No. 15 Rice moves into title game with 4-2 win over UCF
Owls will play crosstown rival Houston at 8 p.m. (EST) on Saturday
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Ronnie Richardson doubled down the right field line to open the inning before moving to third on Taylor's groundout to second. D.J. Hicks delivered another ground ball to the right side to plate Richardson.
Rice went ahead for good in the fifth when it received a sac fly from Shane Hoelscher.
J.T. Chargois produced some insurance in the fifth when he went yard with one out to make it 4-2.
UCF looked as though it may tie the game in the sixth. Gonzales was pulled after a two-out double by Breen. Reliever Jeremy Fant proceeded to walk Shreve and balked the tying runs into scoring position. He would, however, strike out Sweeney to end the threat.
The Knights had two on again in the seventh, this time with just one out after consecutive walks. However, Wayne Graham inserted closer Tony Cingrani for an extended relief appearance and he delivered. Cingrani, who collected his 12th save, avoided trouble and allowed just two hits over the final 2 2/3 innings.
With the victory, Gonzales improved to 7-2 on the season.
Chase Bradford was charged with the loss for UCF and falls to 6-2. Bradford gave up four runs--all earned--on six hits in 4 2/3. Johnny Sedlock gave the the Knights' bats a chance by pitching 3 1/3 of shutout relief during which he allowed just one hit and a walk.
Michael Fuda, who went 2-for-3, was the only Rice player with a multi-hit game. The Owls were outhit, 9-7, by UCF.
D.J. Hicks and Ryan Breen had three hits each to lead the Knights.
Rice will now face cross-town rival Houston at 8 p.m. (EST) in Saturday's championship game. Meanwhile, UCF will return home and await its NCAA Tournament destination after concluding pod play with a record of 2-1.
Article by Thomas "Bubba" Rosenbaum -