June 1, 2007
HOUSTON -- The Rice pitching tandem of Matt Langwell and Bobby Bramhall combined on a five-hit shut out as the number two-seeded Owls claimed a 5-0 win over the Panthers in the first round of the NCAA Houston Regional Friday evening at Reckling Park. With the team's 50th win of the season, Rice advanced to the winner's bracket and will meet 16th-ranked TCU at 6 pm (Central) Saturday.
The Owls scored a pair of runs early and then opportunistically took advantage of some fielding miscues to add three insurance runs late. That was all the room the Owls' two College Station natives, Langwell and Bramhall, needed. Langwell scattered four hits and a walk in 7.0 innings of work. The sophomore right-hander struck out eight and extended a streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 19.1 in a row. Prairie View reached scoring position only four times in the game, but the Owls were able to contain the threats.
When Panther second baseman Spenser Dennis led off the top of the eighth with a double to center, Bramhall came out of the bullpen and struck out the side. He then closed out the ninth to preserve the team's eighth shutout of the season and the Owls' first shutout in an NCAA Tournament game since 2002.
Rice used the longball to open the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Jared Gayhart singled before taking second base on a Prairie View fielding error. Junior Tyler Henley followed by blasting a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall. His sixth home run gave the Owls an early 2-0 advantage.
The Blue & Gray added two more in the seventh on a walk, a hit batsman and two Panther fielding errors. Rice scored an unearned run in the eighth after more Prairie View miscues. Henley finished the day with two hits, a home run, two RBI and a run scored.
Rice improved to 50-12 on the season. Prairie View fell to 34-24. The Panthers next meet Baylor in a 2 pm (Central) elimination game on Saturday. Baylor was defeated by TCU in the day's first game by a score of 3-2.
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