April 21, 2006
HOUSTON -- The number one ranked Rice baseball team slugged four home runs, including two by Aaron Luna and a grand slam by Joe Savery, and made the most of a solid start on the mound from Eddie Degerman to cruise to a 12-3 win over 24th-ranked Southern Miss in the opener of a three-game Conference USA weekend series Friday evening at Reckling Park.
The Owls jumped on the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Greg Buchanan singled, advanced to second on a balk, and scored on a two-out single by Savery. The Blue and Gray added another on a solo homer by Luna to lead off the second, but Southern Miss came back with a run in the top of the fifth to make it 2-1.
Rice exploded for six runs in the bottom of the frame behind a Savery grand slam for his fourth home run of the year. Travis Reagan led off with a single and Tyler Henley followed with a double down the right field line. Both scored on a single to right by Buchanan and a single and walk loaded the bases for the Owls' sophomore first baseman. Savery connected on a 3-2 pitch to right-center to extend the lead to 8-1.
The Owls added a run in the sixth on a leadoff triple by Henley and sacrifice fly by Brian Friday. In the seventh Rice scored three more behind a two-run homer by Luna followed by a solo shot from Chad Lembeck as the Owls went back-to-back.
That was more than enough room for Degerman, who stayed undefeated on the season by improving his record to 9-0. The senior from Granada Hills, Calif., allowed just one run on three hits in seven innings of work. He struck out 10, reaching double-digit K's for the fifth time this season and the eighth time in his collegiate career.
Offensively Rice collected 16 hits, the 18th time this season to reach double-digits. Luna was 4-for-5 with three RBI and Savery was 2-for-5 while tying a career-high with five RBI. Henley collected three hits, including a double and triple.
Rice improved to 33-9 overall and a C-USA leading 12-1 with its 12th-straight league win. Southern Miss fell to 27-13 on the year and 5-5 in conference. The second game of the weekend series is slated for 2 pm at Reckling Park. The Series finale is 1 pm Sunday.