Feb. 15, 2013
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Rice junior right-hander Austin Kubitza
posted a career-high 12 strikeouts to lead the Owls' baseball team to a 5-1 victory over visiting Stanford in the season-opener for teams Friday night in Houston.
Kubitza was in command, striking out 12 and without allowing any runs in 6.0 innings of work. The right-hander from Colleyville, Tex., scattered four hits and walked four but he and his Owl teammates kept the Cardinal off the scoreboard. Stanford threatened for runs in the top of the first inning and also had a man in scoring position in both the third and fourth, but Kubitza avoided damage with inning-ending strikeouts in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth.
Rice scratched out a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Senior Christian Stringer drew a leadoff walk and hustled to third as Shane Hoelscher followed with a double to the gap in right-center. Stringer scored on a sacrifice fly by Keenan Cook. Hoelscher dashed for third on the play and then trotted home on a single to left by Skyler Ewing.
It would be all the room Kubitza and reliever Zech Lemond would need, but the Blue & Gray added three more insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth. Geoff Perrott and Leon Byrd collected consecutive singles and Ford Stainback reached on a text-book bunt. A pair of Stanford fielding errors on that play, however, allowed Perrott and Byrd to score and Stainback to reach third base. Stainback scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Ratterree that stretched the Rice lead to 5-0.
The nationally-ranked Cardinal would not go away so easy, and rallied for a run in the top of the eighth. Brian Ragira led off the eighth with a double and scored on Justin Ringo's two-out single to right.
That was the only run Rice allowed. Lemond worked the final three frames, allowing a run on three hits while striking out two to earn a save. On the offensive side Stringer finished with two of the team's seven hits, drawing a walk and scoring a run.
The 4,317 fans Friday at Reckling Park were treated to a sensational college game in the season-opener, and it was only the first of a three-game weekend series between the traditional baseball powers. Game two of the series is set for 2 pm Saturday. First picth Sunday is at 1 pm.