April 5, 2011
HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team reached double-digit hits and out-hit visiting Louisiana 10-6, but the Ragin' Cajuns slipped away with a 2-0 victory over the Owls Tuesday night at Reckling Park.
Rice had no shortage of base hits, collecting at least ten in a game for the 14th time this season. The Owls were also able to draw six walks and once reach base by a Ragin' Cajun fielding error. Louisiana was able to avoid danger every inning and claim its sixth-straight win to improve to 17-11 on the season. Rice saw its win-streak snapped at five games and fell to 21-12 overall.
Louisiana put the only two runs of the game on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning. Jordan Bourque reached on a fielder's choice and kept the Owls from turning what would have been a key double-play. Bourque then advanced two stations on a single by Alex Fuselier before scoring on a Rice wild pitch. Fuselier later scored on an RBI single by Mike Petello to stretch the margin to 2-0.
Eight of the nine Rice starters hit safely in the game. The Owls were also effective at having its leadoff batter in the inning reach base five times. Three times the Blue & Gray left the bases loaded and when the dust had cleared, the Owls finished with a total of 18 men left on base for the game. The total tied for the most left-on-base in school history, equaling an Owl mark of 18 set in 1953.
In the bottom of the eighth, Craig Manuel led off with a single to left and J.T Chargois was hit by a pitch with one away. Freshman Shane Hoelscher followed with a line-drive into right, by Cajun right fielder Mike Petello made a diving catch on the play to save one, and probably two, runs that would have tied the game.
Rice's pitching was solid on the night while waiting for the Owl offense to break through. Sophomore Jeremy Fant made his first career start and pitched 2.1 innings. Fant allowed both runs on two hits and struck out two. The foursome of Abe Gonzales, John Simms, Tyler Duffey and Tony Cingrani combined to keep the Cajuns off scoreboard for the final 6.2 frames, scattering four singles and totaling eight strikeouts.
The Owls return to Conference USA action this weekend with a key three-game league series on the road at East Carolina on April 8-10. Start times with the Pirates are set for 5:30 Friday, 2 pm Saturday and 9:30 am on Sunday. All times listed are Central Time.