The Stanford Cardinal took a 3-1 lead with a three-run homer from Zach Hoffpauir in the bottom of the second inning, but the Rice Owls battled back to take a 10-3 decision in the season opener for both teams at Sunken Diamond on Friday.
Stanford (0-1) used five pitchers in the game, with freshman Cal Quantrill (0-1) taking the loss in his debut. He worked 4.2 innings and allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
Jordan Stephens (1-0) worked the first five innings for the Owls (1-0), allowing three runs on Hoffpauir’s blast in the second inning, along with five hits and two walks, while striking out five. Matt Ditman dominated over the final four innings, earning his first save by allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out 10.
Rice took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI single by Skyler Ewing. After the Cardinal took the lead in the second, the Owls got one of the runs back in the third on another RBI single by Ewing after a double by Keenan Cook. Ewing was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double on a nice relay by third baseman Alex Blandino, who took the cutoff throw from left fielder Alex Dunlap.
Rice took the lead with a three-run fifth, Ford Stainback grounded an RBI single through the right side of the infield and after Tyler Thorne came into relieve Quantrill, Ewing drove in two more runs after a passed ball moved baserunners up to second and third with two outs.
The Owls broke it open in the sixth, scoring four runs. Shane Hoelscher belted a one-out RBI double to center and after Sam Lindquist relieved Thorne, Hoelscher scored from second when shortstop Drew Jackson’s throw on a grounder by John Williamson was wild to first. With runners at first and third and two outs, Chris Castellanos came into pitch and served up a two-run triple to Cook. Three of the runs in the frame were unearned.
Rice got its final run in the top of the seventh on an RBI triple to right.
Rice wound up with 10 runs on 11 hits while Stanford had three runs on seven hits and committed a pair of errors.
Ewing wound up 3-for-4 with four RBI and Cook was 2-for-5 while scoring twice and driving in a pair.
Seven different Cardinal wound up with a single hit each, but Tommy Edman was 1-for-3 with a walk.
The teams go at it again on Saturday afternoon, with the start time bumped up to 1 p.m. Pacific. The game was originally scheduled for 2 p.m., but potential bad weather necessitated an earlier start.