March 12, 2006
CORPUS CHRISTI -- The number one Rice baseball team needed only seven innings to score a season-high 21 runs on a season-high 22 hits on the way to a 21-1 win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the final game of the Whataburger College Classic tournament Sunday afternoon in Corpus Christi, a contest that was shortened due to the travel rule.
Rice clubbed 22 hits and also posted season-highs in doubles (5), RBI (21) and total bases (38) while tying a season-high with three home runs. Among all the hitting stars, sophomore Chad Lembeck went 3-for-5 with five RBI a double and a home run. Sophomore Danny Lehmann was 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBI. Freshman Aaron Luna came off the bench to go 2-for-4 with four RBI and his fifth homer of the season.
The Owls jumped on the scoreboard for six runs on four hits and walk in the top of the first inning. The big blow was Lembeck's three-run shot to right. The Blue and Gray added eight more on seven hits in the third to take a 14-0 lead. Rice proceeded to score in each of the next three innings before umpires called the game through seven.
Almost lost among the offense was a solid starting pitching performance by Rice right-hander Will McDaniel. The sophomore from Houston worked a career-long 5.0 innings, scattering six hits and one walk while striking out a career-high four. He worked out of a base-loaded jam with no one out in the fifth behind some defensive help from sophomore Joe Savery at first base. Savery caught a sharply hit ball and doubled-off a man base. McDaniel struck out the next hitter to keep the Islanders in check. Pitchers Trey Sperring and Bryan Price added scoreless innings in relief.
Rice improved to 15-5 on the season. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the home team for the weekend round-robin tournament, fell to 9-11.
Three Owls were named to the Whataburger Classic all-tournament team. Lembeck was named as an outfielder after maintaining a .700 slugging percentage with a team-best six RBI. Senior Greg Buchanan (.333, two doubles, three runs scored) was the all-tournament second baseman and senior Eddie Degerman was a selection at pitcher on the strength of a win over TCU on Friday where he allowed just one run and struck out 10 in 6.2 innings.
Rice returns home to host the University of San Diego at Reckling Park on March 14. First pitch is at 7 pm.