MIAMI — The 15th ranked Rice Owls rallied from a 2-0 deficit to 19th ranked Florida International University forcing the game into extras, with Rice eventually edging FIU 3-2 in 13 innings in game one of the Conference USA opener for both schools.
Rice starter Zech Lemond and FIU’s Mike Franco locked up in a classic pitchers duel. Lemond gave the Owls eight solid innings allowing two hits and two earned runs. He struck out 5 and walked two. Matt Ditman followed with five innings of shutout baseball and got the win for Rice.
Franco worked into the eighth for FIU allowing two runs, (one earned) while striking out seven and waking three. Charles Cormier took the loss for the Panthers after pitching an 1 2/3 innings and lawing one run.
FIU took the lead in the first when sophomore Edwin Rios singled to short to score Tyler Hibbert who had two hits in the game. In the fourth J.C. Escarra scored from second on a base hit by Roche Woodard. Aramis Garcia extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a double.
Rice scored single runs int he fifth and eighth to tie the game. The game remained tied until the 13th when Rice scored on an RBI single from Michael Aquino.
The two teams will battle again tomorrow with the first pitch at 4 PM