March 15, 2006
Huntsville -- The third-ranked Rice baseball team scored eight runs on 11 hits, but a Sam Houston State rally in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Bearkats to a 9-8 win over the visiting Owls Wednesday evening at the SHSU Baseball/Softball Complex in Huntsville.
Rice staged two rallies of their own before taking an 8-6 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. The Owls' bullpen walked each of the first three batters and hit the fourth with a pitch to score the first run. Sam Houston State then used a sacrifice fly to tie the game and a two-out single push across the winning run in a near four-hour marathon.
Sam Houston jumped out to a big lead in the first inning. Five of the first six batters in the game hit safely and the Bearkats proceeded to bat around in putting up a four-run first. Rice answered with two runs in the top of the second inning. A Sam Houston fielding error led to the Owls' first run and a two-out single by freshman Aaron Luna made it 4-2. The Bearkats collected another three hits in the second to go back in front 5-2. Eight of Sam Houston's 15 hits on the night were in the first two innings.
Rice chipped away for three runs in the next two frames. The Owls converted a pair of walks to start the third into one run. In the top of the fourth junior Travis Reagan walked and sophomore Tyler Henley reached on catcher's interference. Both advanced on a ground out to the right side and scored on a two-out double to left-center by Joe Savery that tied the game, 5-5.
SHSU regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth with a run after a leadoff double, but Rice battled back to tie it, 6-6, in the seventh. Sophomore Jordan Dodson drew a walk and sophomore Brian Friday followed with a single. Friday was caught attempting to steal second base, but he was able to distract the defense long enough to allow Dodson to score from third.
In the Sam Houston eighth the Bearkats loaded the bases with no one out, but Rice worked out of the jam without allowing any runs after turning a double-play on a come-back shot to the pitcher and a ground out. The defense provided a spark when the Owls came to bat in the top of the ninth. Friday was hit by a pitch and sophomore Bobby Bramhall doubled into the right field corner to give Rice its first lead of the game, 7-6. Henley connected for a two-out single that scored Bramhall that stretched the margin to 8-6.
Three different Owls tried to close it in the ninth, but the Bearkats had the final rally. Rice fell to 16-6 on the season while Sam Houston State improved to 10-8.
Rice next hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a two-game weekend series March 18-19 at Reckling Park.Game times with the Islanders are slated for 2 pm Saturday and 1 pm Sunday.
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