May 12, 2006
The Rice baseball team held visiting Houston to three runs on just four hits, but that was all the Cougars needed on the way to a 3-0 win over the number one ranked Owls before a crowd of 4,793 in the opening game of a three-game Conference USA/Silver Glove series Friday evening at Reckling Park.
Houston pulled to within a half-game of the C-USA leading Owls heading into Saturday's second game of the weekend set. The loss snapped Rice's win streak at eight games and its C-USA win streak at 17-consecutive games dating back to March 26.
The second-largest home crowd of the season and the fifth-largest in Reckling Park history saw the anticipated pitching match-up of two all-America candidates. Rice starter Eddie Degerman scattered four hits and struck out eight in working a season-long 8.2 innings. He suffered his first loss of the season, falling to 9-1, while maintaining a steady 1.69 ERA in 92.1 innings. Houston starter Brad Lincoln threw a complete-game five-hit shut out to move to 11-1. He struck out nine and walked two.
Houston opened the scoring in the top of the second inning. Matt Weston drew a leadoff walk and came home on a one-out triple to right center by Josh Stirneman. The ball was just beyond the reach of a diving Tyler Henley and Stirneman ran for his third triple of the season.
In the sixth Houston's Isa Garcia led off with a single to right field. Two batters later Weston hit a two-run home run to just right of the screen in center. It was only the second home run Degerman has surrendered in 89 innings and stretched the Cougar lead to 3-0.
Rice had men on base in five different innings, including third base in the fourth and sixth. The Owls had back-to-back one-out singles in the fourth and a wild pitch advanced both men into scoring position. After a strikeout a line drive by Joe Savery was snared to end the threat. In the ninth inning Josh Rodriguez drew a one-out walk and Savery followed with a single to put to men on first and second. Designated hitter Derek Myers brought the fans to their feet with a towering fly ball that easily cleared the left field fence, but the blast hooked foul and went as a strike on the scoreboard.
Rice fell to 40-10 on the season and 17-2 in conference. Houston improved to 35-17 overall and 18-4 against the league. The series for the annual Silver Glove Trophy as the city's collegiate champion continues at Reckling Park through Sunday. Rice has won each of the last five Silver Glove series dating back to 2001. Saturday's first pitch for game two is slated for 2 pm. Sunday's series finale starts at 1 pm.