May 16, 2014
HOUSTON - The No. 14 Rice Owls broke up a scoreless ball game by plating three runs in the seventh to win the second game of the series over Louisiana Tech, 3-0, on Friday night at Reckling Park.
For the fourth time this season, LA Tech (15-34, 5-24 C-USA) was shut out as Rice's (36-17, 22-7 C-USA) Blake Fox and the Bulldogs' Braden Bristo were locked in a pitching duel for most of Friday's game.
"I could not ask for a better outing by the freshman, Braden Bristo," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "He really pitched lights out tonight, but so did Rice's Blake Fox. I thought Mark Baughman and Adam Derouen did a good job out there on the mound as well. Rice is a Top 20 team that we matched, and I told the guys I am proud of the way they all played tonight."
Fox (11-0) earned the victory for the Owls after throwing a two-hit shutout over the course of eight innings on Friday, before Matt Ditman came on in the ninth to earn his ninth save of the season. Fox struck out seven LA Tech batters and walked four in the outing, while Ditman faced the minimum in the ninth to close out the win for Rice.
LA Tech's Bristo (1-2) was charged with the loss, despite pitching a gem in a career-long 6.0 innings on the mound. The freshman right-hander gave up just one run on three hits, while striking out four and walking seven. Bristo came out of the game with no outs in the seventh, as Mark Baughman came on in relief and pitched two-thirds of an inning and gave up two runs on two hits with a strikeout. Sophomore Adam Derouen pitched the final 1.1 innings of the game and did not allow a base runner in the outing.
Bristo pitched out of two jams in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Leon Byrd led off the seventh with a walk and stole second base to give Rice the winning run in scoring position with no outs. Baughman then came on in relief of Bristo with a 3-2 count on Keenan Cook, who reached base on a hit by pitch. The Owls scored the first run of the game on the next at bat as Shane Hoelscher singled to left center to score Byrd and give Rice a 1-0 lead over LA Tech in the seventh.
Later in the seventh, pinch hitter Kirby Taylor came through with a two-run single up the middle to score Hoelscher and Cook to give the Owls a 3-0 advantage late in the game.
The Bulldogs tallied just two hits and left five runners on base, while Rice had five base knocks and stranded eight in Friday's game.
Rice's Taylor was 1-for-1 with two RBI in his only plate appearance of the game, while Hoelscher recorded an RBI and base hit for the Owls as well. Cook, John Clay Reeves and Ford Stainback also tallied base hits for Rice in the win.
Tomorrow's season finale is set to begin at 1 p.m. at Reckling Park. The Bulldogs will start senior right-hander Richie Navari, while the Owls will counter with Jon Duplantier.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.