March 6, 2010
HOUSTON -- Junior shortstop Rick Hague delivered the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning to lift the Rice baseball team to a dramatic 3-2 victory over longtime rival Texas Tech in Saturday night's finale at the annual College Classic tournament downtown at Minute Maid Park.
With Rice playing as the game's visiting team heading into the top of the ninth inning of a 2-2 contest, sophomore Jeremy Rathjen drew a leadoff walk and slugger Anthony Rendon was hit by a pitch to give the Owls runners on first and second. The Red Raiders were able to retire Rendon at second base on a bunt by Chad Mozingo, but Rathjen moved to just 90 feet away with men now on the corners. Hague then tallied his second hit of the night by lifting a Tech pitch behind third base into shallow left field. Rathjen sprinted home and the Owls were back in front, 3-2.
Rice had its first lead of the game in the second inning when Rendon opened the scoring with a solo home run. The preseason All-America selection blasted a 2-2 pitch into the Minute Maid Park Crawford Boxes for his second longball of the season and a 1-0 Owl lead.
The Blue & Gray manufactured a run in the fourth. Michael Fuda lined a base hit through the right side and stole second to move into scoring position. Rathjen followed with a base hit up the middle, allowing the speedy Fuda to score.
With the narrow lead Rice junior left-hander Tony Cingrani held the Red Raiders in check with another solid start. He had allowed just one hit with four strikeouts in 6.2 innings. There were two outs in the seventh, but Cingrani walked Tech's Taylor Ashby and the next batter, Bonham Hough, followed with a two-run homer. The game was tied 2-2.
Rice right-hander Matthew Reckling
relieved Cingrani and got out of the inning. He then worked out of a jam in the eighth where the Red Raiders had the potential go-ahead run reach third base.
Even after Hague's RBI single put the Owls back in front, there was still the matter of Tech's turn at bat in the bottom of the ninth. Rice true freshman Tyler Duffey answered the call out of the pen and set the Red Raiders down with a 1-2-3 ninth, including a game-ending strikeout. Duffey notched his first collegiate save for Reckling's first win of the season (1-0).
The Owls improved to 6-5 on the season. Texas Tech moved to 7-4 overall. Rice next closes out the Classic with the final game of the downtown tournament against TCU on Sunday at 6 pm.