March 26, 2006
HOUSTON -- Rice pitchers Joe Savery and Bryce Cox combined for a 5-0 shutout win over visiting East Carolina in the finale of a three-game Conference USA series Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park. With the win the Owls claimed the weekend series over the Pirates two games to one.
The teams were locked in a scoreless pitchers duel for six-and-a-half innings before Rice rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh and three more in the eighth. Savery scattered six hits and two walks over a season-long eight innings of work. He struck out five on the day and improved his record to 4-1 while lowering his season ERA to 1.68. The Pirates managed to reach third base a total of three times, in the first, seventh and eighth, but Savery worked his way out of each situation without allowing any runs. With a five-run lead in the ninth, Cox pitched the final inning to preserve the team's third shutout win of the season.
ECU starting pitcher Brody Taylor matched the shutout effort for six innings. In the seventh the Owls posted a pair of runs when sophomore Danny Lehmann led off with a single to left and freshman Aaron Luna sacrificed him over to second base. Sophomore Tyler Henley punched a ball through the right side to score Lehmann and he advanced to second on the throw home. The next batter grounded out third to first, but Henley displayed his base-running skills by taking third base on the play. He opportunistically came home when the throw to get him at third sailed wide and the Owls were up, 2-0.
In the eighth, two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs for right fielder Chad Lembeck. The junior from Lakewood, Col., doubled off the corner of the left field wall to score a pair and give the Owls a 4-0 lead. A one-out single by Derek Myers brought home the final run to stretch the margin to 5-0.
With the win Rice improved to 20-8 on the season and 2-1 in C-USA action. East Carolina fell to 17-9 overall and 1-2 in league play.
The Owls now take to the road for their next five games. Rice plays at Texas State on Tues, Mar. 28, followed by a three-game C-USA weekend series at Tulane starting Mar. 31. A total of ten of the team's next 13 games are on the road.