No. 7 Rice Tops No. 24 East Carolina, 2-0
April 21, 2012
HOUSTON, Texas - Matthew Reckling tossed a one-hit complete game shutout and added 10 strikeouts as No. 7 Rice (29-11, 10-3) took the opening game of a three-game Conference USA series, 2-0, from No. 24 East Carolina (26-12-1, 8-4-1) Friday night at Reckling Park.
Reckling, who improved to 7-0 on the season, was brilliant in his outing facing four over the minimum, which included a pair of walks and a hit batter to go along with ECU's lone hit in the fifth inning. The right-hander fanned five of the first six batters he faced and retired 11 of his first 13.
ECU starter Kevin Brandt (5-3) suffered the loss despite allowing two runs (both earned) on six hits in his second complete game loss of the season in C-USA action. The southpaw recorded one strikeout, walked a pair and hit one batter.
Of the six hits the Owls recorded on the night, Brandt allowed just one extra base hit, a solo home run by Jeremy Rathjen in the sixth inning that put Rice up 2-0.
The Pirates had a chance to make some noise in their final at-bat, but Christian Stringer made a great defensive play at second turning a game-ending double play off the bat of Drew Reynolds. Philip Clark drew his second walk of the night with one out and took second when Tim Younger was hit by a Reckling pitch. Reynolds stepped to the plate and laced an 0-1 pitch deep in the whole towards first that looked like it was going to load the bases with one out, but Stringer snatched the ball on a one-hopper and turned the 6-4-3 twin killing to give Rice its 18th win in 22 games against ECU.
Rice scratched across the games first run in the bottom of first on a single back up the middle by first baseman J.T. Chargois, which scored Stringer, who led off the game with a single just out of reach of ECU's Younger at second base.
Both teams played stellar defense in the shortest game of the season for each school (1 hour, 38 minutes). ECU recorded a pair of double plays to get out of jams in the fourth and fifth frames, and Rice added one in the ninth.
The two teams will continue the series Saturday, Apr. 21 with a 3 p.m. (EST) first pitch scheduled. Junior LHP Tyler Joyner (5-1, 2.89 ERA) will square off against preseason C-USA Pitcher-of-the-Year RHP Austin Kubitza (4-3, 3.83 ERA).