Rice sends Herd home from C-USA baseball tournament
BILOXI, Miss. — Rice Owls relief pitcher Kendal Jefferies blanked Marshall University for the final 4 2/3 innings of a 6-3 victory Friday in the Conference USA baseball tournament at MGM Park.
The senior right-hander for the Owls gave up no runs on four hits, walked two and struck out five in relief of starter Kel Bordwine.
Rice, the No. 7 seed, continues in the double-elimination format with a 26-32 record while No. 6 Marshall’s season ends at 29-28.
No. 8 UTSA and No. 4 Western Kentucky played the Friday late game.
Tournament games Saturday (ESPN+ streaming) are No. 2 Southern Miss versus Rice at 10 a.m. and No. 1 Florida Atlantic facing the UTSA/WKU winner at 1:30 p.m. If Rice wins, the Owls and Southern Miss play again at 5 p.m. The UTSA/WKU winner would take on Florida Atlantic again at 8:30 p.m. if necessary.
The single-elimination championship game is at 2 p.m. Sunday on the CBS Sports Network.
Rice scored two runs in each of the third, fifth and eighth innings.
Bradley Gnelting and Trei Cruz had run-scoring hits in the third inning. Andrew Dunlap had an RBI infield single in the fifth inning when Rice put up two more runs with the aid of four bases on balls surrendered by Marshall pitching. Marshall issued three more walks in the eighth inning and Cade Edwards singled to left field two knock in two runs.
Marshall scored once in the first inning when Erik Rodriguez singled and advanced on Shane Hanon’s fielder’s choice before coming home on Tucker Linder’s base hit.
Rodriguez started a Thundering Herd rally in the fifth inning with a walk. Hanon singled and Elvis Peralta walked to load the bases. Linder’s single drove in two runs.
Hanon led off the Marshall seventh inning with another single and was erased on a double play.
The Herd put two runners on base in the eighth inning when Rey Pastrana and Jaren Lovely walked, but Jefferies (3-4) escaped damage.
Marshall starting pitcher Ryan Capuano (1-3) was charged with the defeat after going 4 1/3 innings while allowing four runs on five hits and five walks with five strikeouts. Herd pitchers walked 30 in three tournament games - nine in a 12-inning win against No. 3 Louisiana Tech, eight in a loss to Southern Miss - and 13 against Rice.