March 15, 2014
MIAMI, Fla. - The Rice baseball team posted a total of 15 hits and had a solid 8.0 innings of work from starting pitcher Blake Fox to defeat No. 19 ranked Conference USA foe FlU 10-2 Saturday afternoon in Miami, Fla.
The Owls, now 14-6overall and 4-1 in C-USA league play, have won both of the first two games of the three-game weekend series. The series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 10 am Central Time (11 am Eastern).
Rice overcame a deficit before winning by a comfortable eight-run margin. In the bottom of the second inning the Panthers collected three-straight one-out singles to load the bases. A run scored on a fielder's choice where FIU beat-out a near double-play grounder, but that was the only early damage Fox would allow in his fifth start of the season.
Fox's teammates on the offensive side quickly backed him up with a pair of four-run innings. In the top of the third, back-to-back two-run doubles by John Clay Reeves and Chase McDowell put Rice on top 4-2. The Owls then had three more hits and a walk while taking advantage of three FIU fielding errors for four more runs in the fourth that stretched the margin to 8-1.
That was more than enough room for Fox. All FIU could manage the remainder of the contest was a final run in the eighth. The Owls' sophomore left-hander proceeded to work into the ninth inning for his longest outing of his Rice career. He allowed just the two runs in 8.0 innings and though the Panthers recorded ten hits of their own, Fox did not walk any until the ninth. Four of his six strikeouts on the day helped end FIU threats.
The Owls weren't quite finished at the plate and scored in the seventh and the eighth to reach double-digit runs for the second time this week. With 15 hits there was a wealth of Rice offensive stars. Reeves finished the game a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate with a double and three RBI. Leon Byrd had three hits, including a triple and two runs scored. Shane Hoelscher and Ford Stainback both had two hits each.
FIU, ranked as high as No. 19 in the national polls, lost for only the third time this season. The Panthers are now 16-3 overall and 3-2 in conference.