March 7, 2009
HOUSTON -- For the second time in as many starts, Rice junior right-hander Ryan Berry posted a dominating performance on the mound to pace the fifth-ranked Rice baseball team to a 9-0 win over visiting Notre Dame in the first game of the day at the 2009 Rice Invitational presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Saturday afternoon at Reckling Park.
Like his complete-game, two-hit shutout against Texas A&M last Saturday (Feb. 28), Berry duplicated the feat (almost to the letter) for a two-hit complete game shutout of the Fighting Irish. The junior from nearby Humble, Tex., scattered two harmless singles with no walks and eight strikeouts. He faced only one batter over the minimum, after one of the Notre Dame runners was caught stealing. He reached three balls in the count on a batter only one time in the outing and fanned six of the last 11 men he faced. Berry improved to 2-0 on the season. The victory was the 21st in his collegiate career.
The Owls batted around for a big five-run third that all but put the game out of reach. Steven Sultzbaugh started it off with a single, stole second and scored on an RBI single down the left-field line by Craig Manuel. It would prove to be all the Owls would need, but the offense wasn't finished. Chad Mozingo drew a one-walk to put men on first and second and Diego Seastrunk doubled both runners home for a 3-0 lead. Seastrunk scored on a two-out single by Rick Hague. Senior Jess Buenger followed with an RBI single to make it 5-0 on five hits.
The Blue & Gray came right back with a four-run fourth. Sultzbaugh was hit by a pitch and he scored on a double by the freshman Manuel. Jimmy Comerota walked and both runners moved into scoring position on Mozingo's sacrifice bunt. Manuel scored on a ground out to short behind the mound. Anthony Rendon drove in Comerota from second with a base hit to right and then took second base on the play. Moving up helped create another run as Hague collected an RBI single that stretched the margin to 9-0.
On the offensive side the Owls finished with nine runs on nine hits. Seastrunk was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Hague and Manuel both had two hits and two RBI in the contest.
Rice improved to 8-3 on the season with its third win in a row. Notre Dame fell to 4-4. Action in the annual round-robin tournament concludes Sunday (Mar. 8) at Reckling Park. Sunday's games feature a noon meeting between Washington State and Notre Dame. Rice meets Oral Roberts in the second game of the twinbill at 3:30 pm.