March 24, 2013
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HATTIESBURG, Miss - The Rice baseball team rallied for three runs in the top of the eighth inning before adding one more in the ninth to claim a 6-3 Conference USA road victory at Southern Miss to conclude the league series Sunday afternoon in Hattiesburg, Miss. The Owls won the three-game weekend series two games to one.
Southern Miss starting pitcher Conor Fisk worked well in a career-long 7.0 innings to help the Golden Eagles hold a 3-2 lead heading into the top of the eighth. Rice had better success against the USM bullpen and quickly loaded the bases with two hits and a walk. Geoff Perrott then drew a one-out walk to force in the game-tying run 3-3, but the Owls offense was not finished. Skyler Ewing continued his successful day by driving in the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice, and a USM error on the play allowed another Owl run to score for a 5-3 advantage.
Rice added one more insurance run in the top of the ninth on two hits for a 6-3 final score. The Blue & Gray finished with a total of 11 hits in the game to improve to 18-8 on the season and 2-1 in C-USA action. Southern Miss is 9-14 overall and 1-2 in league play.
The Owls were the first team on the scoreboard. Ewing led off the top of the third inning and blasted a 0-1 pitch that cleared the wall in right field. The round-tripper was Ewing's second of the season.
Southern Miss answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Chase Fowler drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Dillon Day followed with a bunt-hit, but an Owl fielding error on the play allowed Fowler to score and Day to advance to second. Mason Robbins walked and Isaac Rodriguez singled to load the bases. Tim Lynch bunted the second run in to put the Golden Eagles in front 2-1.
The Owls came right back and tied the game in the fourth. Michael Ratterree lined a one-out double to right-center. Ewing then drove him home with his second hit of the day, a two-out single that dropped into right-center.
The Golden Eagles took the lead in its half of the fourth inning. Fowler hit a two-out solo homer to make the score 3-2, and USM held that lead all the way until the eighth.
Junior John Simms started on the mound for Rice and pitched a total of 6.1 innings. He allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and a hit batter. The right-hander finished with eight strikeouts in a no-decision. Freshman Blake Fox was Rice's official pitcher of record to improve to 2-0. Sophomore reliever Zech Lemond pitched the final two perfect frames to earn his sixth save of the season.
The Owls have wrapped-up the three-game C-USA series, but the team still has one more road game in the current four-game stretch. Rice plays at longtime rival Sam Houston State on Tuesday (March 26). Start time against the Bearkats is slated for 6:30 pm.