For the second straight game, a Rice starter gave his baseball team a chance to beat at top 10 opponent, but this time the Owls couldn’t push enough runs across the plate.
No. 7 Stanford scored a run in the top of the eighth Saturday to take a 3-2 victory and even up the season opening three-game series at Reckling Park in Houston. The series concludes at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Rice junior right-hander Austin Kubitza struck out a career-high 12 batters in the Owls 5-1 victory Friday. Sophomore righty Jordan Stephens got the call in game two and the Alvin native was sharp. He gave up five hits on two runs in the first seven innings.
Stephens struck out Wayne Taylor to start the eighth, before giving up a walk to Brett Michael Doran. Rice coach Wayne Graham decided that would be the last batter for Stephens, who finished with two walks and three strikeouts.
Chase McDowell entered to pitch and gave up a double to No. 2 hitter Justin Ringo. Doran scored on the play to give the Cardinal a 3-2 lead. The next two batters walked to load the bases but Evan Rutter got Alex Blandino to ground into the 6-4-3 double play to escape further harm.
In the bottom of the eighth, Blake Fox singled and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Connor Teykl came into pitch run and he made to third on a groundout.
Michael Aquino, who had accounted for both of Rice runs with homers in the second and fourth innings, was due up next. However, Keenan Cook was called upon to pitch hit. He struck out.
No. 17 Rice (1-1) again got a runner on in the ninth thanks to a Geoff Perrott one out single. Stanford brought in Garrett Hughes to get the last two outs and he proceed to do so by striking out Hunter Kopysinski and enticing Leon Byrd to pop out. Perrott became the eighth and final Rice runner left on base.
Byrd finishes two for five at the plate and Rice first baseman Skyler Ewing reached base twice on a pair of walks.