No. 5 Rice Shuts Down SFA
May 8, 2012
HOUSTON, Texas - Andrew Benak struck out eight hitters in seven innings of work as No. 5 Rice shut down the Stephen F. Austin offense with a 6-0 win on Tuesday at Reckling Park.
No Owl (34-13) hitter had more than one hit on the night, but Michael Ratterree's three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth broke open a 2-0 contest and gave Benak plenty of room to cruise to move to 6-2 on the season with the win.
SFA (19-29) managed seven hits on the night, just one less than the Owls, but was just 1-for-11 with runners on base and was held without an extra-base hit. Brett Higginbotham fell to 2-3 with the loss, striking out two and walking one in four innings of work, but allowing five runs - four earned.
Five SFA relievers combined to go the rest of the way, allowing just one more run, with shutout innings coming from Fabian Arcizo, Cass Ingvardsen and Hunter Dozier, who had a strikeout in a perfect eighth inning.
The `Jacks spread out their seven hits, with seven different players connecting on hits and Freddy Villalobos and Dozier each reaching base twice.
After Higginbotham tossed a scoreless opening frame, the Owls got on the board for the first of three straight innings in the second when Ryan Lewis singled and scored from second on an error on Hunter Dozier off the bat of Michael Fuda. An inning later Rice made it 2-0 with an earned run when Christian Stringer singled home Shane Hoelscher, who had reached on a single of his own with one out in the inning.
Michael Ratterree then broke the game open in the Rice half of the fourth, blasting a three-run homer over the left-center field fence for his sixth bomb of the year, making it 5-0 with Jeremy Rathjen and J.T. Chargois scoring on the play as well. Michael Fuda later added a solo homer in the sixth to push the lead to 6-0.
Meanwhile Benak kept the `Jacks at bay until a scoring threat in the eighth as Zach Benson and Dozier opened the inning with singles, followed by a four-pitch walk to Adam Mann to load the bases with nobody out. But the Owls went to Zach Lemond, who proceeded to strike out Bobby Loveless and Max Lamantia before getting Freddy Villalobos to fly out to kill the rally.
The `Jacks will try and get into the win column again on Friday when it opens a three-game series vs Central Arkansas at Jaycees Field.