Feb. 21, 2006
HOUSTON -- Senior second baseman Greg Buchanan went 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored, two steals, and a sensational defensive stop on a liner up the middle that started a double play, and junior Josh Rodriguez belted his second home run of the season, to help lead the second-ranked Rice baseball team to a 9-3 win over visiting Sam Houston State Tuesday afternoon at Reckling Park.
Rice opened up an early 4-0 lead with a run in the second inning and three more in the third. In the second, outfielder Chad Lembeck drove a one-out double to left field and scored on a single to center by third baseman Aaron Luna. In the next inning, Tyler Henley led off with a walk and advanced to third when Buchanan reached on a fielding error. Buchanan stole second and the Bearkats chose to intentionally walk Rodriguez with one away. The next batter, Jordan Dodson, responded with a double down the right field line to score two and Lembeck grounded a ball to the right side to score Rodriguez.
Sam Houston came right back with two runs in the top of the next inning. Karl Krailo reached on a fielding error to start the fourth and he scored after back-to-back singles by Gregory O'Neil and Dustin Martin. A sacrifice advanced the runners and O'Neil was able to score when the throw to home plate after an infield grounder sailed away.
Rice got one back with a run in the fourth. Sophomore Brian Friday singled, moved to second on a sacrifice and eluded a tag to take third on a fielder's choice. He scored on a sacrifice bunt by Buchanan to make it 5-2. In the bottom of the seventh Buchanan made a diving stop on a liner up the middle that started an inning-ending double play. It helped spark a big three-run rally when the Owls came to bat in the bottom of the seventh. The big hit was a two-run homer to left by Rodriguez.
The Bearkats scored a run in the eighth on a walk and two more Rice fielding errors. The Owls finished with a season-high four defensive miscues. Rice added its final run with a solo homer by freshman Trey Sperring in the bottom of the eighth for a 9-3 final. Rice sophomore left-hander Cole St.Clair earned his second win of the season in his first career start on the mound.
The Owls next host host three teams with the annual Rice Invitational tournament Feb. 24-26. Nebraska, Texas State and St. John's join the Blue and Gray in round-robin play at Reckling Park. Friday's tournament action features Nebraska and Texas State at 1 pm and Rice and St. John's at 4:30.