Feb. 25, 2006
HOUSTON -- Freshman Aaron Luna drove in the go ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the second-ranked Rice baseball team to a 3-2 win over seventh-ranked Nebraska Saturday at the annual Rice Invitational Tournament at Reckling Park, preserving a win for senior Eddie Degerman in a pitcher's duel with the Cornhusker's Joba Chamberlain.
The two pitchers combined for 19 strikeouts and just two walks between them as they both worked into the seventh inning of a 2-2 game. It was evident early in the contest that runs were going to be at a premium as Degerman struck out three of the first six batters he faced.
Rice got on the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Chad Lembeck led off with a single to right field and advanced to second base on a balk. The next batter, sophomore Jordan Dodson, extended his hitting streak to a career-best seven games with a single through the left side that scored Lembeck for a 1-0 Rice lead.
The Owls stretched the margin to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Dodson blasted a two-out solo home run to left field, his second round-tripper in as many games, after knocking his first of the year against St. John's the night before.
Nebraska came right back with two runs in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game, 2-2. With only two hits heading into the fifth, the Cornhuskers strung together three in a row for their first run of the game. Left fielder Nick Jaros added the team's fourth hit of the inning to tie the game before Degerman could end the rally by striking out the side.
Degerman allowed two runs on eight hits with nine strikeouts through seven innings. Chamberlain had an even better pitcher's line, allowing two runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts through six.
In the seventh Rice rallied for one final run. Lembeck led off with a walk and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Dodson. The next batter, Luna, singled to drive him in for a 3-2 Rice lead. Senior Bryce Cox relieved Degerman in the top of the eighth and earned his first save of the season by retiring six of the seven men he faced. The Owls improved to 9-2 on the season. Degerman is now 3-0 in three starts. Nebraska fell to 4-2.
The Rice Invitational concludes Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park. Nebraska meets St. John's in the first game of the double-header at noon. The Owls host Texas State in the tournament finale at 3:30 pm.
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