It took twelve innings on Wednesday night at Reckling Park but Houston eventually took the game 8-5 and with it Silver Glove Series from Rice.
Brandon Uhse hit the second pitch of the game for a leadoff single . . . Zach Arnold followed with a single of his own in front of a walk to Alex Lopez to load the bases with no outs . . . A bases loaded walk to Anthony Tulimero gave Houston the early lead . . . A wild pitch brought another run across the plate to give Houston a 2-0 first inning lead.
Rice tied the game almost immediately to reset the game going to the second inning.
Thomas Lyssy led off the top of the fourth inning by reaching base on an error by the Rice second baseman . . . One out later, Drew Bianco hammered a ball to the wall in deep right-center field to score Lyssy from first base . . . Arnold singled home Bianco to give Houston a 4-2 lead.
A leadoff walk to Ian McMillan started the top of the sixth inning . . . Bianco was hit by a pitch to put the first two Cougars batters of the inning on base with no outs . . . Arnold grounded out to second base to move both runners into scoring position . . . McMillan then scored on a wild pitch to give the Cougars a 5-4 lead.
Rice rallied for a run in the ninth to force the game into extra innings.
After two scoreless innings in extras, the Cougars offense delivered a three-run top of the twelfth inning to put the game away . . . Pinch-hitter Cary Arbolida walked with one out to get things started . . . Tulimero then reached base on catcher’s interference . . . Murray then pulled a single into left field as pinch-runner Brandon Burckel was moving with the pitch allowing him to cross the plate easily as the go ahead run . . . Nickens singled to plate Tulimero and the Cougars led by two runs . . . With runners on the corners, a pick-off attempt at first base allowed Murray to steal home for an 8-5 lead.
Owen Woodward came in to handle the bottom of the twelfth inning . . . After allowing a leadoff double, Woodward struck out the next two batters swinging and the final batter looking to strand the runner at second base and give Houston the Silver Glove Series for another year . . . Most of the 2,060 patrons had vacated Reckling Park as the ballgame ran 4 hours and 20 minutes.
The two teams combined to use 21 pitchers in the twelve inning midweek contest, the Cougars themselves used ten arms. In addition to Murray and Woodward, Houston pitched Graysen Drezek, Braedyn Cunningham, Ryan Dollar, Braden Forsyth, Dan Wright, Brendan O’Donnell, Maddux Miller, and Kyle Ayers . . . Only Wright and Ayers pitched more than two innings, with Ayers showing up clutch in the tenth and eleventh innings . . . Ayers got the win and improved to 2-1 this season and Woodward earned his fourth save this year.
Houston will host Wichita State at Schroeder Park this weekend for their second conference matchup of the season . . . The Cougars and the Shockers are tied for first place in the conference right now, so this weekend will create separation one way or the other . . . First pitch Friday night is scheduled for 6:30pm.