March 31, 2006
METAIRIE, La. -- The sixth-ranked Rice baseball team scored three runs on just six hits and the Owls' pitching tandem of senior Eddie Degerman and Cole St.Clair made it stand up for a 3-1 win over eleventh-ranked Tulane in the opening game of a three-game Conference USA weekend series Friday night at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La.
Degerman and St.Clair combined to hold the Green Wave to just three hits and one run (unearned) on the way to the team's fourth win in a row. The duo also combined for 14 strikeouts to help get the Owls out of jams, including a Tulane rally in the eighth.
Rice jumped on the score board for runs in each of the first two innings. In the top of the first, leadoff hitter Tyler Henley advanced to first on a strikeout and wild pitch. He took second base on a ground out and scored on a two-out single to center by junior all-America candidate Josh Rodriguez.
The Owls took advantage of a Tulane miscue in the second to go up 2-0. Sophomore Chad Lembeck led off with a single and he advanced to second on a Green Wave throwing error to first base. He advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a squeeze bunt by sophomore Brian Friday.
Tulane answered by making the most of a Rice error in the fourth. With one away, shortstop Cat Evertt reached on a catcher's interference and a walk put men on first and second. Degerman notched a strikeout for the second out, but third baseman Seth Henry singled to right center for the Green Wave's first run of the game. Degerman ended the threat with his third strikeout of the inning.
Degerman pitched 6.0 innings, allowing an unearned run on three hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. He was relieved by sophomore Cole St.Clair and Rice added an insurance run behind him in the top of the eighth. Friday led off with a walk and a sacrifice bunt by Travis Reagan advanced him to second. A single by Henley put men on the corners and base hit by Greg Buchanan scored Friday and a 3-1 advantage.
Tulane put two men on in the bottom of the eighth but St.Clair used a strikeout and ground out to keep the Green Wave in check. He recorded his fourth save of the season and preserved a win for Degerman (6-0) with a 1-2-3 ninth. St.Clair did not allow a hit and struck out seven of the 11 batters he faced.
The Owls improved to 22-8 on the season and 3-1 in C-USA action. Tulane fell to 18-10 overall and 2-2 against the league. The teams play the second game of the weekend set on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 2 pm at Zephyr Field.