May 7, 2011
HOUSTON - Sophomore Michael Ratterree went 4-for-5 with three RBI, three runs scored, a double and a steal to pace the Rice baseball team's 13-hit attack as the Owls coasted to a 12-6 Conference USA road victory over the University of Houston Saturday afternoon across town at UH's Cougar Field.
With the Silver Glove Trophy already secure back on South Main following Saturday's 8-2 victory over the Cougars on Friday night, there was still the matter of the C-USA series at stake with two more league games to play on Saturday and Sunday.
The Owls responded, and were in fact in high-gear Saturday, scoring runs early, collecting double-digit hits that included a season-high six doubles, and executing a season-high four sacrifice hits. Rice has now clinched the C-USA games of the series (Friday & Saturday) and has now won the first four meetings with the crosstown Cougars in the season-long best-of-five series.
The Blue & Gray quickly put a pair of runs on the board in the top of the first inning. Daniel Gonzales-Luna reached on a catcher's interference and moved to second on J.T. Chargois' sacrifice bunt. He scored on Ratterree's RBI single to center, but the team was not finished. After stealing second base, Ratterree went to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 advantage.
Houston answered with a run in the bottom of the frame. Ryan Still drew a walk and moved to scoring position on a ground ball to the right side. M.P. Cokinos drove him in with a base hit up the middle that made it 2-1.
Rice added another on a two-out rally in the third. Geoff Perrott doubled near the right field line and Gonzales-Luna followed with a double that hugged the line on the left side. The team's third double in the first two innings put Rice in front 3-1.
The Cougars pushed across a run with two out in the third. Still walked and scored on consecutive singles by Caleb Ramsey and Cokinos to make it 3-2.
Ratterree had a hand in the team's a three-run fifth. Gonzales-Luna led off with a perfect push-bunt for base hit and Anthony Rendon drew his NCAA-leading 65th walk of the season. Ratterree then swatted a double to left for a pair of RBI that made it 5-2, and he advanced to third on the play when the ball got away from the UH fielders. The standout from nearby Memorial High School later scored on passed ball for a 6-2 score.
In the sixth Derek Hamilton clubbed the Owls' fifth double of the day and scored on a single to right by Ryan Lewis in a pinch-hitter's role. Rice added three more in the seventh. The big blow was a bases-loaded double by Hamilton, his second of the game and the team's sixth, that made it 10-2.
Houston took advantage of an Rice fielding error to put one more run on the board in the eighth. The Blue & Gray responded with two unearned runs in the ninth. The Cougars would not go away so easy playing at home and clawed-out three more runs in the bottom of the ninth on three hits, a walk and a hit batsman.
Eight different Owls joined in on the hit parade. Hamilton was 2-for-4 day and a pair of RBI and two doubles. Gonzales-Luna was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI. In four games of the 2011 Silver Glove Series, Ratterree is now a composite 10-for-19 (.526) with eight RBI, six runs scored, three doubles and a home run for an. 842 slugging percentage.
Junior Matthew Reckling started on the mound for Rice and notched his fourth win of the season. The right-hander went 6.0 innings, allowing two runs on six singles while striking out three. He was relieved by Abe Gonzales (2.2 IP) and Tyler Spurlin at the end.
The Owls improved to 31-16 overall and 11-6 in Conference USA action. The Cougars are now 22-25 on the season and 9-8 in C-USA play. The series concludes on Sunday. Start time is set for 1 pm. The contest will be televised by Comcast Sports Southwest (CSS) from UH's Cougar Field. The 2011 Silver Glove All-Series team, and the series Most Outstanding Player, will be announced at the conclusion of the contest.
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