No. 17 Rice Avoids Sweep By @UofMBaseball by Blanking Tigers 1-0
May 12, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas – A pitching dominated series favored Rice (33-17, 12-9) on Sunday at Reckling Park as the Owls blanked Memphis (32-20, 14-10) in the Conference USA finale for the Tigers.
As was the case in the first two games of the series, the starting pitchers opened the game with several zeroes. Memphis put a runner on second with two outs in the first, but couldn’t advance him. In the second, Drew Griffin hit a double down the right field line, the first extra-base hit in the series for the Tigers, but Griffin wasn’t able to score. Rice had runners on second and third with two outs in the third, but Rice hit fly out to leftfield to end the frame.
Tucker Tubbs led off the fourth with a single and a one-out sacrifice bunt moved him to second. Griffin singled to right field, but the Owls rightfielder made a perfect throw to the plate to retire Tubbs. In the fifth, Keenan Cook hit a leadoff double down the rightfield line and he advanced to third on a one-out grounder to shortstop. A slow roller to third was fielded and the throw to first was in time to strand the potential go-ahead run at third.
After the Owls stranded a Tigers base runner on second in the top of the sixth, Rice grabbed their first lead of the series with a two-out RBI single by Shane Hoelscher. Christian Stringer reached on an infield single to get the frame started and a fly out to deep centerfield allowed Stringer to tag up and advance to second. A strikeout put the second out on the board, but Holescher placed the single into centerfield to plate the Owls run for the 1-0 lead. Hoelscher was thrown out at second to end the frame, trying to extend the single to a double.
Memphis starter Alex Gunn allowed one run on six hits over six innings while walking none and striking out one. Heith Hatfield took over in the seventh and allowed a pair of hits, but stranded Owls base runners on second and third to keep the game at 1-0. Hatfield sat down the side in order in the eighth, but Rice reliever Zech Lemond allowed just one hit in two and a third innings of relief to close out the Rice victory.
Griffin paced the Tigers offense with two hits on the day, but the Owls out-hit Memphis 8-6. Rice pitcher John Simms picked up the win as he pitched seven and two-thirds innings and allowed five hits while striking out six.
Memphis returns to FedExPark for the home finale on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. against Austin Peay.