March 10, 2006
CORPUS CHRISTI -- The Rice baseball team gave all-America candidate Eddie Degerman big four-run lead to start the game and the senior right-hander coasted to his fourth win of the season without a loss on the way to an 8-1 win over TCU in the first game of the Whataburger College Classic tournament Friday afternoon in Corpus Christi.
Looking to snap a two-game losing streak, the Owls exploded for four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Greg Buchanan and sophomore Joe Savery slugged back-to-back one-out doubles to left-center for the first run of the game. Josh Rodriguez punched a base hit through the right side to put men on the corners and sophomore Jordon Dodson executed a perfect bunt to the right side for a base hit that scored Savery. The Owls had a 2-0 lead but the team wasn't finished. Freshman Aaron Luna was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Chad Lembeck and Brian Friday followed with back-to-back walks to bring two more in and stretch the margin to 4-0.
That appeared to be more than enough room for Degerman. He worked 6.2 solid innings, scattering five hits and allowing one run while striking out 10. TCU's Steven Trout knocked a solo home run to left field for the Horned Frogs only run of the game with two away in the top of the seventh inning. Degerman, now 4-0, has worked into the seventh in each of his last four starts and it was the second time this season for him to strike out 10 in a game. He has reached double-digit K's five times in his Rice career.
TCU cut the lead to 4-1, but the Owls answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame. With one away Buchanan was hit by a pitch and he scored on Savery's second RBI double of the game. Rodriguez brought him home with a hit and he scored on a double by Dodson to make it a 7-1 game. Rice added its final run in the eighth for an 8-1 final. Rodriguez collected three hits and drove in a pair of runs. Savery had two doubles and three RBI.
Reliver Bryce Cox worked the final 2.1 innings for his second save. He struck out four and allowed just one hit.
Rice next meets 14th-ranked Arizona State on Saturday in the second game of the round-robin tournament. First pitch with the Sun Devils is slated for 5:30 pm at Whataburger Field, home of the Houston Astros' AA affiliate the Corpus Christi Hooks.