HOUSTON - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team was a handed a hard-fought 7-2 loss to ninth-ranked Rice Sunday afternoon in the final game of the Rice Invitational at Reckling Park.
"I really thought that for seven innings we went toe-for-toe in all facets," said Islander head coach Scott Malone, whose team is now 4-2. "It wasn't our day offensively. I'd like to think were an offensive team and more often than not we will get the hits when we need them. I hope we can continue the momentum."
After a solo home run in the first, Rice's Michael Fuda teamed with Michael Ratterree to drive in a run each in the third off Brandon Orr to take a 3-0 lead.
The Islanders, who left the bases loaded in the first inning, broke though in the top of the fifth off Rice starter Tony Cingrani for a pair of runs.
Omar Garcia walked to begin the inning and went to third on a double by Jacob Perales. After Garcia scored on a groundout by Jeramie Marek, Trey Hernandez drove in his 11th run of the tournament with a single up the middle.
After Chase McDowell doubled and scored on an Orr wild pitch in the sixth, the Owls would seal the win with three runs in the eighth off Andrew Toppert. Anthony Rendon scored on a single by Rick Hague before Jeremy Rathjen capped the scoring with a two-run double.
"We had a chance to make a play in the eighth on defense to keep it to one run, but didn't," said Malone. "When you play a team the caliber of Rice, you don't get second chances."
Tony Cingrani and Matthew Reckling made the seven runs stand up. Cingrani earned his first win as he allowed a pair of runs on five hits in six innings of work. Reckling picked up the save tossing three innings of two-hit baseball.
Orr was credited with the loss as he scattered five hits over six innings. He allowed four earned runs as he walked three and struck out four. Topper permitted three runs on five hits in 1-2/3 innings of work. Chris Pena recorded the final out of the eighth.
"I really thought Orr gave us another quality start leaving off where Ferdin left off," said Malone. "Toppert pitched well we just didn't make the play behind him to get out of the inning.
A&M-Corpus Christi finished with seven hits in the game led by Marc Damon with two. Fuda led Rice with three of its 10 hits. Rathjen, McDowell, and Ratterree each had a pair of hits.
The Islanders return to Corpus Christi to face Texas A&M-Kingsville Tuesday at Whataburger Field at 6:30 p.m.. It will be the first meeting ever between the sides.