March 4, 2006
HOUSTON -- For the second day in a row, junior all-America candidate Josh Rodriguez' late-game heroics lifted the top-ranked Rice baseball team to a win over 13th-ranked Cal. State Fullerton at Reckling Park. Rodriguez' second double of the game Saturday afternoon broke a 2-2 deadlock in the bottom of the eighth inning and sparked the Owls to a four-run outburst that was the difference in a 6-2 Rice win.
Less than 24 hours earlier in the series-opener on Friday night, Rodriguez blasted a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Blue and Gray a 3-2 win over the visiting Titans. Saturday he drove a 2-2 pitch to the wall in right center with the bases loaded and one-away, scoring two to give the Owls their first lead of the day, 4-2. Rice added two more on a wild pitch and sacrifice fly to stretch the margin to 6-2.
Rodriguez also had a double to lead off the bottom of the second inning. He came around and scored to tie the game 1-1 after the Titans chipped away for a run on one hit in the top of the frame.
Cal. State Fullerton regained the lead in the top of the sixth. Blake Davis led off with a bunt single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He took third on a ground out to the right side and scored on a balk.
The Owls came right back with a run in their half of the inning to tie the game, 2-2. Senior Greg Buchanan led off with a double and scored on back-to-back ground outs. The Owls efficiently scored six runs on seven hits. Rodriguez ended the day with two doubles in four at bats with three RBI and two runs scored.
The Titans tried one last rally in the top of the ninth inning but Rice reliever Cole St.Clair ended the threat. Bobby Bell earned the win working in relief of Joe Savery.
Rice improved to 13-2 on the season while the Titans fell to 9-6. Sunday's finale of the three-game series is slated for 1 pm at Reckling Park.