners for Jeremy Rathjen. The freshman from nearby Memorial High School doubled down the left field line to score both runners. Singles by Brock Holt and Seastrunk plated two more.
(1) Rice 8, (2) Kansas State 0
HOUSTON — For the second time in the day, the Rice baseball team fought-off possible elimination in the NCAA Houston Regional Sunday at Reckling Park with a complete game pitching performance. True freshman Taylor Wall scattered three hits and a walk while striking out four on the way to an 8-0 shutout victory over Kansas State in the nightcap of what proved to be a long, but worthwhile day of baseball for the Owls.
Rice had to win two games against two different opponents Sunday to avoid elimination. They did so with complete-game pitching and some welcome hitting on the offensive side. Before they could think about playing Kansas State, the Owls first used a complete game effort from junior right-hander Jared Rogers in the afternoon elimination game for a 12-5 win over Xavier to get to Sunday night.
With their backs still against the wall, the Blue & Gray turned to the freshman Wall. The left-hander from Houston’s Westside High School came up with another big outing to force a final game for the Regional championship that guarantees advancement to the NCAA’s best-of-three Super Regional Round next weekend in Baton Rouge, La.