June 3, 2007
HOUSTON -- Unaffected by a rain delay that pushed the start of the game back over two hours, Rice's Danny Lehmann and Jared Gayhart both had a home run and a double to help lead the second-ranked Rice baseball team to a 6-3 win over TCU in the second round of the NCAA Houston Regional Saturday evening at Reckling Park.
With the team's second-straight win in the regional, and the 19th-consecutive victory when playing at Reckling Park, the Owls moved into the driver's seat heading into Sunday's action. Rice has the chance to clinch the regional in Sunday's first championship game slated for 6 pm. The Blue & Gray meets the winner of the TCU-Baylor elimination game scheduled for 2 pm. In fact, the TCU-Baylor winner must beat Rice on Sunday and again on Monday evening in the regional's double-elimination format.
When the teams took the field at 8:45 pm following the rain delay, Rice (playing as the visiting team) quickly put a run on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Brian Friday drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second base on wild pitch. He went to third base on an infield hit by Tyler Henley and scored on an RBI single by Joe Savery.
TCU answered with the longball to tie the game in the bottom of the second. Designated hitter Keith Conlon knocked a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right field. His ninth homer of the season knotted the score at 1-1.
The Owls came right back with a run in the next at bat. Gayhart doubled to right with one away and a two-out single to left by Savery brought him home to put Blue & Gray back in front 2-1.
Lehmann laced a one-out double down the left field line to start the fifth. Two batters later Gayhart blasted a pitch out of the park to right to stretch the lead to 4-1. The round-tripper was Gayhart's fourth of the season.
The Horned Frogs had a home run of their own in the bottom of the frame. Steven Trout drove a pitch over the wall in right that cut the lead to 4-2. Rice countered with an RBI single by Jordan Dodson
to score Aaron Luna
for a 5-2 lead.
TCU added a score in the seventh after a throw home on a ground ball with the bases loaded was in time, but just wide. Lehmann put one final insurance run on the board with his fourth homer of the year to start the top of the ninth.
The Horned Frogs tried two late rallies but both were extinguished by junior closer Cole St.Clair. The big left-hander got a double-play ground ball in the seventh and left men two men stranded in the eighth and ninth to earn his seventh save of the season.
Freshman Ryan Berry started the game on the mound and worked 6.1 solid innings. He allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and walk. He struck out seven to give him 109 on the season.
Rice is now 51-12 on the season. TCU moved to 47-13. Baylor defeated Prairie View A&M 9-2 Saturday afternoon to advance to the Sunday elimination game. Sunday's start times in the Houston Regional are set for 2 pm and 6 pm, respectively. All start times listed are Central time.