Feb. 4, 2006
HOUSTON - True freshman Aaron Luna made the most of his NCAA debut, slugging home runs in each of his first two college at bats, and four Owl pitchers combined for a three-hit shut out to lead the fourth-ranked Rice baseball team to a 9-0 victory over Central Missouri State in the Owls' season-opener Saturday afternoon at Reckling Park.
Luna's two blasts ignited a 14-hit Rice attack, highlighted by three home runs, a triple and three doubles. Rice newcomer Chad Lembeck, a sophomore transfer, also connected for an early homer as the Owls built an 8-0 lead through the first four innings. Five Owls collected two or more hits and seven of the nine starters in the batting order hit safely in the 2006 debut.
Rice went up 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run homer by Luna to left field. Lembeck led off the second with a homer to center and Luna did the same in the third. The Owls added a three-run fourth on three hits and another run in the sixth to stretch the margin to 9-0.
For as solid as the hitting was the Rice pitching was on-target. Joe Savery, Eddie Degerman, Cole St.Clair and Bryce Cox combined to hold the Mules to no runs on three hits while combining for 12 strikeouts. Savery started and fanned five in four scheduled innings of work. Degerman struck out six in three innings and also worked out of a no-outs, bases-load jam in the sixth.
Looking sharp out of the gate is nothing new for head coach Wayne Graham. The Owls are now 14-1 in their home-opener and 13-2 in their season-opener under Graham. Central Missouri fell to 1-1. The Mules went 57-9 a year ago competing in NCAA Division II.
Rice (1-0) next faces McNeese State at home on Tuesday (Feb. 7). First pitch with the Cowboys is slated for 4 pm at Reckling Park.
College Baseball Linescore
Central Missouri St. 000 000 000 -- 0 3 0 (1-1)
RICE OWLS 212 301 00x -- 9 14 2 (1-0)
Owen Williams, Kevin Turmail (3), Travis Pyatt (5), Chris Radliff (7), Josh Paul (8). Joe Savery, Eddie Degerman (5), Cole St.Clair (8), Bryce Cox (9) and Danny Lehmann, Travis Reagan (8), Adam Zornes.
W- Joe Savery (1-0). L- Owen Williams (0-1). Save- none. 2B- CMS: none; Rice: Brian Friday, Joe Savery, Jordan Dodson. 3B- CMS: none; Rice: Josh Rodriguez. HR- CMS: none; Rice: Aaron Luna 2 (2), Chad Lembeck (1). T- 2:41; Att- 4,485