TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona baseball team saw its five-game win streak snapped as 17th-ranked Rice University pulled away with an 8-5 victory Friday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field.
Ryan Chandler was 3-for-5 with two runs scored to pace an 14-hit attack for the Owls, who delivered clutch hits throughout the contest. The visitors from Houston were a modest 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position, but brought home four two-out RBI that doomed Arizona starter Austin Schnable.
Schnable (L, 1-1) dug a hole early when he allowed two runs in the first, but seemed to settle in over the next few innings.
Riley Moore's two-run home run over the wall in right field tied the game, 3-3, in the bottom of the fourth. But right when momentum seemed to switch over to the Wildcats' dugout, the Owls wrestled it back.
Nine-hole hitter John Williamson led off the top of the fifth with one of his three base hits on the ninth. Chandler followed with a double to put two in scoring position. Productive run-scoring outs from Ford Stanback and Leon Byrd allowed the Owls to regain the lead, 5-3.
Rice (4-2) tacked on two more insurance runs in the sixth inning to take a four-run lead when Kirby Taylor and Chandler delivered timely run-scoring hits.
Arizona (5-1) did not go away easily, however. The Wildcats, who scored single runs in the seventh and eighth, mounted potential rallies in each of the last three innings.
The best chance came in the bottom of the eighth, trailing 8-4.
Jared Oliva, who scored two runs, drove in Moore with a two-out single. Then pinch-hitter Michael Hoard drew a walk to load the bases against reliever Matt Ditman, but the right-hander bounced back to strike out Elijah Skipps, another pinch-hitter, stranding the potential tying run on base.
Starter Kevin McCann (W, 1-0) pitched 6.0 innings with four runs – three earned – for the Owls. He allowed only four hits, but walked three and struck out three.
Ditman earned his second save with 1.1 innings to close the game. He allowed only one hit – an eventually harmless ninth-inning single – to go with two strikeouts and a walk.
Schnable lasted 7.2 innings before exiting. He surrendered eight runs on 13 hits, but did not walk a batter while registering four strikeouts.
Cameron Ming tossed 1.1 scoreless innings in relief of Schnable.
Scott Kingery delivered three hits and a pair of RBI for the Wildcats, who mustered a 4-for-15 clip batting with runners on base. Kingery improved his average to .538 with 14 total base hits through five games.
Arizona will look to even the series Saturday at noon. The game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network.