June 4, 2017 A quick summary as we prepare for the Owls' fourth game in three days! After dropping the Baton Rouge Regional opener to Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) 12-6 Friday night, the Owls paid the Lions...
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June 2, 2017
Although the Rice baseball team had more hits than Southeastern Louisiana (12-8) in Friday night’s opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, the Lions claimed a 12-6 win over the Owls to advance to Saturday’s winners bracket.
Rice, now 31-30 on the season, faces Texas Southern in the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Start time against the crosstown Tigers, who are 20-33 after falling to regional host LSU by a score of 15-7, is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Alex Box Stadium.
Southeastern Louisiana jumped on the scoreboard for a pair of runs on one hit and three Owl fielding errors in the bottom of the first inning. Rice answered with a run in the top of the second after Tristan Gray led off with a single and scored on an RBI single by Charlie Warren.
After a solo home run by the Lions in the third, Rice still managed to tie the score in the fifth on a two-run long ball to left by Dayne Wunderlich. The Brenham, Texas, native’s sixth home run of the season made it a 3-3 game, but that proved the closest the Owls would get the rest of the way.
The Lions exploded for four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to take an 11-3 advantage. Rice continued to fight and plated two more runs on four hits in the top of the seventh to make it 11-5.
Southeastern Louisiana added a final run in the eighth, one of four unearned runs in the game as Rice tied a season-high with seven fielding errors. The miscues, along with eight free passes to first base from seven walks and a hit batsman, were too much in an NCAA Tournament setting.
In the ninth, junior third baseman Dane Myers connected on a 3-2 pitch for a home run. His seventh homer cut the margin to 12-6, where it ended. Wunderlich went 3 for 4 on the day with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Four Owls had two hits in the contest.
After the game, head coach Wayne Graham addressed the media in a brief news conference. If the SoundCloud player below doesn’t appear in your browser, click here.
View photos from the game by clicking on the Flickr gallery below. To enlarge the gallery, click on the image again or on the four-arrows button in the lower-right corner. If the gallery isn’t appearing in your browser, click here.
We also witnessed a career-first today. Hours after we had a little fun with Rice senior student manager Michael Kidd at breakfast in our morning blog, he went out and showed us and the rest of America his skills.
Sitting in the right-field stands of the Louisiana State University (LSU)-Texas Southern game with members of the Rice baseball team, Kidd caught his first-ever home run ball. As a matter of fact, he had never caught a foul ball, either. To make it more impressive, Kidd hasn’t really attended many games as a regular fan. He estimates somewhere around 25 in all.
The moment came in the bottom of the seventh inning with LSU Tigers catcher Michael Papierski batting with one on and one out and the Tigers leading 9-7.
“We arrived at the park and had to wait a little bit before we could go to the batting cages, so some of us went up in the stands to watch an inning,” Kidd said. “Papierski had fouled two off just to the left of us in the at-bat. He didn’t even get all of it (the home run hit); it was like a high pop-up and it was coming straight at me. I knew the ball was gone. It was just a matter of standing up and catching it. I didn’t have to move a foot to my right or my left. It just came straight at me.
“It was really exciting,” he said. “The ball was coming at me, and I had to make a play on it. Some of the guys were behind me. I don’t know if they were kidding, but Chad Tatum and Ford Proctor ducked for cover,” he said.
Watch Kidd’s home run grab, which was broadcast on ESPN3.
H/t to John Sullivan for the game summary, Tommy LaVergne for the Flickr photos and Chuck Pool for the Michael Kidd video.