Feb. 26, 2013Michael Aquino, and a solid 6.0 inning start on the mound from John Simms, to pace the Owls to a 5-0 road victory over Hawaii in a late game Monday night at Les Murakami Stadium in Honolulu.
With the win Rice improved to 6-2 on the season and completed a four-game sweep of the Rainbows in the weekend series. The Owl pitchers posted two shutouts in the series, including a 2-0 win in a 17-inning marathon in the opener and a 5-0 finale Monday. Eight different Rice hurlers combined for a 1.02 ERA in 44.0 total innings and held the Rainbows to a composite .189 batting average.
The duo of Simms and freshmen reliever Blake Fox did their part to keep the pitching performances as strong at the end as they were in the Friday's opener. Simms scattered five hits without any walks while striking out three in 6.0 innings. Fox followed suit with 3.0 scoreless innings of two-hit relief to earn his first collegiate save.
Rice jumped on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning and later added single runs in the fifth and sixth. For the first score Michael Ratterree walked and hustled into scoring position on a failed Hawaii pick-off attempt. He went to third on a single up the middle by Shane Hoelscher and scored on Aquino's fade-away single to left-center.
Aquino started the fifth with a leadoff single through the right-side. He sprinted to third on Keenan Cook's double down the left field line and scored easily on a sacrifice fly to right field by Geoff Perrott.
The Blue & Gray were aggressive on the basepaths to add a run in the sixth. Ford Stainback led off with a walk and stole second to move into scoring position. He came home on an RBI single up the middle by Christian Stringer to stretch the lead to 3-0.
In the eighth Hoelscher lined a one-out double near the left field line and Aquino followed with a towering home run to left field. Aquino's team-leading third round-tripper of the season made the score 5-0 and left too much ground for the Rainbows to make up in too short a time. The Owl defense had already worked out of a bases-loaded situation in the fifth, as well as avoid danger after Hawaii runners reached scoring position in the fourth, seventh and eighth.
Rice returns home to face national power North Carolina on Friday (March 1) at Minute Maid Park, downtown home of the Houston Astros. Start time against the Tar Heels is slated for 3:30 pm.