April 26, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Rice rode a pair of solid pitching efforts from Blake Fox and Trevor Teykl and had just enough offense to slip past Southern Miss 3-2 in Saturday's second game of the three-game Conference USA weekend series in Hattiesburg, Miss.
With a 5-0 win in the Friday night opener Rice has clinched the first two games of the series. The Owls improved to 31-14 overall and lead the conference standings with an 18-5 ledger. Southern Miss is 25-19 on the year and 13-7 in C-USA action.
The Golden Eagles were quick to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. Breck Kline singled down the left field line and Michael Sterling was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Both advanced on Tim Lynch's sacrifice bunt. Kline scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Durst.
Rice's offense was held in check for five frames but broke through in the sixth. Keenan Cook led off by lining a triple off the centerfield wall. He trotted home on Charlie Warren's looping base hit into shallow right-center field for a new 1-1 game.
Putting the leadoff man on base was a key in the sixth. The Owls did it again in the seventh and moved in front. Chase McDowell led off with a double to right-center and a bunt for a base hit by Shane Hoelscher put runners at the corners. Hoelscher went to second on a wild pitch. Another wild pitch on a walk to Connor Teykl allowed McDowell to dash home and give Rice a 2-1 lead with Hoelscher taking third. Hoelscher scored on a bunt by Ford Stainback to make the score 3-1.
The Golden Eagles quickly fought back for a run in the bottom of the inning. Sterling beat-out an infield hit and went to third on single by Lynch. He scored on Durst's second sacrifice fly to make it a one-run game again, 3-2.
That was the lone damage to Fox in his team-leading eleventh start of the season. The sophomore left-hander worked a total of 6.2 innings, scattering eight hits and two walks while striking out three. He was not out of danger when he left with the bases-loaded in the bottom of the seventh, but Teykl came out of the bullpen and immediately the inning with a strikeout.
Teykl pitched two more hitless frames to earn his third save of the season. Fox improved to 9-0 on the year and he remained undefeated in his collegiate career with a 15-0 Rice record.
The C-USA weekend series concludes Sunday at Southern Miss' Pete Taylor Park. First pitch is slated for 1 pm.