The Rice Owls broke open a pitcher’s duel with a run in the seventh inning and then put the game away with four in the eighth to beat the Stanford Cardinal at Sunken Diamond Saturday afternoon, 5-1.
Freshman Brett Hanewich got the start for the Cardinal (0-2), marking the second straight day Stanford started a freshman on the mound, and worked three scoreless innings, allowing five hits and three walks with two strikeouts, before departing after throwing 67 pitches.
Lefty John Hochstatter (0-1) came on in relief and threw three more scoreless frames before he was touched for a run in the seventh when Skyler Ewing turned the first pitch of the inning around for a solo homer, his first of the season, to give Rice (2-0) a 1-0 lead.
Stanford, which had been held to just two hits and had sent the minimum 18 hitters to the plate through six innings, had a chance to get the run back in the bottom of the seventh with Rice made a pitching change.
Blake Fox (1-0) worked six innings and shut the Cardinal bats down on two hits and a walk, wiping the runners out with a caught stealing, a pickoff and a double-play grounder. But he walked Drew Jackson to lead off the seventh and Danny Diekroeger laid down a bunt. Fox tried to get Jackson at second. Everyone was safe and Stanford had its first baserunner in scoring position.
That brought the hook from head coach Wayne Graham after Fox had thrown 82 pitches. Zach Lemond came on for the Owls. Austin Slater sacrificed the runners to second and third and Lemond intentionally walked Alex Blandino to load the bases with one out. Then he struck out Austin Barr and Wayne Taylor to leave the bases full.
Rice put the game away in the eighth. Shane Hoelscher led off with a double to left and John Williamson reached on a fielder’s choice attempting to sacrifice. With runners at the corners and no one out, that ended the day for Hochstatter as right-hander Daniel Starwalt came in from the bullpen.
Michael Aquino greeted the sophomore with a double down the right-field line to score Hoelscher and make it 2-0. Ford Stainback walked to load the bases and the Cardinal turned the ball over to big right-hander Sam Lindquist.
Cook hit a grounder up the middle and the Cardinal couldn’t turn the double play, setting just for the out at second as Williamson scored to make it a 3-0 game. That closed the book on Hochstatter, who worked four-plus innings and allowed three runs on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
Ewing drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 4-0, with Stainback moving up to third, before Stainback scored on a wild pitch to give the Owls a 5-0 lead.
Stanford finally got on the board in the ninth. Jackson and Diekroeger led off the inning with back-to-back singles and both runners moved up on a passed ball. Slater walked to load the bases and Blandino got a run home with a sacrifice fly to center. The rally ended there when Barr struck out and Taylor flied to center.
Jackson had two of Stanford’s four hits on the day, while Stainback, Eweing, Hoelscher and Williamson all had two-hit days for Rice and Lemond picked up his first save of the season.
The teams wrap up the three-game set on Sunday at noon Pacific.