March 10, 2013
After wins in the first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday, the Owls claimed the three-game weekend set two games to one. FIU finished with a total of 13 hits off three Rice pitchers to snap a seven-game losing streak.
It was Rice that came out hitting to start the contest. Three-straight singles by Ford Stainback, Michael Aquino and Christian Stringer put the Blue & Gray on the scoreboard with a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
FIU came back with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the frame. The big blow was a two-out single by Aramis Garcia to drive-in both Panther runs.
The Owls used a big swing to tie the contest in the second. Michael Ratterree drove a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left field. His first homer of the season knotted-up the score, 2-2.
The Panthers then batted around for five runs in the bottom of the second before adding four more in the fourth to stretch the margin to nine, 11-2. The four insurance runs proved to be critical as the Rice offense continued to hit and chipped away for five late runs.
In the seventh, a one-out RBI single by Ratterree added a score and senior Geoff Perrott doubled to left-center to drive in two more. Stainback then started the eighth with his career-best fifth hit of the game. A Panther fielding error put two men on base for Stringer, who followed with an RBI double down the right field line. Connor Teykl's sacrifice fly added the final run to cut the lead down to four, 11-7.
Stainback led all players with five hits, while Stringer and Ratterree both had three hits and two RBI. Freshman Leon Byrd also finished the day with two hits.
The Owls had a solid effort on the mound from freshman Kevin McCanna, who worked a career-long 4.2 innings in relief. The standout from The Woodlands allowed just two hits and a walk with a career-best five strikeouts.
Rice (now 9-7) has wrapped-up the weekend road-swing and next return home to Reckling Park for a seven-game homestand beginning on March 12. The Owls host another future Conference USA opponent, Louisiana Tech, for a two-game midweek series. First pitch Tuesday against the Bulldogs is set for 6:30 pm while Wednesday's game begins at 6 pm.
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