The duo of Michael Ratterree and Michael Fudaboth went 3-for-5 with a double, one RBI and a run scored to lead a 12-hit attack as the No. 4 ranked Rice baseball team defeated visiting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 7-2 Wednesday night at Reckling Park in Houston.
The Rice offense reached double-digit hits for the fifth time this season and four different Owl pitchers combined in a solid effort on the mound. Pitchers Chase McDowell, Zech Lemond, John Simms and Austin Kubitza struck out ten and didn’t allow any walks in the contest.
“We were able to get the work-in we wanted (with the pitchers),” said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. We competed alright and we got them out. We had some production from the top half of the lineup, which was good to see.”
The Owls struck first for runs in the bottom of the second inning on a pair of walks and an Islander fielding error. Christian Stringer delivered a two-out, base-loaded single through the right side and Fuda followed with a base hit to left for the early 3-0 Rice advantage.
The Islanders answered with two runs in in the top of the third. Three-straight singles to start the frame loaded the bases and where the Owls were able to turn a double-play for two outs, a run came home with another still on base. A base hit by Drew Vest made it a 3-2 game put it proved to be the lone damage of the night.
Rice added two more runs in the fifth and another two in the seventh. Fuda hit a leadoff single, stole second base and advanced to third on a fielding error. He scored on a base hit to left by Ratterree, who later scored on an RBI single by Derek Hamilton. Jeremy Rathjen started the bottom of the seventh with a single and a stolen base. Hamilton and J.T. Chargois drew walks to load the bases and Rathjen and Hamilton scored on Craig Manuel’s two-out opposite-field single to left to stretch the margin to five (7-2), which held as the final.
Rice improved to 12-2 on the season. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is now 7-7 overall. Redshirt sophomore Chase McDowell worked 3.0 innings in his longest outing of the season after being sidelined most of last season. True freshman Zech Lemond earned his first career victory on the mound with 3.0 scoreless frames, scattering two hits and striking out four.
“It was a good effort from the team tonight – pitching, hitting and defense in the field,” Ratterree said. “It was important for us to come out and play well after last night and before getting back out on the road.”
The Owls’ homestand was only a single game. Rice is back out on the road for a three-game weekend series against national power Stanford on March 9-11. Start times against the Cardinal are set for 7:30 pm Friday, 3 pm on Saturday and 2 pm Sunday. All start times are listed as Central Time.