April 25, 2006
HOUSTON -- Junior all-America candidate Josh Rodriguez went 4-for-5 with a double, triple and two RBI in a 15-hit attack as the number one ranked Rice baseball team came out strong after a rain delay and cruised to a 10-2 win over Texas State to close out a four-game homestand Tuesday evening at Reckling Park.
The Owls broke a 4-2 game wide-open after a 52-minute rain delay in the sixth inning. Rice came back from the break by exploding for five runs in the seventh with a final score in the eighth to post their 18th win in the last 19 games.
Rice came ready to hit and registered a run in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Tyler Henley led off with a single through the right side and he moved to second on a wild pitch. Henley scored his team-leading 44th run of the season on a single up the middle by Rodriguez.
The Bobcats tied the game with a run in the top of the fourth. Right fielder Luke Cannon led off with a walk and moved into scoring position on a ground out to the right side. Heath Keel doubled to left field to knot it up, 1-1.
The Owls came right back with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Rodriguez and Joe Savery led off with back-to-back doubles to score a run. Two batters later junior Chad Lembeck followed with a triple into the right field corner to stretch the margin to 3-1.
The teams traded runs in the fifth inning. In the top of the frame Thomas Field hit a one-out triple to right-center and he scored on a single to center with one-away by Kyle Jones to make it, 3-2. The Owls quickly returned the favor. Brian Friday slugged an infield single and he advanced a station with his 11th stolen base of the season. Rodriguez drove a ball into right center for another RBI and the Blue and Gray was back up by two, 4-2.
Rain moved through the area and forced a near-hour delay to the contest, but the Owls stayed in high gear. Rice proceeded to bat around in the seventh, scoring five runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batter. Rodriguez and Greg Buchanan clubbed triples in the inning, part of a season-high three on the night. The Owls were up 9-2 when sophomore Jordan Dodson added a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth for a 10-2 final.
Almost lost in the offensive fireworks and the rain was a solid pitching performance by sophomore Will McDaniel. The right-hander from nearby Bellaire Episcopal High School tied career-highs in innings (6) and strikeouts (4) in his first career start at Reckling Park. He scattered five hits and three walks in improving his season record to 5-1. Bobby Bramhall and Trey Sperring worked the final three innings without allowing a run and combining for five strikeouts.
Rice improved to 36-9 overall. Texas State fell to 22-23. The Owls next take to the road for a three-game Conference USA weekend series at the University of Central Florida Apr. 28-30. Game times in Orlando, Fla., are slated for 5:30 pm on both Friday and Saturday and 1 pm on Sunday. All times are Central.
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