HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team pounded out 15 hits and had solid start on the mound from junior right-hander Austin Orewiler on the way to a convincing 12-1 victory over visiting Stanford in the series finale Sunday at Reckling Park.
The Owls and Cardinal split the four-game weekend series 2-2. Rice end-up holding a 27-15 advantage in runs, with a composite 1.25 ERA from the pitching staff.
Rice took control of the contest early. The Owls jumped on the scoreboard for three runs in the bottom of the first inning on three hits and a walk. John Clay Reeves' drove in two with a single through the left side and scored on Connor Teykl's double to right.
There was still a lot of baseball left to be played after just one inning, but the 3-0 margin proved to be all the room Orewiler would need. The Galveston, Texas, native held the Cardinal in check for a career-long 7.2 innings, scattering just three hits and three walks while striking out one to move to 2-0 on the season.
Orewiler's defense was steady all day long, such as the key double-play to help avoid a run in the top of the second after a leadoff double. The lone Cardinal score was in the third after hitting a batter with two away, followed by a tricky RBI double to left by Alex Dunlap that dropped just inside the line in shallow left field.
"We really had just a quality game - hitting, pitching, and fielding well against a very good team," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "This may have been our best game we've played so far.
"Austin has improved so much," Coach Graham added. "He threw strikes today, which is all we need him to do."
"Yesterday (in a narrow 3-1 loss in game three of the series) we had runners on base and didn't do anything with those chances," he explained. "We had a much better approach at the plate today. We got the lead early and that helped. It was just a great day all-around."
Rice responded to Stanford's run in the third with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame to make it 4-1. The Owls pushed across two more in the fifth on Kirby Taylor's two-out single that drove-in two. The Blue & Gray then exploded for six in the bottom of the sixth that stretched the margin to 12-1.
Orewiler meanwhile was in a groove, retiring 15-of-16 batters before leaving to a loud ovation from the Reckling Park fans in the top of the eighth. He was relieved by southpaw John Williamson, who fanned all four of the batters he faced to end the game.
Reeves led all players with three hits, including a double, to go along with three runs scored. Four different Owls scored at least two runs. Taylor tallied in a career-high four RBI with a pair of hits.
Rice is now 8-5 on the season. Stanford is 6-6 overall. The Owls are next in action with a road game Tuesday night at TCU. The 6:30 pm game is scheduled for a live television broadcast by FOX Sports Southwest-Plus.