March 22, 2011
BEAUMONT,Tex. -- Rice sophomore second baseman Michael Ratterree went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three RBI, as well as a critical stop on a ground ball that started a double play in the seventh inning, to help pace the Owl baseball team to a 7-2 road victory at Lamar Tuesday night at Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont, Tex.
Riding a three-game win-streak the Owls went right to work for three runs in the top of the first inning. J.T. Chargois was hit by a pitch while Craig Manuel and Anthony Rendon singled and walked to load the bases. Ratterree followed with a double down the left field line to score two quick runs. Rendon then dashed home on a Cardinal wild pitch for a 3-0 advantage, the team's highest-scoring first inning of the season.
Lamar answered with a run in its half of the inning. Aaron Buchanan was safe on an infield single and he moved to second on a ground out to the right side. He scored on Wade Mathis' single up the middle to make it 3-1.
The Cardinals took advantage of a Rice miscue for a run in the bottom of the third. Kevin Roebuck drew a two-out walk, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a single to center by Buchanan to make it a one-run margin, 3-2.
Rice got the run back in the top of the fifth for a 4-2 lead. Rendon drew his third walk of the night and then hustled all the way around the bases when Ratterree knocked his second double of the game.
Lamar tried to start a rally with two-on and just one away in the bottom of the seventh. The Cardinals looked like it could keep the momentum going with a sharp ground ball hit up the middle, but Ratterree made a diving stop on the play. From the ground he flipped the ball to Derek Hamilton charging-in at short, who fired-on to Chargois at first to to complete an inning-ending double play.
The Blue & Gray then added an insurance runs in the eighth and ninth. Hamilton led off the eighth with a base hit up the middle, and he beat out a throw to second on Ryan Lewis' sacrifice bunt. With runners on first and second, Daniel GonzalesLuna sacrificed the runners up a station and the 90-feet made a difference. Hamilton scored on a Lamar wild pitch that made it 5-2.
Rice started the ninth with a hit batsman and three-straight hits for a run. Another runs cored on a ground out and the Owls had stretched the margin to 7-2.
By design the Owls used three pitchers on the night. Senior left-hander Abe Gonzales made his first start of the season was solid in his 3.0 scheduled innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and a walk. Jeremy Fant pitched a career-long 4.0 innings and was sensational in scattering just three hits and striking out a career-high five batters. Fant earned the win in his first career decision. Freshman John Simms finished the final two frames and kept the heavy-hitting Cards off the scoreboard for his first collegiate save.
With the team's fourth-straight win Rice improved to 14-9 overall. Lamar moved to 16-8 on the season.
Rice next opens a five-game homestand at Reckling Park that lasts through March 29. The Owls host crosstown rival Houston on Wednesday (Mar. 23) at 6:36 pm. The game is the opener in the season-long best-of-five series for the Silver Glove Trophy. The contest will be televised on Comcast Sports Southwest.
The Owls then open Conference USA league play on Friday (Mar. 25) with a three-game weekend series against UCF. The start times with the Knights are 6:30 pm on Friday, 2 pm on Saturday and 1 pm on Sunday at Reckling Park.