Southern Miss

Rice tops Southern Miss to set up decisive Game 3

Rice scored four runs in both the second and fifth innings en route to an 11-4 Conference USA victory over No. 16 Southern Miss Saturday afternoon at Reckling Park in Houston

The Golden Eagles (27-9 overall, 11-3 C-USA) had a string of seven-straight road league games end and a nine-game road winning streak snapped in the setback.

Tristan Gray led the Owls (13-24, 4-10) with four of their 16 hits as Charlie Warren, Ryan Chandler and Darryn Sheppard each drove in a pair of runs for the home squad.

Matt Wallner had two of the Golden Eagles’ eight hits as the team used the long ball to score three-fourths of their runs in the contest.

Down 4-1, Dylan Burdeaux extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a solo home run to left field for his seventh of the year in the fifth.

The Owls, though, added four more runs in the bottom of the frame to extend their lead to 8-1.

LeeMarcus Boyd cut the gap to 8-2 with an RBI groundout in the sixth, but Rice again pounded Golden Eagle pitching with three more runs in the seventh.

Southern Miss closed the gap in the ninth with a two-run home run by pinch hitter Jake Viaene to right. With his blast, all 14 Golden Eagles with an at-bat this year have tallied at least one homer.

Zach Esquivel kept Southern Miss in check for five-plus innings allowing two runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts to earn the victory and improve to 3-4 on the year. Willy Amador hurled the final four innings and allowed a pair of runs on three this with three walks and one strikeout to garner his first save.

Golden Eagle starter Hayden Roberts (4-2) allowed six runs on eight hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts to suffer the loss. Southern Miss used five pitchers in the contest.

The two teams play the deciding game of the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday.