April 8, 2006
HOUSTON -- Sophomore Joe Savery went 2-for-5 with two RBI, including the game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth inning, to help rally the third-ranked Rice baseball team to an 8-7 win over visiting UAB in the second game of a three-game Conference USA weekend series Saturday afternoon at Reckling Park.
UAB came out hitting and forced the Owls to rally to rally three different times in the game. The final Rice rally in the eighth clinched the weekend series as the Owls won their ninth game in a row.
In the top of the first Jorge Gutierrez singled to center field and scored on a triple by Zac Ward. The Blazers added two more in the second when Phillip Bell was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single up the middle by Ryan Bell. Bell moved into scoring position with a steal and scored on a two-out base hit by Steven Turner to stretch the margin to 3-0.
The Owls answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Josh Rodriguez drew a walk and Brian Friday was hit by a pitch to put the first two men on base. Rodriguez took third on a fly out and with men at the corners, a delayed double-steal gave the Owls their first run of the game and moved Friday into scoring position. Chad Lembeck slugged an RBI double into the gap in left-center to make it 3-2
UAB came right back with a rally of its own to start the third. Gutierrez led off with a single and Danny Sawyer followed with his third home run of the season to back up by three, 5-2.
Rice sophomore Brian Friday blasted his first home run of the season in the fourth to make it 5-3 and the Owls finally tied it in the fifth with two runs on two hits, a hit batter, a wild pitch, a balk and Blazer fielding error. Freshman Aaron Luna was hit to lead off the inning and he moved to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third on a fly ball and scored on a two-out single by Savery. Savery advanced to second on a balk and third on an infield hit by Rodriguez. UAB mishandled the ball after the hit and Savery opportunistically scored to tie the game, 5-5, through five innings.
There was still a lot of baseball left to be played. UAB rallied to regain the lead with a run in the sixth. Rice answered with two in the bottom of the inning to take its first lead at 7-6. Just like the fifth, a hit batter to lead off the inning led to a Rice run. Travis Reagan was hit by a pitch and moved up one station on a sacrifice bunt by Lembeck. Reagan scored on a double to left-center by Jordan Dodson. Tyler Henley drove in Dodson with a two-out base hit to left.
As easily as Rice had scored, UAB tied the game for the third time in the seventh. Ward, who had already tripled in the game, added a home run off the screen in straight-away center field to make it 7-7.
With two away in the bottom of the eighth, Henley lined a ball into the right field corner. He took third on an infield hit by Greg Buchanan and scored the final run on Savery's game-winning hit through the middle of the infield.
Rice sophomore Will McDaniel earned his fourth win of the season throwing 1.1 innings of scoreless relief to close out the game. Pitchers Daniel Cooper, Bryce Cox and Bobby Bramhall all combined to hold the hot-hitting Blazers to two runs on three hits the final seven innings of the game.
Rice improved to 27-8 on the season and 7-1 in C-USA action. UAB fell to 13-19 on the year and 0-5 against the league. The C-USA weekend series concludes on Sunday. First pitch at Reckling Park is scheduled for 1 pm.