March 3, 2006
HOUSTON -- Junior all-America candidate Josh Rodriguez' blasted a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lead the number one ranked Rice baseball team to a 3-2 victory over 13th-ranked Cal. State Fullerton in front of 3,541 roaring fans in the first of a three-game weekend series Friday night at Reckling Park.
Rodriguez connected on a 3-1 pitch to lead off the 10th inning and break a 2-2 deadlock. His third home run of the season cleared the left field wall to give the Owls' their seventh-consecutive win and ninth victory in the last 10 games.
Rice jumped on the scoreboard for a run in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff batter Tyler Henley was hit by a pitch and he took second on a balk. Henley moved to third on a ground out to the right side and he scored on a one-out single to right by Joe Savery.
Cal. State Fullerton tied the game with an unearned run in the top of the fourth. Brett Pill reached on an fielding error to start the frame and he stole second to move into scoring position. He took third on a ground out and and scored on a single by Danny Dorn.
The Titans took the lead, 2-1, with a run in the sixth. Blake Davis led off with a double down the left field line and he scored after advancing on consecutive ground outs. The Titans had only three hits for the entire game but appeared to have a chance of slipping away with a road win.
The Owls, however, rallied for a run in the eighth inning to tie the game. Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to second on sacrifice bunt by Jordan Dodson. Rodriguez took third on a fly ball to center and scored on an infield single that Brian Friday beat out by hustling down the first base line.
The starting pitchers for both teams pitched well enough to win. Rice starter Eddie Degerman allowed just one earned run on three hits and a walk while striking out nine. CSF starter Wes Roemer allowed seven hits and no walks in seven innings while striking out six. Rice senior Bryce Cox moved to 1-1 with a solid 2.1 innings in relief.
Rice improved to 12-2 on the season. The Titans fell to 9-5 as their six-game win-streak came to an end. Game two of the series is slated for 2 pm at Reckling Park. The finale is Sunday at 1 pm.