No. 19 Rice Slugs Past Memphis, 10-1
May 25, 2013
HOUSTON - No. 19 Rice (40-17) slugged their way past Memphis (35-24) 10-1 to clinch a spot in the Conference USA Championship game on Sunday at Reckling Park. The Tigers fell behind early as Rice scored 10 runs over the first five innings in the Tigers final outing as a member of C-USA.
Rice jumped to an early lead as a two-out double tucked inside the third base line scored two runs for the Owls. Rice was the visiting team due to a coin flip before the tournament so the host team hit first. A bloop single with one out by Christian Stringer got things going and a single through the left side with two outs had two runners on. Shane Hoelscher tucked the double just past the third base bag to plate the two runs, but Rice stranded runners on first and second to end the frame.
The Owls poured on four runs in the second to open a 6-0 advantage to knock Conference USA Pitcher of the Year>Erik Schoenrock out of the game. Schoenrock forced a fly out to the leadoff man, but a walk and two singles loaded the bases before Michael Ratterree hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0. With runners on the corners, Michael Aquino tripled to rightfield and two more runs score for a 5-0 lead.
Hoelscher picked up his third RBI in two innings as he singled to centerfield to make it 6-0. Reliever>Craig Caufield was summoned from the bullpen and he struck out the first batter he faced to end the damage.
Stringer tacked on a RBI single in the top half of the third to put the Owls up 7-0, but Memphis tried to claw back in the bottom of the frame. The Tigers got the leadoff man on in the first and second innings, but double plays erased the runner.>Austin Hatfield started the third with a double to the rightfield corner, but it took a two-out RBI single by>Zach Willis to break into the score column. A two-out walk had two runners on, but Rice escaped further damage to end the third with a 7-1 advantage.
Two more runs scored in the fourth to put the Owls on top 9-1. Rice used a leadoff single and a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third and an infield single plated a run for an 8-1 deficit. Rice hit their second sacrifice fly of the game to make it 9-1. Two wild pitches advanced a runner from first to third, but reliever>Jon Reed escaped further trouble with a strikeout to end the inning. Rice tacked on another in the fifth with a RBI single by Keenan Cook.
Memphis managed four hits in the game while Rice pounded out 14 on the afternoon. Schoenrock took the loss as he allowed six runs on seven hits. Owls starter John Simms pitched 8.1-innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out six.
The Tigers close the season with a 35-24 mark, the third-straight season with 30-plus wins. If the Tigers get called to play in the NCAA Tournament, their name would be called on Monday at 11 a.m.