HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team tied a season-high with 16 hits and junior right-hander Austin Orewiler was sensational striking out a career-high 11 in 6.0 innings as the Owls blanked crosstown rival Houston 11-0 Tuesday night at Reckling Park.
Rice won its second-straight game to improve to 24-15 overall. The Owls also evened the season-long best-of-three series vs. UH for the Silver Glove Trophy, 1-1. Houston is now 23-14 on the season.
The Cougars looked ready to jump on the scoreboard early with a pair of baserunners in the top of the first inning, but Rice turned a key double play to end the threat with no damage. The defensive play appeared to give the Owls a lift for the bottom of the frame. In its turn at bat, Rice proceeded to club six-straight hits on the way to a four-run first inning lead.
The Owls weren't quite finished. Rice then added two more runs in the second and another two more in the third for an 8-0 advantage on ten hits.
There was still a lot of baseball left to play after just three innings, but Orewiler was particularly sharp in his seventh start of the season. The Galveston, Texas, native allowed the Cougars just two base hits and a walk in 6.0 scoreless innings of work. He hit three batters on the night, but also fanned a career-high 11 - including two in his final frame.
Orewiler was relieved for the final 3.0 innings by Glenn Otto. The freshman right-hander did not allow any hits to keep the shutout intact, and he also posted five strikeouts of his own for a final staff total of 16 (just one off the season-high 17 from the first week of the season).
"It was just one of those games where we pitched, hit and fielded all very well," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "I knew we were capable of having a good game like tonight, and now I want us to continue to play like this the rest of the way.
"This is a good win because I know Houston is a good team," coach Graham added. "It had been a while since we had beaten them."
Rice ended up pushing the final margin to 11-0 with three runs on three hits and three walks in the fifth. Senior Ford Stainback paced a 16-hit attack going 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Every Owl starter who batted finished with at least one hit, and five players had two hits. A total of nine different Owls scored at least one run.
Rice continues the current homestand through Sunday (April 17). The Owls host Conference USA foe UTSA at Reckling Park starting on Friday. First pitch against the Roadrunners is slated for 6:30 pm.