HOUSTON (Feb. 10) — Jesse Roman’s two-out RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted seventh-ranked Rice (6-0) to a 5-4 win over top-ranked Georgia Tech (1-1) in the the second day of action at the Crowne Plaza/Rice Invitational at Reckling Park on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 4-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, Rice rallied for two runs, all after two outs. Jose Enrique Cruz drew a walk and then took second base on an infield hit from A.J. Porfirio. A RBI single to left field from Hunter Brown plated Cruz, while Porfirio scored on Roman’s double to right field.
Rice’s Phillip Barzilla (2-0) picked up the win in relief while Tech’s Jeff Watchko (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing two runs in 0.2 innings of work.
The Yellow Jackets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Mark Teixeira blasted an 0-2 pitch over the right field wall for his first home run of the season.
Rice knotted the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Jesse Roman led off the inning with a double to left center and then came around to score on a one-out single from Matt Fox.
Tech’s Jason Perry gave the Yellow Jackets the lead again in the fifth with a two-out solo home run to right field to make the score 2-1. Rice’s Austin Davis answered with a solo homer, his first of the season, in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score at 2-2.
Rice took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Cruz doubled douwn the right field line after the ball hit the first base bag and eluded Tech first baseman Jason Perry. After Porfirio popped up to second base, Cruz stole third base and scored on a RBI single from Brown.
Tech rallied with two runs in the top of the eighth to take a 4-3 lead. Tyler Parker led off the frame with a double to left center and moved to third base on Brad Stockton’s single to right. Parker came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Matthew Boggs, while Stockton took second on the play after the throw was made to home. Richard Lewis’ groundout to second base advanced Stockton to third with two outs, and Stockton came around to score on a wild pitch from Barzilla.
Both starters pitched well but did not figure in the decision. Tech’s Steve Kelly allowed three runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings while recording three strikeouts. Rice’s Kenny Baugh surrendered three runs on seven hits while striking out six in seven-plus innings of work.
Georgia Tech will face fourth-ranked Nebraska on Sunday at 12 p.m. CST in the final day of action at the round-robin Crowne Plaza/Rice Invitational. Rice will face Lamar at 3:30 p.m.