Rice tops Houston 3-2 in 20, tourney’s 4th-longest game
HOUSTON (AP) — Leon Byrd hit an RBI double down the right-field line, giving Rice a 3-2 victory over Houston in 20 innings early Monday in the fourth-longest game in NCAA Tournament history.
Rice (37-21) advanced to play Louisiana-Lafayette in the regional championship on Monday after winning the game which lasted 6 hours, 2 minutes.
Ryan Chandler singled with one out off Aaron Garza (1-4) to set up Byrd’s double. Tristan Gray followed with a single, but Byrd was thrown out at the plate. Kirby Taylor fouled out to end the inning.
Kyle Survance singled off Austin Orewiler (6-2) to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Josh Vidales and Chris Iriart each flew out, and the jubilant Owls mobbed each other in celebration on the field.
Houston (43-20), which tied it in the eighth on Corey Julks’ home run to send it to extra innings, was eliminated despite setting a program record with 23 strikeouts.
Houston coach Todd Whitting was long gone from the game when it ended after being ejected in the fifth inning. Taylor bunted with Gray on first, and catcher Ian Rice’s throw to second pulled the shortstop off the base — making Gray safe on the error. Whitting came out to argue the play and was tossed by second base umpire Mark Chapman.
John Williamson hit a one-out double in the 16th for Rice. On the next play, Hunter Kopycinski singled to right, but Williamson was thrown out at the plate. Following the play, Williamson and the catcher Rice started yelling at each other and benches began to clear, but the umpires restored order.
Williamson reached with two outs in the 18th on an error, stole second and reached third on another error, but Garza got Kopycinski to ground out to end the threat.
After Rice loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, Charlie Warren hit a two-run single up the middle to put the Owls on top 2-0.
Orewiler (6-2) allowed three hits and struck out seven over 9 1/3 relief innings for Rice. Owls starter Kevin McCanna allowed one run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings before being replaced by Glenn Otto, who also gave up one run but just two hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Garza was the hard-luck loser after striking out 11 and giving up six hits over nine innings in relief for Houston. Cougars starter Kyle Dowdy allowed two runs — one earned — and nine hits with 10 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. He threw 137 pitches.
Survance hit an RBI single in the fifth to cut Houston’s deficit to 2-1.
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