Golden Eagles drop C-USA championship against Rice, 5-4

The infield huddles together to change pitchers against FIU on April 8 at Pete Taylor Park.

After battling out of the losers bracket, the Golden Eagles fell short against Rice in the C-USA championship game, 5-4.

“We fell on the short end of the stick but we competed as well as Rice,” said Head Coach Scott Berry.  “We had a chance but we just couldn’t hang on to it.”

The Golden Eagles began to build a lead in the top of the third inning as Matthew Guidry got on base with the leadoff walk. Mason Irby hit a single and Guidry managed to score on a Rice throwing error.

In the fourth inning, Wallner hit a leadoff solo-home run to extend their lead to 2-0.

Following the middle of the fourth inning, the game entered a one hour rain delay and shifted momentum.

Rice took advantage of the delay and tied the game at 2-2.  A triple led the inning off and then three back-to-back singles scored for its first run. A fielder’s choice scored one more run, but relief pitcher J.C. Keys managed to keep the inning in check.

The Golden Eagles still managed to retain momentum as Guidry led the inning off with a single. LeeMarcus Boyd had similar success as a fielding error helped him reach second on a sac bunt.  A fielder’s choice from Dylan Burdeaux and a double from Mason Irby helped the Golden Eagles take the lead, 4-2.

Rice tied the game again in the top of the eighth inning as it managed to load the bases again.  Relief pitcher Stevie Powers gave up a run on a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice scored the two runs.

Rice took the game in the bottom of the ninth with a walk off hit to avenge last year’s loss.

“If there was ever a year that we should be hosting a [regional], it is this year” Berry said.  “There is no doubt in our mind that our resume is built to be one of those 16 hosts.”

The Golden Eagles will host their regional Friday against UIC at 1 p.m.