March 29, 2011
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HOUSTON - Led by Tyler Spurlin's 6.0 shutout innings, a sterling outing where the sophomore right-hander allowed just two hits with no walks while striking out four in his first collegiate start, the Rice baseball team coasted to a 7-0 victory over visiting crosstown rival Houston in the second game of the annual season-long best-of-five series for the Silver Glove Trophy Tuesday night at Reckling Park on the Rice campus.
After solid appearances out of the bullpen this season, Spurlin was tabbed for his first career start in game two of the year-long series with the Cougars. The former standout from The Woodlands High School responded with an outstanding two-hit performance in a career-long 6.0 innings of work. He surrendered a base hit in the second and then another single in sixth, which was quickly erased from the basepaths by Owl double-play.
Spurlin was relieved in the seventh by Holt McNair and Jeremy Fant, who were equally sharp in keeping the Cougars off the scoreboard. McNair and Fant combined to allow just one walk with no hits while recording one strikeout. The three Rice pitchers did not allow any Houston runners to reach scoring position.
The Owls quickly gave Spurlin some offensive support with four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Derek Hamilton and Ryan Lewis led it off with back-to-back singles. Daniel GonzalesLuna's single to right drove in a run. Then the top of the Rice lineup, Keenan Cook, J.T. Chargois, Anthony Rendon and Michael Ratterree all drew walks to force in two more runs. With the bases still loaded, an infield hit by Shane Hoelscher added one more to stretch the margin to 4-0.
Rice added runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh. In the fourth Cook stroked a leadoff single and moved to scoring position on a sacrifice by Chargois. Cook dashed to third on a wild pitch and came home on a sacrifice fly by Rendon.
Hoelscher started the fifth with a leadoff single and a sacrifice by Hamilton moved him up to second. Hoelscher advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored GonzalesLuna's second hit of the night to make the score 6-0.
The Owls' patience at the plate led to a final run in seventh. The Blue & Gray had one hit and drew a total of three walks in the inning to force in a run and push the margin to 7-0.
Hoelscher finished the night with a career-best three hits, including a double. GonzalesLuna drove in a pair of runs with two hits.
Rice is now 17-11 overall. Houston is now 12-14 on the season. Though both teams are Conference USA members, neither Tuesday's contest nor the first meeting between the teams on March 23 are C-USA league games. The crosstown foes are scheduled to play a three-game C-USA weekend series at UH in May. Those games plus the two this month at Rice comprise the best-of-five series for the Silver Glove Trophy - which is awarded to the winner of the annual series.
The Blue & Gray now lead the 2011 Silver Glove Series 2-0, and need to win only one of the next three (C-USA) games to win the trophy for an 11th-straight year. Rice also extended its streak of consecutive wins over its crosstown rival to 11-straight dating back to the 2009 season.
The Owls are right back in action on Wednesday night (March 30) with a road game at longtime rival Sam Houston State. First pitch with the Bearkats is 6:30 pm at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Tex.
Rice then returns home to Reckling Park for a three-game Conference USA series against league foe Marshall on April 1-3. The start times with the Thundering Herd are set for 6:30 pm on Friday, 1 pm on Saturday and 10 am on Sunday. (Note that the Saturday and Sunday start times are an update from some earlier listings.)