Owls Get Offensive, Thump Louisiana Tech Wednesday Night 15-2

Shane Hoelscher
Sid Richardson College

May 8, 2013

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RUSTON, La. - The Rice duo of Michael Aquino and Shane Hoelscher had four hits each as the Owls baseball team posted new season-highs in runs (15), hits (21) and doubles (8) on the way to a 15-2 road victory at Louisiana Tech Wednesday night in Ruston, La.

Rice got offensive for its highest hit total since the opening game of the 2011 NCAA Regional (22 vs. Alcorn State). Seven different Owls had at least two hits in the contest and it wasn't just soft singles. Six players hit a total of eight doubles to go along with two home runs. The result was the Blue & Gray scored runs in seven of the nine innings.

The Owls' top three hitters in the order, Leon Byrd, Christian Stringer and Michael Ratterree combined for eight runs scored while Aquino drove-in a career-high five runs on four hits.

Almost lost in all the offensive fireworks was a solid start on the mound by true freshman Kevin McCanna. The right-hander from Houston allowed two runs in 6.0 innings while tying a career-high with five strikeouts. Relievers Matt Ditman and Tyler Spurlin were just as sharp out of the bullpen to finish out the final three scoreless frames.

Rice improved to 32-15 with its sixth win in the last seven games. La Tech fell to 16-33 overall.

The Owls set the tone by quickly jumping on the board for a run in the top of the first. Stringer lined a hard shot to the right side that the Bulldogs were able to touch, but only deflect away. The senior second baseman alertly hustled his way to scoring position for a one-out double. Ratterree followed with an RBI single for a 1-0 advantage.

La Tech came right back and tied it in the bottom of the first. Bulldog catcher Tyler Qualls hit a one-out homer to right to make it 1-1.

The Owls responded with a longball of their own to regain the lead. Ford Stainback started the second inning with a single before Skyer Ewing blasted a one-out pitch over the 13-foot high wall in left field. His fourth homer of the season gave Rice a 3-1 lead it would not relinquish.

Both teams added a run in the third. For Rice, Keenan Cook sprinted to stretch a single to right-center into a double. His heads-up play turned into a run as Hoelscher followed with an RBI single. The Bulldogs tallied a run in their half, but that was after loading the bases with no outs. The Blue & Gray turned a double-play that helped keep the score at just 4-2.

Rice then went deep again for two more runs in the fourth. Geoff Perrott reached with leadoff single and Stringer drove a pitch out of the park to right. His first round-tripper stretched the margin to 6-2. The Owls broke the game wide-open with a five-run sixth that featured three doubles. Three more runs in the seventh and a final score in the ninth finished the night at 15-2.

Rice has concluded its four-game road swing. The Owls next return home to Reckling Park for a three-game Conference USA series against Memphis beginning on Friday (May 8). Start time Friday against the Tigers is 6:36 pm. The contest is scheduled for a television broadcast by Fox College Sports.





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