March 27, 2010
MEMPHIS -- The Rice baseball team clubbed 23 hits, including home runs by Anthony Rendon, Diego Seastrunk and Jimmy Comerota, for a 13-4 Conference USA victory over Memphis in the second game of a league double-header Saturday evening at FedEx Park on the Memphis campus in Tennessee. Rice and Memphis split the Saturday twinbill after the Tigers rallied for an 8-7 win in game one earlier in the afternoon.
Eight of the nine Owl starters collected at least two hits in game two. Freshman second baseman Michael Ratterree went 5-for-6 with three runs scored and two RBI. Rendon, Rick Hague and Chad Mozingo all had three hits in the game and the trio combined to score six runs. Rendon knocked his team-leading tenth homer of the season as well as a double to drive in a total of four runs.
Mozingo led off the game with a double and scored on Ratterree's first hit of the game. Ratterree scored on a sacrifice fly by Seastrunk to make 2-0. The Blue & Gray then batted around to score five in the top of the second. The big blow was a three-run homer by Rendon, the 30th of his young career to move him into sole possession of tenth place on the Rice's all-time homer list.
The Owls scored three in the third to take a 10-2 lead. Comerota connected for a two-run homer in the fourth to give Rice its largest lead of the day at 12-2. The longball was his third of the year. Seastrunk hit a solo shot for the Owls' 13th and final run. The round-tripper was Seastrunk's second of the season and the 16th in his career.
Almost lost in all the offensive fireworks was a solid start on the mound by senior right-hander Jared Rogers. The Duncanville, Tex., native worked a season-long 7.1 innings and struck out four without walking any.
The victory was just what the team needed after a heartbreaking loss in game one of the double-header. In the matinee, Memphis rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to claim an 8-7 come-from behind win. Three-straight hits to start the inning, including a double by the Tiger's Chad Zurcher scored two. Two more singles, with the game-winner by Adam McClain with one away, plated the winner to clinch the three-game weekend series.
Memphis jumped out to a 5-1 lead, but the Owls moved in front with a big five-run sixth. Ratterree and Michael Fuda stroked back-to-back singles to start it off and Rendon drew his national-leading 35th walk of the season to load the bases. Seastrunk doubled to right-center to drive in two, with runners still on second and third. Memphis was called for catcher's interference with one away to load the bases. Craig Manuel lined a pitch into right-center to tie the game, 5-5, but the Blue & Gray was looking for more. Comerota blooped a base hit near the line in shallow left field to score the fifth run of the inning and the Owls were in front for the first time, 6-5.
Rice added one more in the seventh. Fuda collected his fourth hit of the game and Rendon singled to put men on first and second. Both runners then took two bases on a failed pick-off attempt at first base for a 7-5 Rice advantage.
The Owls did well to keep Memphis off the scoreboard for five straight innings until the rally in the ninth. Rice is now 13-12 on the season and 1-2 in C-USA action. Memphis moved to 11-13 overall and 2-1 in the conference. Memphis claimed two of the three games in the weekend C-USA series.
Rice wraps-up a current stretch of eight-straight road games on Tuesday night (March 30). The Owls play longtime rival Lamar in Beaumont, Tex., at 6:30 pm. Rice is then back home at Reckling Park to host the University of Houston Thursday through Saturday (April 1-3).