March 22, 2011
BEAUMONT - Jeremy Fant and John Simms combined to hold Lamar University scoreless over the final six innings Tuesday night as Rice University defeated the Cardinals 7-2 to gain a split in the annual series between the teams.
Fant limited the Cardinals to three hits over four innings to earn his first victory of the season, and Simms finished up with two innings of two-hit ball to notch his first save of the year.
The 25th-ranked Owls, who were 12-7 losers to the Cardinals in Houston last month, leaped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and never trailed in improving their record to 14-9. The loss dropped the Cardinals to 16-8.
Coach Jim Gilligan's Cardinals scored single runs in the first and third innings but were unable to get back on the scoreboard after that.
"It's always a good experience for our players to play Rice, and I enjoy competing against Wayne (Graham, the Owls' head coach)," said Gilligan. "They (the Owls) outpitched us tonight, but it was a well-played game between two competitive clubs.
"In defense of the hitters, there were some well-hit balls tonight by players on both clubs that would have fallen in for doubles under different conditions. That was a strong wind blowing out there, and it bothered the batters on both teams,"
Cardinal shortstop Aaron Buchanan got an infield hit in the first inning, moved up on a groundout by Jeff Abt and scored on Wade Mathis' RBI single to centerfield.
Kevin Roebuck got the Cardinals' third inning started by drawing a two-out base on balls. He advanced a base on a passed ball and scored on Buchanan's RBI single to centerfield. Buchanan paced the Cardinals' eight-hit attack by going 3-for-4 at the plate.
Second baseman Michael Ratterree led the Owls by going 3-for-5 and driving in three runs.
The Cardinals drew a season high of 1,827 fans to the game that saw starting pitcher Shane Hamaker
absorb the loss, his second in five decisions.
The Cardinals return to Southland Conference play Friday night when they open a three-game series against Texas State in Vincent-Beck Stadium.