March 19, 2010
SAN DIEGO -- The Rice baseball team saw its three-game win streak come to an end with a 6-4 road loss to the University of San Diego in the opening game of a three-game weekend series Friday afternoon at Cunningham Stadium in San Diego, Calif.
San Diego quickly opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Tony Strazzarra singled with one away and back-to-back doubles by James Meador and Victor Sanchez gave the Toreros a 2-0 advantage.
The Owls came right back and tied the game in the top of the third. Steven Sultzbaugh reached on a fielder's choice and consecutive singles by Jimmy Comerota and Chad Mozingo brought Sultzbaugh home. Michael Fuda followed with a double to right-center and the game was even at 2-2.
The Toreros regained the led in the third. Kevin Muno drew a leadoff walk and a balk call moved him into scoring position. Muno took third on a ground out to the right side and scored on a ground-out by Meador for the lead at 3-2. USD added to the margin with another in the fourth. Austin Green clubbed a one-out triple right-center and came home on a sacrifice fly by Steven Chatwood to make 4-2.
In the fifth, Strazzarra singled with one away and Meador drove him home with a double down the left field line. Meador stole third and scored on a Rice error that would have ended the inning, but now the Toreros were up 6-2. The Owls, however, had a big lift in the inning. Senior right-hander Mike Ojala made his first pitching appearance of this season and ended the threat with a strikeout.
Ojala had been sidelined after suffering an injury a year ago and his long-awaited return gave the team a boost. In the team's next at bat Rice got two of the runs back in the top of the sixth. Craig Manuel was hit by a pitch and Diego Seastrunk reached on a fielding error to put men on first and second. Jeremy Rathjen delivered a pinch-hit double down the left field line to drive the runners home and make the score 6-4.
Ojala had a 1-2-3 sixth to end his 2010 debut. In 1.1 innings he did not allow a hit or a walk and struck out two. The Owls fell to 11-8 on the season. USD improved to 10-9 overall.
The weekend series continues through Sunday in California. Start times for the remaining games are set for 1 pm (Pacific Time / 3 pm Central) Saturday and noon Sunday (Pacific Time / 2 pm Central).