Feb. 25, 2011
HOUSTON -- The Rice baseball team used a big, seven-run inning in the fifth and and an RBI single by freshman Derek Hamilton in the seventh to help lift the Owls to a 10-7 victory over the visiting USC Trojans Friday at Reckling Park in Houston.
Rice came from behind to post its second-straight win after USC pushed across runs in the top of the first, fourth and fifth to take a 3-0 lead midway through the contest.
The Owls exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fifth. A walk by Austin Kubitza and a single by Michael Ratterree quickly put two men on base and J.T. Chargois delivered an RBI double to the gap in left-center. With first base open the Trojans elected to intentionally-walk Anthony Rendon and the next batter, Jeremy Rathjen, laced a single through the left side to tie the game 3-3.
The Blue & Gray was still looking for more. With one away, junior Michael Fuda tallied the second of his three hits on the night with an RBI single to give Rice the lead at 4-3. Sophomore outfielder Ryan Lewis followed with a home run blast to right field for a 6-3 advantage. Freshman Derek Hamilton drew a walk and moved into scoring position with a stolen base. Hamilton scored on freshman Keenan Cook's single to left that stretched the lead to four, 7-3.
The Trojans came right back with two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to tie the game, 7-7, at the seventh inning stretch. In the bottom of the frame Fuda singled to left, moved to second on a fielder's choice and scored on a single through the left side by Hamilton to make it 8-7.
Rice added two more in the bottom of the eighth when Chargois drew a leadoff walk and Rendon followed with a two-run homer to left. Rendon's first round-tripper of the year was also the 47th of his career, the third highest total in school history.
Sophomore right-hander Andrew Benak earned the win with 2.0 innings of relief work. Senior Abe Gonzales fired the final 1.2 innings to earn his first save. Gonzales did not allow a run or base hit while striking out four.
Rice improved to 3-3 on the season. USC dropped to 3-2 overall. The second game of the three-game weekend set is slated for Saturday at 2 pm at Reckling Park. The series finale is Sunday at 1 pm.