Feb. 15, 2013
HOUSTON - In a battle of preseason All-America pitchers, Austin Kubitza got the better end of Friday's season-opener as the hurler led No. 17 Rice to a 5-1 win over visiting Stanford. Kubitza (1-0) fanned a career-high 12 in front of 4,317 fans at Reckling Park.
Kubitza's Cardinal counterpart, Mark Appel (0-1), shouldered the loss after giving up five runs - two earned - with three strikeouts in 5.0 frames for seventh-ranked Stanford (0-1).
Both teams managed seven hits but Rice (1-0) scratched across a trio of unearned runs in a three-score third frame to put the game out of Cardinal reach.
Stanford left 12 on base, stranding runners on first and second in the opening three stanzas.
Stanford got nothing when Kubitza issued two of his four walks in the second inning. Alex Blandino and Justin Ringo drew consecutive walks but Blandino was picked off and Kubitza induced a pair of groundouts to keep the Cardinal off the board.
Appel issued Christian Stringer a leadoff walk in the second and surrendered a double to Shane Hoelscher. Rice took a 1-0 lead on Keenan Cook's sacrifice fly to center. Skyler Ewing grounded through the left side of the infield to bring in Hoelscher and give Rice a 2-0 cushion.
Appel walked three of the 25 batters faced on the afternoon.
Diekroeger added a one-out single in the third but was left on base along with Lonnie Kauppila, who wore a Kubitza offering. Diekroeger led the Cardinal with a pair of hits.
Blandino singled and stole second but was left on third base in the top of the fourth.
Rice made its move in the fifth with a three-spot, two of which came when Ford Stainback's bunt was misplayed twice by Cardinal catcher Wayne Taylor.
Stanford left runners on the corners in the sixth, and Brian Ragira's eighth-inning double set the table for Ringo's bloop single to right to cut into the Owl's lead, 5-1.
The Cardinal suffered its first season-opening loss since 2007.
The two teams continue the three-game series at noon (PT) on Saturday.