Weather bumps USM's tourney opener to Thursday

Weather bumps USM's tourney opener to Thursday
The Golden Eagles will conclude spring drills at noon Saturday with the annual Black and Gold Game at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

BILOXI, MS (WDAM) - Weather issues have re-arranged the schedule of the 2018 Conference USA Baseball Championship at MGM Park.

With four, separate lightning delays pushing Wednesday's games back by more than 6 ½ hours, only one game of the four scheduled was completed, as third-seeded Florida Atlantic University broke a 4-4 tie with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 7-4 victory over sixth-seeded Florida International University.

But that game, which was twice stopped by nearby lightning, took nearly seven hours to play in actual time.

The second game, which was supposed to start at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, did not start until 4:43 p.m., and was called at 10:48 p.m., with seventh-seeded Rice University holding a 6-1 lead over second-seeded Louisiana Tech University. Also interrupted by two lightning delays, the teams had managed to get six innings in before the game was suspended.

The long day of stop-and-start play forced conference and tournament officials to move the final two games of the opening round into Thursday.

Thursday's schedule will start at 9 a.m., with fourth-seeded University of North Carolina-Charlotte facing fifth-seeded University of Texas-San Antonio, followed by the conclusion of the Rice-Louisiana Tech game at 12:30 p.m.

Those two games then would be followed by top-seeded University of Southern Mississippi taking on eighth-seeded University of Alabama-Birmingham.

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