June 10, 2006
HOUSTON -- The number one ranked Rice baseball team scored early and pounded out 14 hits in support of senior starting pitcher Eddie Degerman as the Owls posted a 10-4 win over ninth-ranked Oklahoma in the opening game of the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional Saturday evening at Reckling Park. With the team's 14th win in a row, Rice is now just one win away from advancing to the College World Series in Omaha for the fifth time in school history.
Rice jumped on the scoreboard for four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Tyler Henley led off by getting hit by a pitch and Greg Buchanan followed with a single through the right side. The next batter, Brian Friday, blasted a home run down the left field line and the Owls were quickly up 3-0. Junior Josh Rodriguez made it back-to-back home runs with a solo shot to left that extended the lead to 4-0.
Oklahoma came right back with two runs in the top of the second. Aaron Reza drew a two-out walk and Jackson Williams was hit by a pitch. Joseph Hughes punched a base hit through the right side to score Reza. A fielding error on the next play allowed Williams to dash home from second base and cut the margin to 4-2.
In the bottom of the frame Danny Lehmann drove a one-out double down the left field line and he moved to third on a base hit by Henley. Lehmann scored on Buchanan's second hit of the day. A pair of wild pitches moved Henley up two stations from second base that made the score 6-2.
In the fourth, Henley led off with a double to right and moved to third on Buchanan's third hit. Henley came home on a sacrifice fly by Friday and the Owls were up 7-2.
The Sooners rallied for two runs in the seventh. Russell Raley worked a two-out walk and scored on a double to left by Ryan Rohlinger. Kevin Smith followed with a matching double to right that scored Rohlinger. the sooners had made it a three-run game, 7-4.
That was enough offensive support for Degerman. The senior all-America worked 6.2 innings to improve his record to 13-1. He scattered five singles and one double while striking out eight. With the eight strikeouts Degerman set a new Conference USA record for strikeouts in a single season with 158 this year. He was relieved by senior Bryce Cox, who was sharp in striking out four in 2.1 scoreless innings.
In the bottom of the seventh the Blue and Gray scored three more times on the strength of two home runs. Freshman Aaron Luna led off with a solo shot to left-center for his 15th round-tripper of the year. Freshman Adam Zornes doubled and two batters later Danny Lehmann connected for his third homer of the season to stretch the margin to 10-4.
Rice improved to 54-10 on the season. The team has won all four of its NCAA Tournament games dating back to last week's regional. Oklahoma fell to 44-21 on the year. Game two of the NCAA Super Regional is scheduled for Sunday at noon. The contest will be televised by ESPN.