Rice: St.Clair closes Owl victory

By Amber Obermeyer - April 17, 2007

In by far his longest outing since returning from a shoulder injury, Cole St.Clair threw three innings of no-hit baseball, allowing just one baserunner--a walk to uber-hitter Kyle Russell. St.Clair threw his fastball 86-89 miles per hour, but it had enough movement to keep the Longhorn hitters off-balance.

I do think this game was more important to Rice than a garden variety mid-week matchup against Texas. The Owls (RPI No. 4) entered tonight's game with an 0-3 combined record against Texas (RPI No. 6) and Texas A&M (RPI No. 8). I tend to doubt that the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will give three national seeds to universities within a 100-mile radius, and an 0-4 record against those opponents would not have worked in the Owls' favor, to say the least. With tonight's victory, I think Rice moves squarely ahead of A&M...for now, of course--there are a lot of games left, including three against an upstart Memphis team that has already surprised a lot of people.

Announced attendance of 5,003 is the fourth-largest crowd in Reckling Park history, although the absolutely dreary weather turned some of those into no-shows.

I do know this for sure: Rice is a much, much better team with St.Clair pitching like he did tonight. Perhaps his return is what the Owls need to realize the potential people saw in them when they were chosen the consensus pre-season No. 1.

Posted by Amber Obermeyer at 11:05 PM on April 17, 2007

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