March 1, 2009
HOUSTON, Texas -- No. 10 Rice used a three-run second and a three-run fifth to defeat sixth-ranked Baylor 8-3 in Sunday's final-day action at the Houston College Classic, hosted by the Houston Astros Baseball Club at Minute Maid Park. Baylor finished the classic at 2-1, while Rice was deemed the event's champion with a 3-0 mark.
Rice (5-2) used three hits and a Baylor (6-2) error to take a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second. The Bears quickly answered in the top of the third. Landis Ware walked to lead off the inning, and Brooks Pinckard followed with his second bunt single of the weekend. After a failed sacrifice attempt forced out Ware at third, Joey Hainsfurther scored Pinckard with a single to right-center.
Any chance of the Bears getting closer was thwarted by a bizarre play on the game's next pitch. Dustin Dickerson ripped a liner into shallow left where Rice's Jeremy Rathjen made a diving effort on the ball. Third-base umpire Ken Eldridge immediately ruled no catch. Rathjen popped up and threw to second base, apparently forcing out Hainsfurther. However, Eldridge then asked for help from home-plate umpire Danny Moscarro, who ruled that it was a catch and, therefore, that Hansen was doubled off second base and the end of the inning.
That score remained until the fifth when Anthony Rendon ripped a three-run homer to left-center. Rice pushed its lead to 8-1 with a pair of runs in the seventh. The Bears answered with a two-spot in the top of the eighth on a Hainsfurther RBI double and a Brooks Pinckard pinch-hit RBI single. That was as close as the Bears would get, though, as Jordan Rogers retired the game's final four batters in order, striking out the side in the ninth.
Rice starter Taylor Wall (2-1) earned the victory; he allowed one run on three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over 6.1 innings. Baylor starter Craig Fritsch (0-1) took the loss, allowing six runs - four earned - on seven hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over 5.0 innings.
Hainsfurther finished the game 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and a run scored. He reached safely in each of his final nine plate appearances on the weekend. Pinckard was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Baylor returns to action Wednesday, traveling to Fort Worth, Texas, for a midweek game at No. 23 TCU. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CST at Lupton Stadium.
NOTES: Baylor leads the all-time series 125-87-1; however, Rice has won 12 of the last 13 meetings. The Bears are 1-5 against Rice in neutral-site meetings. ... Baylor is 9-9 all-time at the Houston College Classic. ... Fritsch's seven strikeouts were a career high in a start. Last season, he recorded strikeout totals of seven at TCU and 10 against Sam Houston State but both were in relief. ... Aaron Miller extended his hitting streak to four games, while Dustin Dickerson (six games) and Shaver Hansen (four games) both saw hitting streaks end. ... Hainsfurther is the first Baylor player to reach safely in nine consecutive plate appearances since Ben Booker accomplished the feat during the first week of April last season.