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Rice Rallies To Avoid Sweep of Cajuns, 12-8

Posted at 6:35 PM, Feb 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-19 19:35:28-05

HOUSTON – Connor Walsh and Pierce Gallo each went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Rice scored runs in its last five innings to erase a 5-0 deficit and earn a 12-8 win over the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in the final game of a three-game series on Sunday at Reckling Park.

Drew Holderbach snapped a 5-5 tie in the fifth inning with a solo home run before Rice (1-2) took the lead for good in the seventh when Manny Garza was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Louisiana (2-1) scored five runs in the second inning off Rice starter J.D. McCracken when CJ Willis drove in a pair of runs with a single, Heath Hood drove in two runs with a single and Carson Roccaforte hit an RBI grounder.

Rice scored three runs in the bottom of the second and added a pair of runs in the fourth, capped by a game-tying RBI single by Guy Garibay, Jr., off Louisiana starter Jackson Nezuh.

Holderbach homered to left off Cajuns' reliever Blake Marshall in the fifth inning before Garza scored in the sixth when Aaron Smigelski was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Willis, who drove in four runs, delivered a game-tying two-run single in the seventh to drive off Rice reliever Tom Vincent (1-0) in Caleb Stelly and John Taylor, but the Owls would take the lead for good in the bottom half of the frame after Ben Tate (0-1) issued a pair of walks and hit a batter to load the bases.

Louisiana's Brendan Moody relieved Tate and hit Garza with a pitch to give Rice the lead for good at 8-7. The Owls would add four runs in the eighth inning with Jack Riedel hitting an RBI single, Max Johnson driving in a pair of runs, and Garibay collecting a sacrifice fly.

Willis, Hood, and Kyle DeBarge had two hits each to lead Louisiana with Conor Higgs adding a double and Mason Zambo hitting his first career home run.

Louisiana will open its 33-game home slate on Wednesday when it opens a four-game series against BYU at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field at Russo Park. First pitch for Wednesday's opener is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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