Feb. 11, 2006
HOUSTON - Texas' Kyle Russell slugged a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of ninth inning to lift tenth-ranked Texas to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over number two Rice in front of a rowdy crowd of 27,134 in Saturday's late game of the Houston College Classic Tournament held downtown at Minute Maid Park.
The fourth-largest crowd in NCAA history to see a regular season college game saw late rallies by both teams. Trailing 3-1, the Owls scored two runs in the top of the eighth and one in the ninth to go ahead 4-3. Rice senior reliever Bryce Cox came out of the bullpen in the eighth and set the Longhorns down in order. In the ninth he notched a strikeout, a walk and strikeout to get to the number nine spot in the Texas order. Russell came off the bench and slugged a 1-0 pitch into the top row of Minute Maid Park's Crawford Boxes in left field.
It was Rice's first defeat of the young season, falling to 3-1. Texas improved to 3-3 with a third-straight win. Both teams wrap-up action in the tournament Sunday at the Houston Astros' home field.
The Owls opened the scoring in the top of the third inning. Junior Travis Reagan was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a one-out single by Greg Buchanan. Freshman Aaron Luna laced a single into centerfield to score Reagan for his ninth RBI in four games.
Texas answered with a run in the bottom of the frame. Clay Van Hook doubled down the right field line and he took second on a ground out to the right side. Rice starter Joe Savery walked the next batter before losing a pitch in the dirt to advance both runners and tie the game 1-1. The Longhorns took the lead with two more runs in the fifth. Back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt put both men in scoring position. Chais Fuller singled to right to drive in both men for a 3-1 advantage.
In the eighth Brian Friday singled and scored after a Savery walk and single by Danny Lehmann. A Texas fielding error knotted the game up, 3-3. The Owls had the bases loaded but could not break through for more runs and deliver the knock out. In the top of the ninth two hit batters and another Longhorn fielding error gave Rice a 4-3 advantage.
The Owls play longtime rival TCU in the Sunday finale at 6 pm. Sophomore Bobby Bell is scheduled to make his second start of the season for Rice.