June 8, 2007
HOUSTON -- With no shortage of drama, the number one ranked Rice baseball team rallied to tie the opening game of the NCAA Super Regional with a run in the bottom of the ninth inning before claiming a 3-2 win in the tenth over sixth-ranked Texas A&M in front of a crowd of 5,074 Friday evening at Reckling Park in Houston.
The Owls, now 53-12 on the season, have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. Rice is just one win away from advancing to the College World Series in Omaha for the second year in a row and the sixth time since 1997.
Texas A&M opened the scoring with runs in the top of the second and third innings to take a 2-0 lead. First baseman Blake Stouffer led off the second with a double down the right field line. He advanced to third base on a ground out to the right side an scored when Luke Anders laced a single just inside the first base bag. In the third, back-to-back two-out doubles by Kyle Colligan and Brandon Hicks doubled the margin.
Rice chipped away for a run in the bottom of the fifth after a pair of A&M fielding miscues. J.P. Padron reached two bases on a throwing error to start it off. Derek Myers came off the bench as a pinch runner and the move paid off. He hustled to score from second base on a second-consecutive Aggie fielding error and the lead was down to a narrow 2-1.
The Owls had the leadoff man on base four times in the game but couldn't convert the opportunities to runs. In the ninth Jordan Dodson led off with a base hit through the left side and he moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Henley. Freshman Diego Seastrunk looped a single to center and Dodson sprinted home with the tying run.
All-America reliever Bobby Bramhall
meanwhile continued to hold the Aggies in check with 2.2 hitless innings out of the bullpen. The College Station native struck out four and allowed only one walk on the night
When the teams moved into extra innings for the second time in as many meetings, the Owls rallied one final time. Danny Lehmann surprised the crowd and the national television audience with a two-out bunt for a base hit. The Aggies pitched carefully to Joe Savery and walked the first-round draft pick to put runners on first and second. Dodson followed with a base hit through the left side and Lehmann flew around the bases with the winning score.
Texas A&M (48-18) must now defeat Rice twice at home to win the Super Regional. The second game of the series is slated for 5 pm at Reckling Park and will be televised nationally by ESPNU.