April 1, 2011
HOUSTON - Rice junior Anthony Rendon went 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and a season-high five RBI while freshman pitcher Austin Kubitza fired 8.0 shutout innings to help pace the Owls' baseball team to a 9-0 victory over visiting Conference USA foe Marshall in the opening game of a three-game league series Friday night at Reckling Park.
Rendon was the catalyst behind the Owls' first run of the game in the second inning. The Houston native led off with a double into the right field corner. He moved to second on a ground out and scored on Shane Hoelscher's sacrifice fly.
It was certainly too early to tell at the time, but that would prove to be all the support Kubitza would need on the night. The rookie right-hander proceeded to handcuff the Thundering Herd for 8.0 innings. He scattered three and a walk without allowing any runs while striking out six. The standout from Heritage High School in Colleyville was relieved by Jeremy Fant in the ninth after the Owls built a comfortable 9-0 lead. Fant preserved the shutout, Rice's second-straight at home after blanking crosstown rival Houston 7-0 on March 29 (Tues.).
Kubitza was in command and the Rice hitters soon followed suit. The Owls put five runs on the board in the fifth before adding another in the sixth and two in the eighth. In the fifth, Rendon came to bat with the bases loaded and just one away after two walks and a base hit. He smashed a ground-rule double to left to drive-in two. The third run of that inning, and the fourth of the game, came home on a ground out. Hoelscher then singled-home Rendon again to stretch the margin to 5-0. The Owls took advantage of a Herd fielding miscue to stay alive in the inning before Hoelscher sprinted home on a wild pitch for a 6-0 lead.
In the sixth, J.T. Chargois reached on a fielder's choice and he moved to second base on a balk. Chargois scored on Rendon's two-out RBI single to left-center to make it 7-0. In the eighth, Michael Aquino singled and Daniel GonzalesLuna was hit by pitch. Both men scored on Rendon's liner to left and a 9-0 final.
Rendon's four hits are the most by an Owl this season and the five RBI is tied for the second-highest single-game total on the team this year. He was on base a total of five times after drawing a walk to start the fourth. Hoelscher finished with a hit, two RBI, a run scored and a sacrifice fly.
Rice is now 19-11 on the season and 2-2 in Conference league play. Marshall moved to 10-14 overall and 1-3 in C-USA.
The conference series continues through Sunday with a pair of start times that have been upddated from some earlier listings. Saturday's game begins at 1 pm. First pitch Sunday is 10 am at Reckling Park.