Like A Glove! Owls Clinch C-USA Regular Season Championship With 13-3 Win
11-Straight League Titles
May 14, 2006
Sophomore designated hitter Joe Savery went 3-for-5 with a home run and double while tying a career-high with five RBI to pace the number one ranked Rice baseball team to a seven inning-shortened 13-3 win over crosstown rival Houston in front of 4,817 fans in the finale of the three-game Conference USA/Silver Glove Trophy series Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park. Not only did Rice win the Silver Glove Trophy for a sixth year in a row, the Owls clinched the regular season C-USA championship and the number one seed in the conference tournament beginning May 24 at Reckling Park.
The league title was Rice's 11th-straight dating back to 1996 and the Owls' first as a new C-USA member. Rice (42-10 overall and 19-2 in C-USA) won the final Southwest Conference championship in 1996 then nine-straight as a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 1997-2005. The Owls clinched the C-USA title over second pace Houston (35-19, 18-6) as the Cougars concluded their 24-game C-USA slate. Rice still has three league games to play at Marshall next weekend and can do no worse than 19-5 in conference.
Rice retained the Silver Glove Trophy for the sixth-straight season. Eight Owls, including Savery (1b), Brian Friday (ss), Tyler Henley (of), Danny Lehmann (c), Aaron Luna (of), Josh Rodriguez (3b), Cole St.Clair (p) and Craig Crow (wild card) were named to the 2006 all-Silver Glove Series Team. Savery and Henley both .462 with identical 6-for-13 weekends. With an outstanding Sunday finale, Savery finished with two home runs and a double for a 1.000 slugging percentage.
Houston made the game's first move to claim The Glove by jumping on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Isa Garcia hit a one-out double to right-center field and Matt Weston followed with a home run to right. It was Weston's third homer of the series and gave the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
The Owls came right back and tied the game in the bottom of the inning with two runs on three hits. Senior Greg Buchanan drove the ball deep into the gap in right-center for a stand-up triple. He scored easily on a base hit by Friday that extended the sophomore's team-best hitting streak to 14-consecutive games. Friday moved to second on a ground out to the right side and he scored on a two-out base hit up the middle by Savery.
Houston broke the tie with a run on three hits in the third. With runners on second and third, Weston knocked a one-out single into left. A run scored, but a throw and relay to the plate prevented another score and the Owls were able to work out of the jam.
Rice rallied for the lead for good in the fourth. Rodriguez started it off with a single and Savery blasted his sixth home run of the year to give the Blue and Gray a 4-3 advantage. Luna doubled, Lehmann was hit by a pitch and Jordan Dodson and Travis Reagan singled to score one. A fielder's choice by Henley scored the fourth run of the inning to stretch the lead to 6-3.
Friday led off the fifth with a solo home run to make the score 7-3. The Owls then exploded for five more in the bottom of the sixth on three hits, two walks and a hit batter. The big blow was a two-run double to left by Savery. Holding a 12-3 lead, Rice added one more score in the seventh to force C-USA's 10-run rule and end the game.
Junior pitcher Craig Crow entered the game in relief of Savery and fired 4.1 scoreless innings for his sixth win of the season. He scattered three hits and did not allow a walk while striking out four.
Rice next plays LSU in Metairie, La., on Tuesday, May 16. Start time with the Tigers is 7 pm at Zephyr Field. The Owls then meet C-USA foe Marshall May 18-20 in Charleston, WVa., to conclude the regular season.
2006 Silver Glove Trophy All-Series Team
C: Danny Lehmann, Rice
1B: Joe Savery, Rice
2B: Isa Garcia, Houston
3B: Josh Rodriguez, Rice
SS: Brian Friday, Rice
OF: Matt Weston, Houston
OF: Tyler Henley, Rice
OF: Aaron Luna, Rice
P: Brad Lincoln, Houston
P: Cole St.Clair, Rice
Wild Card: Craig Crow, Rice