Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rice Owls start 0-4

But my Lamar Cardinals are 4-0.
Eventually, Wayne Graham figures his team's pitching will sort itself out.

Through four games, including Wednesday's 13-7 loss to Lamar in Rice's home opener at Reckling Park, it's been the coach's primary cause for concern in this surprising 0-4 start. Specifically, he's fixated on the amount of walks his pitchers have issued. 

After another six Wednesday, the season total now stands at 25.

“We gave up (six) free passes,” Graham said. “Across the board, we didn't play well. But mostly, it was the pitchers.”
Seven Rice pitchers took the mound against the Cardinals (4-0), and righthanded starter Anthony Fazio never made it out of the first inning. He was knocked around for four runs — all earned — on three hits and two walks. The finishing blow was Pablo Salinas' three-run triple. His replacement, Mark Haynes, was better at the start. His three innings were inspired, but he surrendered three earned runs and four hits.

Abe Gonzalez managed five outs, serving up a three-run homer to Clayton Farhat. Doug Simmons got four outs, allowing an unearned run. Poor Tyler Spurlin – he faced two batters and walked them both before being yanked in favor of Holt McNair, the grandson of the Houston Texans' owner. The freshman faced three batters and induced a pair of outs.

I sat in the sun for yesterday's 4 p.m. first pitch but left shivering after four innings, when it was 9-3.

Lamar scored four runs in the first, fourth and seventh innings. Leadoff hitter Anthony Moore sparked the Cardinals with two extra-base hits and two runs in the first two innings. Clayton Farhat hit a 3-run home run in the fourth, and LU scored four runs with one hit in the seventh.

Starting pitcher Blake Ford lasted four innings and gave up three runs on five hits. Ford started a game against Rice last season and only lasted a third of an inning. 

By the way, Anthony Moore looks like a real player.

Lamar last beat Rice in 2003, when the Cardinals swept the two-game season series that season. Lamar advanced to the NCAA tournament that season, and Rice won the College World Series.

A little more on that.

Both Lamar and Rice have rich baseball traditions, having combined to play in 27 NCAA Tournaments and eight College World Series with all of those berths having been earned by the Owls. Rice has qualified for 15 NCAA Tournaments with the last one being in 2009, when the Owls reached the Super Regional level. The 2003 Rice team that lost both of its games against the Cardinals wound up going 5-1 in the College World Series to win the national championship. Lamar has qualified for 12 NCAA Regionals with the last being in in 2004. The Cardinals were eliminated 6-3 that season by the host Owls in the Houston Regional. Rice's last appearance in the CWS came in 2008 when they went 0-2.

Lamar and Rice play again March 30 at Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont. I think that's a Tuesday without looking at a calendar.  I don't think I can get over there then but I'm sure as hell going to try.

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