Tigers Fall to No. 7 Rice In Pitcher's Duel, 1-0
March 23, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Sam Moll threw 7.2 innings and allowed one run on four hits, but Rice (17-7, 1-0) pitcher Matthew Reckling tossed a complete-game shutout as the seventh-ranked Owls topped Memphis 1-0 in the Conference USA opener for both teams at FedExPark on Friday.
After the Tigers' leadoff man in the first and second inning was set down on first pitch outs, Ford Wilson started the third with a first pitch double down the left field line by Ford Wilson. Memphis (9-12, 0-1) attempted to scratch across a run, but Reckling struck out the next batter and a double play ended the frame.
The Tigers moved a runner to scoring position with one out in the fifth as Derrick Thomas reached on an error and stole second. Reckling stranded Thomas on second as he recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the fifth.
Rice right fielder Jeremy Rathjen reached on a dropped fly ball in the sixth. Rathjen stole second to become the first Owl baserunner to reach scoring position in the game. Catcher Craig Manuel bounced a grounder back to Moll for the third out.
Moll issued a leadoff walk to Michael Ratterree in the eighth, but Rice was unsuccessful on the sacrifice bunt attempt as Michael Fude struckout. Rathjen laced a one-out double down the left field line to put runners on second and third with one out. A grounder to second by Shane Hoelscher plated the first run of the game and reliever Patrick Bailey forced a groundout to end the threat.
The tally by Rice in the eighth ended Memphis' 28.1 inning streak without allowing an earned run. In a span of 31.1 innings, Memphis pitchers allowed two runs, including back-to-back complete games by Chase Joiner and Michael Wills.
Zach Willis started a Tiger rally in the ninth as he ripped a one-out single through the left side of the infield. Adam McClain was hit by a pitch to move the potential tying run to second. Eli Hynes grounded out to first, but both runners advanced on the play. Reckling forced a fly out by Jacob Wilson to end the game and leave the tying and potential game-winning run in scoring position.
McClain, Wills and Ford Wilson had the lone hits on the day for the Tigers and the two clubs combined for just seven hits. With a single in the first, McClain extended his hit streak to eight games. Moll recorded his fourth quality start in six outings this season, but dropped to 1-3 on the year.
Memphis looks to even the series on Saturday as Dan Langfield takes the mound. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. at FedExPark.