June 12, 2006

Houston: Owls Fly Back to College World Series

With a 9-5 victory over Oklahoma on Monday afternoon, Rice advances to their fifth College World Series in the last ten years. The Owls advance to Omaha with a 55-11 record, while the Sooners finish the season with a 45-22 mark.

Rice will next take the field on Saturday, June 17th, in a first-round match-up against the winner of the Athens Super Regional. Georgia and South Carolina will square off tonight to determine the Owls' opponent, and game times for the CWS opener will be announced on Tuesday.

Continue reading "Houston: Owls Fly Back to College World Series" »

Houston: Owls Omaha Bound

Bryce Cox struck out the first two batters in the top of the ninth, then Russell Raley grounded back to the mound for the final out of the game. A Joe Savery fist pump and brief dogpile later, Rice had advanced to their fifth College World Series with a 9-5 victory over Oklahoma in Monday's winner-take-all battle.

Cole St. Clair improves to 6-2 with the victory, while Bryce Cox picks up his third save of the season on his final trip to the Reckling Park mound.

Rice will play the winner of this evening's South Carolina-Georgia game on Saturday in Omaha.

More details shortly...

Houston: Three Outs to Omaha for Rice

Neither team scored in the eighth inning, so we head to the top of the ninth with Rice leading 9-5.

After Bryce Cox struck out the first two batters in the top of the eighth, Aaron Reza doubled and was stranded on second after Jackson Williams grounded out down the first base line.

Jimmie Rollins walked a batter and allowed one hit in the bottom of the frame before Nich Conaway come on to retire Tyler Henley. The Sooner defense showed why they lead the nation in fielding percentage with two nice plays on the left side of the infield as well as a diving catch by Chuckie Caufield in right.

Houston: Rice Responds, Lead Back to Four

Two singles and a sacrifice fly brought in the ninth run of the game for the Owls, as well as ending Will Savage's afternoon on the mound. Jimmie Rollins induced a Joe Savery grounder to end the inning, and the Owls lead 9-5 as we head to the eighth.

The attendance for today's matinee was the lowest of the series, as only 3,613 made it out to the game. Not a bad number considering the inconvenient start time, and the total of 12,708 for the weekend was the second largest ever at Reckling Park for a three-game series. That's an average of 4,236 per game, which is pretty close to the total number of students at Rice.

Houston: Owls by Three at the Stretch

Joseph Hughes scored to close the book on St. Clair, but Cox limited the Sooners to that run and we head into the seventh inning stretch with Rice leading 8-5.

Will Savage still pitching after struggling in the sixth, and Cox will likely be in this one until the end for the Owls.

Houston: Bryce Cox in for Owls

Cole St. Clair was removed from the game after hitting Joseph Hughes with his first pitch in the top of the seventh, and Bryce Cox (4-1, 4.62, 2 saves) has come in for the Owls.

St. Clair threw 5 1/3 innings this afternoon, scattering five hits without allowing a walk and striking out three Sooner batters. He's given up two runs so far, and is responsible for the runner on third.

There was another mini-confrontation after the hit batter -- not quite sure what happened, but the umpires were over by the Rice dugout before talking with the acting Oklahoma skipper.

Oklahoma has the first two runners on in the top of the seventh, trailing 8-4.

Houston: Golloway Not So Sunny in Sixth

After a called ball to Owl DH Kenny Ford, Sooner head coach Sunny Golloway was tossed from the game for arguing balls and strikes. The pitch hit the spot where the catcher set up, but was well outside the strike zone.

Will Savage settled down to strike out Ford and Jordan Dodson to end the frame, but the Owls had a five-spot in the inning to take their first lead of the game. Savage labored through 35 pitches in the frame, 60% for strikes.

Heading into the seventh, Rice leads 8-4.

Houston: Owls Take Lead in the Sixth

Through five innings, the Owls left eight runners on base. In the bottom of the sixth, the #2 national seed finally took advantage of their opportunities.

Rice forced John Brownell from the game in the bottom of the sixth with a Danny Lehmann leadoff single and a walk to Tyler Henley. Greg Buchanan greeted Sooner closer Will Savage to the game by grounding a 3-2 pitch through the right side of the infield to load the bases. Brian Friday popped up for the first out of the inning, but Josh Rodriguez picked up his third hit of the game on a two-run grounder through the left side of the infield. Rice emotional leader Joe Savery followed with a mammoth shot to the right of the batters' eye to bring in three more runs and provide the Owls with a four-run lead.

Rice still batting in the bottom of the sixth, now leading 8-4.

Houston: Savage on for Sooners

John Brownell threw eleven pitches without recording an out in the bottom of the sixth, so Oklahoma closer Will Savage (7-2, 5.01, 10 saves) has entered the game. Danny Lehmann singled to start off the inning, then Brownell's afternoon came to a close with a walk to Tyler Henley.

Brownell allowed 4 hits and 5 walks over 4 1/3 innings, allowing just one run during his outing (in addition to being responsible for the runners on base).

Rice batting with two on and no outs in the bottom of the sixth with Oklahoma leading 4-3.

Houston: Waiting for the Offense

After both starters were forced from the game in the first inning, it seemed like the floodgates were open and the game was heading toward a 9-8 conclusion. Both relievers have pitched well, however, and with Rice coming to the plate in the bottom of the fourth the Sooners are still leading 4-3.

Owl stopper Cole St. Clair has allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings since striking out Kody Kaiser to end the first. Sooner reliever John Brownell also entered the game with a strikeout, and has allowed just an Aaron Luna solo homer among three hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings. Both pitchers have been efficient, as St. Clair has thrown 73 pitches to Brownell's 58.

Houston: Owls Threaten But Don't Score in the Fifth

John Brownell struggled with his control in the bottom of the fifth, walking Joe Savery and Aaron Luna after Josh Rodriguez singled with one out. Kenny Ford chased a high fastball for strike three, and Jordan Dodson flew out to center on the first pitch to end the threat with the Sooners on top 4-3 after five complete innings.

Oklahoma closer Will Savage was up and throwing in the bullpen. Given the (obvious) importance of this game, I expect he'll be in the game the next time the Owls threaten.

Houston: Sooners Retake Lead on Raley Blast

Sooner second baseman Russell Raley picked up his third hit of the afternoon, homering for the first time since the second game of the season as OU took a 4-3 lead in the fifth.

Ryan Rohlinger followed the blast by extending his hitting streak to eleven games, but was picked off by Cole St. Clair -- at least according to the first base umpire. The throw easily beat the runner to the bag, but it was high and the tag was late. Not a good two-minute stretch for the umps, as Kevin Smith was just awarded first on a hit by pitch that was off the knob of the bat.

Rice coming to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, trailing 4-3.

Houston: Rice Fans Howl for Luna Homer

Aaron Luna stretched his Rice freshman home run record to sixteen with a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth, tying the game at 3 runs. Fans having taken to howling after each Luna "moonshot".

Rice finally made John Brownell work in the fourth, as he needed nineteen pitches to set down the side. The Owls were unable to capitalize on two walks, leaving both runners on base after Luna's leadoff shot.

Houston: Moving Right Along

After the first two innings dragged on for fifty minutes, we've hit the fast forward buttong at Reckling. Rice went down on four pitches in the bottom of the third, with all three batters lofting flyballs to the outfield. Sooner reliever John Brownell has now retired seven batters on thirteen pitches. Oklahoma was no more patient in the top of the fourth, popping up three balls on seven Cole St. Clair pitches.

Going to the bottom of the fourth, Sooners clinging to a 3-2 lead.

Houston: Different Approaches at the Plate

Since the Owls fell behind in yesterday's game, they've been aggressive early in the count and the Sooner pitchers have been using that to their advantage. John Brownell set down the side on six pitches in the second despite allowing a single by Danny Lehmann.

Oklahoma has taken a more patient approach, forcing Cole St. Clair to throw thirty-seven pitches so far in his outing. The Sooners reclaimed the lead in the top of the third. Russell Raley singled for his second hit of the game, and stole second. After Ryan Rohlinger flew out, Kevin Smith brought in the third Sooner run of the game with a double to the leftfield gap. Smith was stranded at second after Freddy Rodriguez flew out and Kody Kaiser grounded out to end the frame.

Rice coming up in the bottom of the third, trailing Oklahoma 3-2.

Houston: Finally a Zero on the Board

Cole St. Clair gave up a two-out single to Joseph Hughes in the second, but escaped the inning without giving up a run. Through 1 1/2 innings, we're still tied at 2.

Rant: I don't get it when someone gets on first with two outs and the pitcher directs his entire focus on the runner. If you get the batter out, the runner doesn't matter. St. Clair threw over to first three times (including showing his best move) before balking the runner over to second. Chuckie Caufield flew out to center to end the threat, but I'd think you'd want to conserve your energy a little better with the balmy Houston weather.

Houston: Not a Good Day for the Starters

Neither starter made it out of the first inning Monday afternoon at Reckling Park. The two starters combined for 1 1/3 innings while walking four batters and allowing four runs. The ball-to-strike ratio was an ugly 28-to-19. Both relievers ended the threat by striking out their first hitter. Cole St. Clair is on the hill for Rice, as John Brownell (5-0, 4.94) has come in the Oklahoma.

Owl faithful aren't happy with the home plate umpire, but he hasn't looked bad on the TV replays in the press box.

Tied at 2, Sooners batting in the top of the second.

Houston: R-"ice" Cold Bats Finally Thaw

After scoring five runs in the first four innings on Sunday's game, the Owl bats managed just one hit over the final five frames against Daniel McCutchen. With two outs in the bottom of the first, the bats finally thawed and allowed Rice to plate their first runs of the game. Josh Rodriguez hooked his eleventh homer of the season around the rightfield foul pole, driving in Greg Buchanan and tying today's winner-take-all game at 2 runs.

John Brownell is warming up in the Sooner bullpen, as Sunny Golloway strolls to the mound for the first time.

Houston: St. Clair Stems Threat, Mottern Takes the Mound

Owl reliever Cole St. Clair struck out Kody Kaiser to end the top of the first inning and keep the OU lead at 2-0 with Rice coming to the plate for the first time.

Like Craig Crow, Sooner starter Ryan Mottern is having trouble throwing stikes early. He induced Tyler Henley to ground to first on a 3-1 count before walking Greg Buchanan on four pitches.

Houston: Sooner Bats Stay Hot

After scoring the final ten runs in yesterday's 11-5 victory, the Sooner sticks stayed hot at the beginning of Monday's deciding game. After Chuckie Caufield reached after being hit by a Craig Crow pitch, Russell Raley extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single up the middle that moved Caufield to third with noone out. That got the Owl bullpen started early, with stopper Cole St. Clair loosening quickly down the third base line.

After running the count full, Ryan Rohlinger walked to load the bases for the Sooners. Kevin Smith knocked in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly the right, and the Sooner faithful were up and chanting "O-U" for the first time this game. Shortstop Brian Friday made a great play in the hole to prevent a Freddy Rodriguez single, but Raley came home for the second run as the out was recorded at first. That play also marked the end of the game for Craig Crow, who left after throwing 17 pitches (only 7 strikes) and allowing two runs.

Cole St. Clair (5-2, 1.55) is on for the Owls as they hope to stem the tide and keep the Sooner lead at 2-0 in the top of the first.

Houston: Underway, and Yet to See a Strike

It only took six pitches before Owl skipper Wayne Graham visited the mound for the first time. Craig Crow has thrown six straight balls to start the game, hitting Chuckie Caufield with a 3-0 pitch before starting Russell Raley with two straight balls.

The visit worked, at least temporarily, as the next pitch to Raley was called a strike for the first time of the game.

Houston: One Hour Until Deciding Game

A sixth team will earn their way to Omaha on a hot and humid afternoon in Houston, as #2 national seed Rice (54-11) takes on Oklahoma (45-21) for a spot in the College World Series. Rice will be the home team in this game, and will send Craig Crow (8-1, 3.08) to the mound. Oklahoma will counter with Ryan Mottern (4-2, 7.54), who will be making his eighth start of the season for the Sooners.

Continue reading "Houston: One Hour Until Deciding Game" »

June 11, 2006

Houston: Sooners Stave Off Elimination, Force Deciding Game

For the fifth time this postseason, the Oklahoma Sooners were able to stave off elimination by downing the #2 national seed Rice Owls at Reckling Park on Sunday afternoon. Trailing 5-1 after 3 1/2 innings, Oklahoma scored the final ten runs of the game to secure a 11-5 victory in the second game of the Houston Super Regional.

Daniel McCutchen (10-8) threw his fifth complete game of the season for the win, while Bobby Bramhall falls to 4-2 after losing the game in relief for the Owls.

Rice will be the home game in tomorrow's match-up, and will send Craig Crow (8-1, 3.08) to the mound. Oklahoma has not announced the starting pitcher for tomorrow's deciding game. Depending on the outcome of today's other games, first pitch will be at either noon or 6:00 pm Central.

Continue reading "Houston: Sooners Stave Off Elimination, Force Deciding Game" »

Houston: Sooners Even Series with 11-5 Win

The Owls ended Daniel McCutchen's streak at fourteen straight batters retired, but were unable to push home a run in the final frame. With a final run in the eighth inning, the Sooners scored the last ten runs of the game to force a deciding game tomorrow. The game is currently scheduled for noon, but could be moved to 6:00 pm based on the results from other games this afternoon.

More details shortly...

Houston: Playing Out the String, Heading for Game Three

Wayne Graham has dug deep into the Rice bullpen (Kurt Pessa on the mound, Kyle Gunderson warming in the pen), so the feeling around Reckling Park is that the white flag is being waved.

There's been some waving at the plate too, as the Rice batters have been unable to solve Daniel McCutchen since the Sooners took the lead in the fourth. He's retired the last thirteen batters and ended the eighth by striking out Josh Rodriguez and Joe Savery. Savery's bat and helmet took the brunt of his frustration, as they went flying toward the first base dugout after his final swing. A little late to fire the team up for the end of this one, but I expect an interesting discussion in the Owl clubhouse after this one.

Sooners bat in the bottom of the eighth, leading 10-5 and three outs away from surviving until Monday.

Houston: Rohlinger, Kaiser Provide Insurance

Ryan Rohlinger led off the bottom of the seventh with his 13th longball of the season and Kody Kaiser followed two outs later with his 7th to give the Sooners a 9-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning.

After snuffing out the OU rally in the previous inning, Will McDaniel's second pitch in the seventh flew over the leftfield wall for the seventh Sooner run of the game. After striking out Kevin Smith and inducing Freddy Rodriguez to fly to right, Kody Kaiser hooked one past the rightfield foul pole to plate the second run of the inning. Aaron Reza singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jackson Williams singled up the middle to bring Reza around and extend the Sooner lead to four while ending McDaniel's afternoon. Kurt Pessa (0-1, 16.20) comes on in relief for the Owls, his first appearance since saving Rice's win against Marshall on May 18th.

McDaniel has allowed nine runs in 5 1/3 innings against Oklahoma this season, and is still responsible for the runner on base.

Houston: McCutchen on Cruise Control

Daniel McCutchen needed only six pitches to retire the side in the seventh inning, and has caught his second wind since the Sooners rallied to give him the lead in the fourth. He has retired the last ten Owl batters, with only a Kenny Ford flyball leaving the infield.

This is exactly what the doctor ordered for Sunny Golloway's Sooners, as they lead 6-5 at the stretch in Houston.

Houston: McDaniel Stems Red Tide

Just like that, Will McDaniel ended the Sooner threat in the bottom of the sixth. With the infield drawn in to cut off the insurance run from third, the Owl sophomore got Chuckie Caufield to strike out swinging. Russell Raley grounded out to first on the next pitch, and Oklahoma was kept off the board in the sixth.

Six innings complete from a steamy Reckling Park, Sooners ahead 6-5 in their effort to force a deciding game on Monday.

Houston: Sooners Threaten, Owls Change Pitchers

Already holding a one-run lead over the #2 national seed, Oklahoma has a runner on third with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Will McDaniel (7-1, 2.86) has just come in for the Owls. McDaniel was the Owls' midweek starter for most of the season, and his lone blemish was on April 18th against the Sooners in Norman.

Joseph Hughes recorded the first triple of his career with one out, ending the afternoon for southpaw Bobby Bramhall.

With his sixth inning strikeout of Adam Zornes, Daniel McCutchen moves into second on the single season Sooner strikeout list with 143 whiffs this season.

Houston: How Daniel Got His Groove Back

Two straight one-two-three innings for the Sooner starter, throwing just 23 pitches in the process (keeping his total to a respectable 83 through six innings).

Bobby Bramhall retired the Sooners in order in the bottom of the fifth, so that's three straight perfect half innings.

The Rice fifth marked the first time in four chances this weekend that the Owls failed to respond to a Sooner scoring frame.

Bottom of the sixth, Sooners 6-5.

Houston: Sooners Lead at Midway Point

For the first time today, the side was retired in order as Daniel McCutchen mowed down the Owls in the top of the fifth inning. After laboring in the fourth, a long respite as the Sooners rallied was just what the doctor ordered as the ace returned to the mound in the fifth.

The thousand or so Sooner fans have been having a blast the last 20 minutes. Though severely outnumbered, the "O-U" chants have been resonating around Reckling as the club rallied from four down last inning.

Freddy Rodriguez leading off his second inning in a row for Oklahoma, with club in the lead 6-5 in the bottom of the fifth.

Houston: OU Retakes the Lead

Something about facing Oklahoma brings out the worst in the Rice defense -- the Owls have committed three errors so far this game, their highest total since their mid-April loss in Norman. The Sooners play aggressively, but only one of the three errors has been forced, as two came on (fairly) easy grounders in the infield.

Bobby Bramhall has struggled in relief of Bobby Bell (not a good day for the Owl pitching alliterations). Chuckie Caufield singled to bring in the tying run, then scored the go-ahead run after advancing to second on a an error, stealing third base and heading home on a sacrifice fly to right.

After struggling in the fourth, Daniel McCutchen gets an extended break and returns to the mound with the lead. He's at 60 pitches on the afternoon, and even when he struggled last inning there was no action in the Sooner bullpen.

Four innings complete, Oklahoma leads 6-5.

Houston: Sooners Turn to Respond

Rice has been answering every Oklahoma run this weekend, and now the Sooners are returning the favor.

After the Owls plated three runs in the top of the fourth, Oklahoma has responded with a rally of their own in the bottom of the frame. Freddy Rodriguez led off the inning with an infield single and scored when Kody Kaiser doubled to right and Jordan Dodson's throw eluded Brian Friday at second. Bobby Bell got ahead of the next two hitters but yielded a hit batter and RBI single by Jackson Williams to cut the lead to two runs. After a successful sacrifice bunt by Joseph Hughes, Aaron Reza scored on a wild pitch that marked the end of Bell's outing.

Bobby Bramhall (4-1, 2.31) comes in to pitch for the Owls with a runner on third and one out. Rice still leads, but the Sooners have cut the deficit to 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth.

Houston: Kenny Ford, Man of the Match

Kenny Ford entered the game with no homers and five RBI in 39 at bats this season. So far this game, he's 2-for-2 with his first collegiate home run and a two-run double to give him 3 RBI (and two runs scored).

Rice forced Daniel McCutchen into his first long inning in the top of the fourth, and the Sooner ace is starting to show some signs of fatigue. After Joe Savery and Aaron Luna singled to start the inning, McCutchen recorded two straight outs before the count went full to Kenny Ford. Ford blooped a double to centerfield that fell just out of reach of three Sooners before Tyler Henley laced a double to the leftfield wall to bring Ford home. A Greg Buchanan strikeout ended the rally, but Rice plated three runs to take a 5-1 lead after 3 1/2 innings.

Houston: Batters Turning Aggressive

Hitters on both teams are attacking the pitchers early in the count now. McCutchen faced five batters in the top of the third while throwing just eight pitches. In the bottom of the frame, Chuckie Caufield singled to left center on the first pitch before Russell Raley and Ryan Rohlinger both grounded out on a 1-1 count against Bobby Bell. Through three frams, McCutchen has thrown 36 pitches while Bell has gone home 49 times.

The crowd was late arriving for today's early start, but it's filled in nicely over the first three innings. The bleachers aren't as full as last night, but we should be looking at a crowd in the 4,500 range this afternoon.

Three innings complete, with Rice holding a 2-1 lead over Oklahoma.

Houston: Umbrellas Are Out in Force

No rain in the forecast, but the umbrellas are up at Reckling Park today. There's a wide concourse between the lower and upper levels down the first base line. Those in the back row of the lower section take advantage of their location to set up umbrellas to block the sun during the hot Houston afternoon games. Fortunately, the pitch of the second level is steep enough that no views are blocked for this convenience.

We almost had our first confrontation of the series in the top of the second. Both teams have batboys, and both went for a foul ball off the screen. The Rice representative took advantage of his knowledge of the park to block out the Sooner batboy.

Kenny Ford just took the first pitch in the top of the third out of the park for his first collegiate home run. Owls take a 2-1 lead in the top of the third.

Houston: Just Like That, It's Tied

On the second pitch of the second inning, Joe Savery tied the game up with his eighth homer of the season to left-centerfield.

Last night, the Sooners scored in two frames and the Owls answered with at least as many runs in the following half inning. The trend continues today.

Houston: Sooners Strike First

Ryan Rohlinger extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a two-out double to left and scored when Kevin Smith doubled down the rightfield line to give Oklahoma a 1-0 lead after one inning in Houston.

Bobby Bell labored through the first inning, throwing 24 pitches to the five batters he faced while throwing at least two balls to four Sooners.

After going to the bullpen early yesterday, OU coach Sonny Golloway needs an extended outing from his ace today. McCutchen obliged in the first, throwing just 13 pitches in the frame.

Houston: McCutchen Dances Out of Trouble in the First

Tyler Henley legged out a leadoff double in the top of the first and moved to third on a Greg Buchanan groundout. However, the Owls were unable to capitalize with the runner on third and less than two outs, as Brian Friday struck out on a check swing and Josh Rodriguez popped out to end the threat.

Oklahoma coming up for the first time in the bottom of the first, scoreless at Reckling Park.

Houston: Showdown at High Noon

Rice (54-10) and Oklahoma (44-21) square off at noon in the second game of the Houston Super Regional. The Owls captured the first game of the series with a 10-4 victory on Saturday. With another win today, Rice would advance to their fifth College World Series and earn their first trip to Omaha since their national championship in 2003. A Sooner victory would force a winner-take-all game tomorrow.

Daniel McCutchen (9-8, 4.00) toes the rubber for Oklahoma while Bobby Bell (8-0, 3.67) will start for the Owls. McCutchen threw 214 pitches over two outings during the Norman Regional, picking up the victory in the championship game for the Sooners. Bell pitched four scorless innings in relief during the Owls' regional opener against Prairie View.

June 10, 2006

Houston: Rice Fires on All Cylinders In Game One Win

Rice outhit Oklahoma 14 to 7 on Saturday evening, and those additional runners were converted into runs as the Owls took game one of the super regional by a 10-4 score. Rice improves to 54-10 on the season, while the Sooners drop to 44-21 on the campaign.

First pitch of tomorrow's second game is slated for noon Central at Reckling Park. With a victory, Rice would advance to their fifth College World Series and go to Omaha for the first time since their 2003 national championship season. An Oklahoma victory would force a deciding game on Monday.

Continue reading "Houston: Rice Fires on All Cylinders In Game One Win" »

Houston: Cox Closes It Out

Rice wins 10-4 over Oklahoma in game one of the Houston super regional.

Bryce Cox slammed the door on the Sooners, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings and ending the game on a called strikeout of Ryan Rohlinger.

Eddie Degerman runs his record to 13-1 with the win, while Steven Guerra drops to 11-4 with the loss.

More details shortly...

Houston: Once Again, Rice Responds

When Oklahoma scored two runs in the top of the 2nd to halve Rice's early lead, the Owls responded with two in the bottom of the frame to build the lead back to four. History repeated itself in the seventh -- OU scored two in the top of the frame to narrow the gap to 7-4, and Rice has responded with three runs (so far) in the bottom of the frame.

Aaron Luna led off the inning with a moon shot to left field -- his fifteenth of the season, a record for Rice freshman. Nate Hammons became the fourth Sooner hurler of the evening, and sandwiched a strikeout with a double off the wall by Adam Zornes and a two-run homer by Danny Lehmann before leaving the game. Southpaw Jimmie Rollins came in to get the final two outs of the inning for Oklahoma.

Seven innings complete, Rice in control with a 10-4 lead.

Houston: Eddie Degerman New C-USA Strikeout King

With his strikeout of Joseph Hughes to start the top of the seventh inning, Eddie Degerman set the Conference USA single season strikeout record with his 158th whiff of the season. Brad Sullivan set the previous record in 2002 while pitching across town for the Houston Cougars. He also moves within six strikeouts of the Rice single season mark, set when Wade Townsend struck out 164 batters during the 2003 national championship run.

After a deep fly to center for the second out of the inning, Degerman walked Russell Raley to prompt Owl skipper Wayne Graham to visit the mound. The Rice crowd rose to their feet as the count went full to Ryan Rohlinger, but a double to left drove in the third Sooner run of the game and ended the evening for Eddie Degerman.

Degerman leaves the game after throwing 6 2/3 innings while allowing six hits and two walks. He struck out eight Sooners on the night, and allowed four runs (three earned) on the evening.

Bryce Cox (4-1, 4.91) entered for the Owls, and was greeted by a Kevin Smith RBI double to left on his first pitch before retiring pinch-hitter Freddy Rodriguez to end the inning.

At the stretch, the Rice lead is down to 7-4.

Houston: Owls Threaten Again But Fail to Build Lead

Rice greeted P.J. Sandoval (6-5, 5.42) with two base runners in the bottom of the sixth but were unable to score in the frame. Through six full innings, Rice continues to lead Oklahoma 7-2.

Danny Lehmann led off the inning by reaching base following an error by Aaron Reza at short. After advancing to second on the fourth OU wild pitch of the night, Lehmann advanced to third when Greg Buchanan singled to second for his fourth hit of the game. Brian Friday struck out looking for the second out of the frame before a Josh Rodriguez walk loaded the bases. Sandoval got out of the threat when Joe Savery grounded to second to end the inning.

Houston: John Brownell, the Definition of Effectively Wild

Sooner reliever John Brownell has thrown more balls (26) than strikes (22) since he entered the game in the second inning, but he's kept the Owls off balance. He's allowed one run on four hits and two walks, and kept the Sooners in the game after Rice knocked Steven Guerra out of the game early.

Degerman wasn't at the top of his game early in the contest, but has settled in after a 27-pitch inning in the second inning that netted two Sooner runs (one earned). All told, it's been a pretty typical outing for Degerman, as one or two innings is typically the only hole that the opposition gets. Through 5 2/3 innings, he's allowed five hits and one walk while striking out seven batters.

Houston: Halfway Home

Rice's threat in the bottom of the fourth resulted in one run, as Tyler Henley scored on a Brian Friday sacrifice fly to center.

In the top of the fifth, Russell Raley extended his hitting streak to seven games with a one out single to right and Ryan Rohlinger followed with a single up the middle for his second hit of the evening. After a flyout to right, Eddie Degerman struck out Brandon Moss on his 89th pitch of the evening to strand the Sooners on base.

Through 4 1/2 innings, Rice leads Oklahoma 7-2.

Houston: Two More Innings, No More Runs

After scoring eight runs in the first two frames, neither team has scored since -- we head to the bottom of the 4th with Rice leading Oklahoma 6-2.

Rice is threatening in their half of the fourth, as Tyler Henley led off with a double and moved to third on a Greg Buchanan single.

Continue reading "Houston: Two More Innings, No More Runs" »

Houston: Rice Responds In Kind

After the Sooners put two runs up in the top of the inning, Rice answered with two of their own in the bottom of the frame to re-extend the lead to two runs. Danny Lehmann doubled down the line in left with one out, moved to third on a bunt single by Tyler Henley and scored when Greg Buchanan singled to center. The Owls scored an additional run after two Steven Guerra wild pitches, before John Brownell came on to record the final out of the inning.

Through 2 innings, Rice leads 6-2.

Houston: Sooners Break the Shutout

For the first time in nine innings against Eddie Degerman, Oklahoma has touched home plate against the Owls. After Degerman struck out the first two batters in the second, Aaron Reza walked ad Jackson Williams was hit by a pitch. Joseph Hughes singled to right, and Reza slid into home just in front of the throw from Jordan Dodson. Chuckie Caufield hit the next pitch right to Brian Friday at short, but the ball bounced into leftfield and Williams scored the second run of the inning. The inning just ended on a grounder back to the mound, but Oklahoma cut the lead in half and the Owls now lead 4-2 heading into the bottom of the second.

Continue reading "Houston: Sooners Break the Shutout" »

Houston: Owls Fly Out to Early Lead

After Steven Guerra hit Tyler Henley and Greg Buchanan hit a chopper through the right side of the infield, Brian Friday hooked his ninth homer of the season around the left field foul pole to give Rice an early 3-0 lead against the Sooners.

Oklahoma skipper Sunny Galloway came out to argue the call with the third base umpire, but TV replays show the ball was fair by about five feet as it sailed over the 330' sign down the line.

The Rice fans are on the OU staff early. On his way back from visiting the mound, Galloway kicked the dirt on the first base line. That prompted the home plate umpire to start writing in his book (first warning of the game already!).

First pitch after the mound visit, Josh Rodriguez launches a shot to left field for his 10th homer of the season.

Owls still batting with no outs in the first, leading 4-0.

Houston: Degerman Solid In First

Eddie Degerman got the first two batters out in the top of the first, and after Ryan Rohlinger extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single to right field he induced Kevin Smith to pop-up to right to end the inning.

Owls coming up for the first time, no score on the board.

Houston: Let's Play Ball

The coaches and umpires are meeting behind home plate, so we're less than five minutes from kicking off the super regional between the Oklahoma Sooners and Rice Owls.

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Houston: By the Numbers

Statistics can lie, but I offer this table as an overview of the two teams.

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June 08, 2006

Oklahoma: Uncharted Territory

For the first time since the NCAA tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1999, the Oklahoma Sooners (44-20) have advanced to the Super Regionals. After making three College World Series appearances in the ’90s and winning it all in 1994, that’s a certifiable drought in Norman. In his first full season at the helm of the squad, Sunny Golloway has a roster laden with seniors who would love nothing more than ending the school’s ten-year absence from Omaha. The Sooners continue their quest at 6:00 pm on Saturday, traveling to Reckling Park to take on the #2 national seed Rice Owls (53-10).

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June 07, 2006

Rice: One Step Closer to the Prize

Rice (53-10) has been here before, as this will be the sixth time in the eight years since the NCAA changed the postseason format that the Owls will play in a super regional. The school has hosted three previous supers, and each time the home team has advanced to Omaha. None of the current players were on the field at Rosenblatt Stadium when Rice won the national championship in 2003, and after a two-year absence this team is hungry to return to Omaha. The Owls will get their chance this weekend against Oklahoma (44-20), with the first game scheduled to start at 6:00 pm on Saturday.

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