May 24, 2006
HOUSTON -- The tandem of senior Greg Buchanan and freshman Adam Zornes combined for six hits and six RBI to spark the number one ranked Rice baseball team past visiting UAB 9-3 in the first round of the week-long Conference USA Tournament Wednesday afternoon in front of 2,320 fans at Reckling Park. The Owls advance into the winners' bracket of the double-elimination tournament and next play the winner of the late Memphis-Southern Miss game at 7:30 pm on Thursday (May 25).
Zornes drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning and he proceeded to drive in runs in the fourth and sixth on the way to tying a career high four RBI on three base hits. The standout from nearby St. Thomas High School now has six total hits in his last two games. Buchanan was just as hot with a 3-for-5 day and pair of RBI. The team improved to 47-10 with its seventh-straight win.
In the bottom of the second Joe Savery drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a base hit by Aaron Luna. Savery scored on a Zornes hit through the right side and Luna came home on a wild pitch to make the score 2-0. In the fourth Savery again singled with one away and he advanced on another Luna base hit. Zornes brought Savery home with a single into center.
UAB answered with two runs in the sixth to make the score 3-2. Blazer leadoff hitter Jorge Gutierrez walked and Danny Sawyer hit a one-out home run to left.
The Owls came right back with six runs in the bottom of the frame. Josh Rodriguez and Savery drew back-to-back walks and both came home on Zornes' third-hit of the day. Two more walks loaded the bases and a single by Tyler Henley added two more runs. Buchanan drove in the final two runs of the inning with a hit as the Owls stretched the margin to 9-2.
UAB added a run in the top of the seventh and was looking for more, but sophomore reliever Bobby Bramhall entered the game and ended the threat with a ground ball. Bramhall fired 2.1 scoreless innings of one-hit relief while striking out four. Senior Eddie Degerman was the starter and notched his 11th win of the year by allowing only three runs in 6.2 innings on three hits. He registered nine strikeouts.
UAB fell to 19-37 on the year. The Blazer's next play in Thursday's 12:30 pm elimination game, one of four games on the day's tournament schedule. The C-USA Tournament continues through Sunday (May 28). The championship final will be televised by CSTV.