HOUSTON, Texas – Blake Fox struck out a career-high eight batters and Rice (22-11, 10-4) pounded out 14 hits taking game two of the Conference USA series, 8-0, over East Carolina (18-13, 7-4) Saturday afternoon at Reckling Park.
Rice jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first on Kirby Taylor’s sac fly to center and never looked back. Shane Hoelscher reached on an infield single to third and moved around the bases on consecutive base hits by Skyler Ewing and John Clay Reeves.
Fox (7-0) scattered seven hits over 7.1 innings picking up his seventh win in eight starts this season. Trevor Teykl tossed 1.2 perfect innings in relief with three strikeouts to preserve the shutout.
Reid Love (2-2) got the loss after allowing five runs (all earned) on eight hits in 2.2 innings on the bump. Brett Mabry worked 5.1 innings out of the bullpen allowing three runs (all unearned) on six hits with a walk and strikeout in his ninth relief appearance this season.
The Owls extended their lead in the third pushing across four runs on five hits. Hoelscher doubles to right center scoring Kennan Cook from first. Reeves followed with an RBI single that scored Hoelscher from second. Michael Aquino capped the frame with a two-out, two-RBI single to left that plated both Reeves and Aquino.
Rice added three runs in the eighth inning capping the scoring at 8-0.
Offensively Drew Reynolds led the Pirates with his second-straight three-hit performance of the series – all singles. Hunter Allen, Zach Houchins, Luke Lowery (double) and Ian Townsend also had base knocks in the contest.
Rice was led by Cook and Reeves, who each had three hits and an RBI. Ewing, Hoelscher (two RBI), and Connor Teykl (two RBI) added a pair of hits for the Owls.
ECU will close out its four-game road series Sunday, Apr. 6 with game three against Rice starting at 11:30 a.m. (ET). The series finale was moved up due to the potential of inclement weather in the area on Sunday.