HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team exploded for ten runs in the bottom of the first inning and junior left-hander Blake Fox had a solid start on the mound in the Owls 11-4 home victory over Southern Miss in Saturday's second game of the Conference USA weekend series at Reckling Park.
Rice posted double-digit runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back on the way to securing the second-straight win of the conference clash. The Owls sent a total of 14 batters to the plate for its biggest offensive inning of the season.
The Blue & Gray clubbed nine hits, had one batter hit by a pitch and took advantage of a Southern Miss fielding error in the frame. Leon Byrd had two doubles and three different players scored twice in the inning. The big hit was a two-run homer to right field by sophomore Charlie Warren for the first round-tripper of his collegiate career.
Ten early runs was more than enough support for Fox, who went on to register his best outing of the season. The Houston native scattered eight hits over a season-long 7.0 innings. He did not walk any batters and finished with a season-best seven strikeouts.
Southern Miss continued to fight, and scored two runs off Fox in the top of third on Taylor Braley's two-out RBI single. The Golden Eagles added a third run in the top of the seventh on Chuckie Robinson's RBI single to left.
That was the lone damage Fox allowed to improve 3-0 on the year. The southpaw also remained undefeated in his collegiate career, upping his Rice record to 21-0 dating back to his freshman campaign in 2013. USM added one final run in the ninth off the Owl bullpen.
Rice's 12th run of the contest was in the bottom of the fourth on a solo home run to left-center field by senior catcher John Clay Reeves. Reeves and true freshman Ryan Chandler both finished the day with three hits each in a 12-hit attack.
The Owls improved to 19-10 overall and 9-2 in C-USA league play. Southern Miss is now 14-10-1 this season and 3-4 in conference. The three-game series concludes Sunday (March 29). First pitch is set 1 pm.