March 19, 2010
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Behind an outstanding pitching performance from junior right-hander Kyle Blair and a 3-for-4, three RBI performance from senior outfielder James Meador, the University of San Diego baseball team stunned No. 14 Rice University, 6-4, Friday afternoon in the series opener of a three-game set at USD's Cunningham Stadium.
Blair (2-1) turned in one of his most impressive performances of the season, as he allowed four runs, three earned, on nine hits, while striking out eight in 7.2 innings of work. In the first inning, Rice loaded the bases with just one out. Blair then dug in and got the next two batters to fly out, getting himself out of a jam. He then settled down and proceeded to be dominating on the mound in his longest outing of the season.
The Toreros (10-9) got on the scoreboard first as in the bottom of the first inning, USD put up two runs on three hits. Strazzara got things rolling with a single up the middle. Back-to-back doubles by Meador and Victor Sanchez drove in the two Torero runs to give San Diego the early momentum.
Rice (11-8) then evened the score in the top of the second inning as they scored two runs on four hits. The Owl runs came on Chad Mozingo RBI single and a Michael Fuda RBI run-scoring double to knot things up at 2-2.
San Diego then regained the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Kevin Muno led off the frame with a walk and he moved to second on a balk. Back-to-back ground outs for the Toreros then pushed across Muno to give USD a 3-2 advantage.
After USD added a run in the fourth inning on a Steven Chatwood RBI sacrifice fly, the Toreros would cap their scoring for the day with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. The Torero runs came on a Meador run-scoring double and a Rice fielding error to give USD a 6-2 lead.
The Owls cut that lead in half in the top of the sixth inning on a Jeremy Rathjen two-run double, moving the score to 6-4.
Rice was threatening in the top of the eighth inning as they loaded the bases with two outs. Senior right-hander Matt Hauser then entered the game and continued his impressive start to the season. Hauser got the first batter he faced to hit the ball right to Steven Chatwood at third base, who then when made the force out at third, getting USD out of the jam. Hauser then mowed down the Rice batters in order in the ninth inning getting the first two batters to strikeout and the final batter to fly out to centerfield, en route to picking up his third save of the season.
Rice starter Taylor Wall (0-4) was saddled with the loss for the Owls as he allowed six runs, five earned, on six hits in 4.2 innings of work.
Meador led the Toreros offense as he went 3-for-4, with two doubles and three RBI. Strazzara kept his hot bat going as well as he went 2-for-4 as the only other USD player to record multiple hits.
The Toreros and Owls will resume their three-game series on Saturday at 1 p.m. inside the friendly confines of Cunningham Stadium.