Baseball: Rice 5 Hawaii 3

Hawaii opens up conference play on the road falling to the defending national champion Owls.

HOUSTON, Texas - The University of Hawai`i Rainbow baseball team (14-8, 0-1 WAC) fell to the No. 7 Rice Owls (15-5, 4-0 WAC) 5-3 in front of a crowd of 3,064 at Reckling Park Friday. Ricky Bauer (5-2) lost for the first time in six starts, giving up five runs in a complete game, while Jeff Niemann (3-2) got the win for the Owls. Wade Townsend picked up his second save of the year for Rice.

Andrew Sansaver went 1-for-4 with two RBI and a double while Matthew Inouye went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Jaziel Mendoza added a 1-for-4 game with a run and one RBI while Brian Finegan went 1-for-4 with a run.

The Owls took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Chris Kolkhorst doubled down the left line before moving around to score on two groundouts. Rice added another run in the bottom of the second, making it 2-0 after two innings.

Austin Davis then added on in the third inning, smacking a two-out, two-run home run to make it 4-0.

But the 'Bows weren't going to give up that easy as Finegan and Inouye hit singles before Mendoza hit a RBI-single. Rocky Russo was then hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to load the bases. Sansaver then hit a double, scoring both Inouye and Mendoza, before Russo was thrown out at the plate 7-6-2.

Bauer did hold the Owls down, retiring 11 straight batters after the Rice home run. On the game, the junior struck out three with just one walk.

Rice scored an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth before Townsend came in and retired the Rainbows in the ninth, clinching the game for Rice.

The two teams will meet again tomorrow as Stephen Bryant pitches against the Owl's Philip Humber. The game is set to start at 3 p.m. Hawaii time.

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