April 9, 2006
HOUSTON -- Sophomore Tyler Henley went 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and three RBI to help lift the third-ranked Rice baseball team to a 7-3 win over visiting Conference USA rival UAB, clinching a sweep of the three-game weekend league series Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park for the Owls' 10th win in a row.
Henley sparked the team for a run in each of the first two innings. He led off the first with an infield single and he advanced to second on a balk. Henley took third on a ground out to the right side and scored when junior Josh Rodriguez reached first on a fielder's choice. In the second sophomore Jordan Dodson drew a two out walk and junior Travis Reagan followed with a single through the right side that allowed Dodson to take third. Henley slugged an RBI double into right field for a 2-0 Rice lead.
UAB came right back with a run in the top of the third. Ryan Metcalf led off with a single up the middle and he stole second to move into scoring position. Metcalf advanced to third base on a balk and he scored on a ground out.
The Blazers tied it with a run in the sixth and took the lead in the seventh. In the sixth Jorge Gutierrez bounced a two-out single up the middle and Danny Sawyer laced a triple into the right field corner to tie the game, 2-2. The UAB trio of J.R. Bond, Phillip Bell and Ryan Metcalf led off the seventh with consecutive singles to give the Blazers their first lead of the game at 3-2.
Rice didn't stay down very long. In the bottom of the frame senior Greg Buchanan tied the game, 3-3. With two away he drove a 2-1 pitch over the right field wall for his third homer of the season.
The Owls broke the game open by exploding for four runs in the bottom of the eighth. With one away Chad Lembeck was hit by a pitch and Dodson walked. Sophomore Joe Savery came off the bench and delivered a dramatic base hit into right field to score Lembeck for the go-ahead run, 4-3. A Blazer fielding error on the play allowed Dodson to score and Savery to advance all the way to third. Henley followed with his fourth home run of the season to drive in two more and stretch the margin to 7-3.
Sophomore left-hander Cole St.Clair earned the win working in relief of starter Bobby Bell. St.Clair retired all eight batters he faced and notched five strikeouts in 2.2 innings. Bell was sound and solid in his first start on the mound since Feb. 19. Bell allowed three Blazer runs on five hits and two walks while striking out six in 6.1 innings.
Rice improved to 28-8 overall and a C-USA leading 8-1 record in league action. UAB fell to 13-20 on the year and 0-6 in conference. The Owls next face longtime rival Baylor on April 11 in Waco to start a five-game road swing. First pitch with the Bears is slated for 6 pm a the Baylor Ballpark.