Raider miscues allow Rice to even series
Sunday's rubber match set for 11 a.m.March 29, 2014 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO - No. 10 Rice capitalized on four Middle Tennessee errors to blank the Blue Raiders, 8-0, on Saturday at Reese Smith Field.
The Owls (21-8, 9-2 Conference USA) strung together eight runs on 16 hits. Rice held a three run lead after five innings and extended their advantage with five runs in the final three frames. Middle Tennessee (11-14, 6-5 C-USA) made scoring threats early. However, four hits and four errors combined with five left on base hampered the Blue Raider comeback. Only three of Rice's eight runs were earned.
Paul Mittura (1-1) took his first loss of the year by giving up three runs, one earned, on 10 hits in six innings. Mittura fanned six Owls in 27 batters faced. Rice's Blake Fox improved to 6-0 with three hits allowed in eight innings of work. Trevor Teykl closed the door in the ninth with one hit given up.
Michael Aquino's single to center field in the fourth inning drove in Chase McDowell to give the Owls an early 1-0 edge. Rice added a pair of unearned runs in the fifth with Stainback and Ewing crossing home plate.
Errors caught up with the Blue Raiders in the seventh, as Rice notched four unearned runs. Two field errors allowed Stainback, Ewing, John Clay Reeves and Shane Holescher to give Rice a seven run edge. Rice slugger Skyler Ewing capped the day with his second solo bomb of the series in the ninth. Ewing finished the evening 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two runs-batted-in. Aqunio, Hoelscher and Stainback also had three-hit affairs.
Sunday's rubber match is now set for 11 a.m. instead of an original scheduled time of Noon. Left-hander Johnathan Frebis (1-3, 4.85 ERA) squares off against Rice right-handed pitcher Chase McDowell (3-1, 1.38 ERA).
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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