March 3, 2013
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HOUSTON - The Baylor baseball team posted three three-run innings and had a solid starting pitching performance to claim a 9-2 win over the Rice Owls Sunday's final game of the annual Astros Foundation Classic held at Minute Maid Park.
The Owls did not win a game at the downtown tournament for the first time since the event's inaugural year of 2001. Rice played Sunday without two of its top three hitters in the lineup - senior second baseman Christian Stringer and junior third baseman Shane Hoelscher. Owl junior pitcher Austin Kubitza was named to the 2013 All-College Classic team after an outstanding game on the mound against No. 1 ranked North Carolina on Friday (9 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of a no-decision).
On Sunday the teams were in a scoreless deadlock for four frames when Baylor plated three in the top of the fifth. Big blow was a two out double by Cal Towey that plated two.
The Bears added three more in the sixth on a three-run homer by Logan Brown to extend the margin to 6-0. All three runs were unearned after an earlier Owl fielding error could have ended the inning.
Baylor added its final three in the last half of the ninth on five hits off the Owl bullpen. Rice continued to fight to the end, and scored twice in its half of the inning. Junior Keenan Cook lined a one-out single up the middle for his second hit of the night. Skyler Ewing followed with a long blast to left that sailed deep into the park's Crawford Boxes. Ewing's first career homer closed out the night's scoring at 9-2.
In his 22nd season at Rice and his 33rd overall as a collegiate head coach, Wayne Graham is all too familiar with different hitting trends. He was clear he wanted to see more offense from the Blue & Gray while playing three games at a hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park.
"Hitting comes and goes," coach Graham explained. "I am ready to (see Rice) get some hits."
With its third-straight loss the Owls fell to 6-5 overall. Baylor improved to 5-6.
The Owls wrapped-up action downtown in the College Classic, but the team still has one more game to play on Monday (March 4) as part of an extended four-game weekend. Rice hosts the University of California at Reckling Park. First pitch with the Golden Bears is slated for 3 pm.