Panthers suffer tough 8-4 loss against Rice University

Brett Shweky // Staff Writer

The Rice Owls put together a three-run inning in the sixth to soar past the FIU Panthers, 8-4, Saturday afternoon at Reckling Park in Houston.

FIU (12-10, 1-3 Conference USA) drops the first game of the doubleheader against Rice University (7-17, 1-3 Conference USA).

The Panthers pounced on an early lead in the top of the first when freshman infielder Javier Valdes singled to left field, allowing senior right fielder Christian Khawam to score for the early 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, sophomore catcher Dominic DiCaprio responded back with a three-run homer to left center, scoring junior center fielder Ryan Chandler and sophomore shortstop Ford Proctor for the Rice 3-1 lead.

FIU responded back in the top of the second, when senior first baseman JC Escarra scored on an error by the first baseman Darryn Sheppard, bringing the score to 3-2 Rice. Senior shortstop Irving Lopez tied the game for the Panthers when he singled to right field scoring junior left fielder Jack Schaaf, who earlier reached on an error by freshman starting pitcher Matt Canterino (W, 2-1).

 Canterino pitched through six innings, striking out six FIU batters and giving up five hits and four runs. The freshman right-hander was replaced by freshman right-hander Addison Moss, who threw the remaining three innings.

The fifth and the sixth innings proved to be critical for the Rice Owls, as the team scored four unanswered runs.

In the the bottom of the fifth, the Owls scored the game-leading run when Chandler scored off a sacrifice fly by senior designated hitter Dayne Wunderlich, 5-4 Rice.

Proctor got the bottom of the sixth going for Rice doubling down the right field line scoring Sheppard. Rice followed with back-to-back RBI singles by junior third baseman Dane Myers bringing the score to 8-4.  

Freshman right fielder Adam Sevario said that for the team to get off to a quicker start against Rice in the next game they must get the lead-off guy on base at a more successful rate.

“For us to have a quicker start in games, we need to get the lead-off batter on base a lot more,” said Sevario. “That’s the most important thing to me. We gotta find ways to get on base earlier on the game, we can’t always be the comeback team.”
The second game of the doubleheader will be played immediately following the conclusion of the first game. Senior right-hander Chris Mourelle will get the nod for the Panthers in Game Two of the three-game series, while sophomore right-hander Zach Esquivel will take the mound for the Owls.

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