Feb. 22, 2014
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HOUSTON -- The Rice baseball team had a season-high 12 hits and another strong showing on the mound to claim a 9-1 victory over visiting Purdue in Saturday's second game of the three-game weekend series at Reckling Park.
Eight of the nine Rice starters in the batting order hit safely while Skyler Ewing, Michael Aquino, Hunter Kopycinski, and Keenan Cook all finished with two hits on the day. The win over the Boilermaker's was the second-straight in the series. The finale between the teams is set for 1 pm Central Time.
Rice pitchers held Purdue to a single-run for the second-consecutive game, but it was the Boilermakers that went right to work for a score in the top of the first inning. With two away Sean McHugh singled and Kyle Wood doubled to put runners on second and third. Kyle Upp followed with an RBI single to right for a 1-0 advantage.
The Owls batted around to register five runs in the bottom of the second on six hits. The big blow was a two-run double to left-center by Shane Hoelscher. The Blue & Gray added single runs in the third and fourth before two more in the seventh off a total of five Purdue pitchers.
Sophomore left-hander Blake Fox made his second weekend start of the season and picked up his second victory with 5.1 innings of work. Fox helped his own cause in the top of the fifth when Purdue loaded the bases with one away. He snared are hard line drive back to the mound and then doubled-off a runner at first base to end the threat.
"Every day we try and work on our pitcher's defense, fielding ground balls and covering first base, but there is just no way to practice for a play like that," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "It's a great heads-up play you hope your pitcher can make. The game looks a lot different without that double play.
"I did think this was our best hitting day so far, hitting the ball hard a lot of times," Graham added. "Hitting comes and goes, but we hit well today."
For the final innings Rice had solid outings on the mound by Evan Rutter, who entered in the sixth and induced a double-play grounder of his own to go along with four strikeouts in 2.2 shutout frames. Trevor Teykl fired the final scoreless inning in the top of the ninth.
Rice improved to 5-2 on the season. Purdue is now 0-5.