April 3, 2011
HOUSTON - Freshman Shane Hoelscher knocked a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the tenth inning to score Anthony Rendon from first base and lift the Rice baseball team to a 5-4 Conference USA victory over visiting Marshall in the finale of a three-game league series Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park.
Rice completed a three-game sweep of the C-USA weekend series with the Thundering Herd and improved to 20-11 on the season, 4-2 in conference. The Owls also posted their fifth-straight win of the season thanks to Sunday's two-out rally in extra frames.
With one out and the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the tenth, Rendon drew his fourth walk of the game and 43rd free pass of the season. Rendon had stolen second base in his previous walk in the eighth, but Marshall appeared to be working out of the inning with a pop-up for the second out. Hoelscher, who gave the team a dramatic lift in Saturday's second game of the series with a game-tying three-run home run, delivered a line drive into right field. Rendon sprinted around the bases with the winning run to break the deadlock. It was Rice's first win in four extra-inning games this season.
In a similar pattern to Saturday's contest, Marshall had taken the game's early lead after an Owl fielding error in the top of the first inning. The Herd loaded the bases on a pair of walks and an error. Isaac Ballou scored on a hit up the middle by Nathan Gomez for a 1-0 Marshall lead.
The Herd added another unearned run in the third. Victor Gomez reached on a two-out error, and a hit batsman and walk loaded the bases. Gomez came home on a wild pitch that made it 2-0.
Rice came right back in the bottom of the inning with a two-out rally to take the lead. With two away Ryan Lewis singled, Keenan Cook was hit by a pitch and J.T. Chargois walked. Michael Fuda followed with a single to right field to drive in two and tie the game. Chargois then scored on a Herd wild pitch to put the Owls in front 3-2.
In the bottom of the fourth Cook walked and hustled to third on a base hit by Chargois. Cook scored on a ground ball that stretched the lead to two, 4-2.
Marshall battled back and tied the game in the eighth. Nathan Gomez and Steven Ross started the inning off with consecutive singles. Both runners advanced on a balk and came home on a base hit by Kenny Socorro for a 4-4 game.
The Owls had the potential winning run in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings, but the Herd worked out of both threats. Hoelscher's double in the tenth was his seventh of the season. Fuda posted his sixth game with two or more RBI. Cook scored twice while batting from the top spot in the order.
Junior right-hander Matthew Reckling started on the mound and worked a total of 6.0 innings. He did not allow an earned run and struck out eight in a no-decision. Senior Tony Cingrani pitched 3.0 innings after helping the Owls out of jam in the seventh. Sophomore Tyler Spurlin improved to 2-0 after a perfect inning of relief in the top of the tenth.
The Owls conclude the current homestand on Tuesday, April 5, with a game against Louisiana-Lafayette. Start time with the Ragin' Cajuns is set for 6:30 pm at Reckling Park.