Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Norfolk, Va. – Three Old Dominion pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout to help defeat the visiting Rice baseball team 2-0 and complete a three-game Conference USA series sweep of the Owls Saturday evening in Norfolk, Va.
Rice created some offensive chances, with the best coming early in the game. In the top of the third inning the Owls loaded the bases with one away but ODU freshman starting pitcher John Wilson worked out of the jam. The Owls also put runners in scoring position in both the seventh and the eighth with two-away. Rice was a combined 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded a total of eight for the game.
Old Dominion plated a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jared Young singled with one away and moved to scoring position on a grounder to the right side. He scored on Kyle Battle’s single to left field. The contest was a narrow 1-0 margin through the middle of the game. Monarchs added an insurance run, which was unearned after an Owl fielding error, in the bottom of the eighth for the 2-0 final.
As was the case for Friday’s two games of the C-USA weekend set, Rice had solid enough starting pitching Saturday and just needed a timely hit. Versatile Dane Myers started on the mound and allowed four hits while tying both of his season highs in innings pitched (6.0) and strikeouts (5). He also had a hit, drew two walks and played the final two innings at third base.
For all three of the weekend games the Owls’ starting pitchers of Myers, Matt Canterino and Zach Esquivel combined for a 1.86 ERA. The trio allowed just four earned runs and teamed for 22 strikeouts in 19.1 innings of work. Rice lost the three games by a total of four runs. The Owls are now 6-16 on the season and 0-3 in C-USA. Old Dominion improved to 15-4 overall and 3-0 in conference.
Rice has one more game on its current five-game road swing. The Owls play at longtime foe Texas A&M on March 21 (Tues.). First pitch against the Aggies is set for 6:35 pm in College Station.