Sophomore Corey Thompson
April 24, 2010
HOUSTON, Texas - Jimmy Comerota and Rick Hague each collected four hits including home runs and Taylor Wall struck out nine as Rice took game one of the three-game Conference USA series from No. 21 East Carolina in easy fashion Friday night, 20-3. With the win the Owls improve to 24-16 overall and 9-4 in league play, while the Pirates drop their third straight game to fall to 24-15 and 6-4.
Rice, who entered the contest as the top hitting team in league action, torched the Pirates pitching staff for 20 hits, seven for extra bases, with five Owls recording at least two hits. Joining Comerota and Hague in the hit fest were Abe Gonzales (2 hits), Chad Mozingo (3) and Anthony Rendon (3). Comerota and Mozingo led the Owls with four RBI a piece, while Hague and Gonzales added three each.
Wall (3-4) was sharp in his 11th outing of the year allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits in seven innings of work. Mark Haynes tossed two innings of perfect relief retiring the side in the eighth and ninth frames.
Zach Woods (5-2) suffered his first loss in C-USA action after surrendering 10 runs (all earned) on 12 hits in five innings with five punch outs. D.J. Jauss made his fifth appearance out of the bull pen giving up five runs (all earned) on four hits and Mike Anderson closed the game working the bottom of the eighth where he allowed five runs (one earned) on four hits with a strikeout.
Rice wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard taking a 3-0 lead in the first. Rendon plated the first run on an opposite field double off of the first pitch he saw from Woods that scored Hague. Two batters later, Comerota singled up the middle scoring Jeremy Rathjen and Rendon.
Hague led off the third with a solo shot to left center and Diego Seastrunk doubled home Rendon to push the Owls lead to 5-0 in the third stanza.
Three consecutive hits to right field by Corey Thompson, Kyle Roller and John Wooten helped the Pirates score a run in the fourth. With the bases loaded, Devin Harris lifted a Wall pitch to center field scoring Thompson to pull ECU with in four, 5-1.
Mozingo scored the Owls sixth run of the contest in the bottom of the fourth on Hague's third hit of the game, a single to right center, pushing the lead to 6-1.
Philip Clark scored the Pirates second run of the game keeping ECU within four runs, 6-2. Clark reached on an infield single and took third on Jared Avchen's single to right before crossing home on Trent Whitehead's fielder's choice.
Rice responded by scoring four runs in the fifth, breaking the game wide open at 10-2. Comerota singled home Rendon, Gonzales doubled home Comerota and Gonzales and Fuda touched home on Mozingo's single and a throwing error by Woods.
Clark scored the final run of the night for ECU in the seventh when Whitehead grounded into a double play making the score 10-3. But a five-run seventh and eighth extended Rice's lead to 20-3 handing the Pirates their worse loss in C-USA history.
Offensively the Pirates had eight base knocks with Avchen and Thompson recording two hits. Roller extended his current streak to 38 consecutive games reaching base safely on his lone hit and Wooten extended his hit streak to nine games in the fourth frame.
Both teams will be back on the diamond Saturday afternoon for game two of the series, which will be televised on CBS College Sports at 3 p.m. (EDT).