Rice: Owls rally for 3-2 lead in seventh

By Jonathan Yardley - February 16, 2007

Rice rallied against Worley in the seventh, although the Owls did not tear the cover off the ball. Dirtbag defenders got a piece of the ball on two of Rice's three hits in the inning, but a two-run single from Jared Gayhart has given Rice a 3-2 edge into the eighth inning.

Rice had been outhit 9-2 through six and a half innings in this game. Even though Rice returned most of its starting lineup, the Owls have not found a groove at the plate this year. Vance Worley retired 10 consecutive hitters between Savery’s run-scoring double in the fourth inning and Chad Lembeck’s one-out single in the seventh. Danny Lehmann followed with a bloop double to right-center field, despite a valiant effort from Jason Corder in right field, putting runners at second and third for No. 8 hitter Aaron Luna.
As Weathers left Worley in the game, Wayne Graham pinch hit Adam Zornes for Luna with a chance to give Rice the lead.
After falling behind 3-1 on Zornes, Worley got the pinch hitter to foul off a 3-1 curve and then blazed a fastball past Zornes on the inside corner for a crucial strikeout. Weathers then called in reliever Andrew Liebel to face No. 9 hitter Jared Gayhart with two on and two out. With the count 2-2, Gayhart ripped a fastball back up the middle to score both runs and give Rice a 3-2 lead, much to the relief of the assembled Owl faithful.
Rice beat Cal State Fullerton 3-2 in the Friday night game of an early March series last year, and the Owls are hoping that score will hold up against Southern California opposition again.

Posted by Jonathan Yardley at 07:26 PM on February 16, 2007

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