June 15, 2007
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| Quotes | Postgame Press Conference
The Rice Owls, who found themselves down 10-4 after the top of the fifth, rallied to score the 11 times over their final five innings at the plate to beat Louisville 15-10 in front of 18,807 in the opening game of the 2007 College World Series.
The win was the Owls (55-12) sixth straight of the NCAA tournament and pushed them into the winner's bracket game on Sunday at 6 pm against the winner of tonight's Mississippi State-North Carolina game.
Trailing 10-9 heading to the bottom of the eighth, the Owls scored six times off Cards closer Trystan Magnuson (3-3) to complete their comeback.
Chad Lembeck led off with a single to right and advanced to second when Tyler Henley beat out a bunt to third base. He then came home to tie the game on a single to left by Joe Savery. Danny Lehmann, who failed to get down a bunt attempt earlier in the at-bat, doubled to left center to score Henley and give the Owls their first lead of the day.
One out later, Aaron Luna was intentionally walked to load the bases. Jess Buenger drove in Savery with a sac fly to left to push the lead to 12-10 and Jordan Dodson gave the Owls some breathing room with a two-run double to the gap in left center, scoring Lehmann and Luna. Dodson later scored on an error by Cards third baseman Chris Dominguez to close out the scoring.
Magnuson, who had allowed just nine runs all season, gave up six in the eighth to take the loss and send the Cards into a elimination game at 1 p.m. Sunday against the loser of the Mississippi State-North Carolina game.
Reliever Bobby Bramhall (7-2), who combined with Scott Longergan to hold a Louisville offense that had pounded out 14 hits in the first five innings to just one over the final four, picked up the win. He came on in the 8th and wriggled out of a one-out, bases loaded jam to keep the Owls within a run to set the stage for the Owls dramatic rally in the bottom of the inning.
Louisville (46-23) and playing in its first College World Series game in history, came out aggressive and roughed up Rice's freshman All American Ryan Berry for seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings Berry was gone in the third after Chris Dominguez staked the Cards to a 5-0 lead with a three-run homer. It was just the third time this year in 19 starts that Berry had not gotten out of the third inning. He gave up five runs and fanned three.
Rice responded to the Cards three-run outburst of Louisville starter Zack Pitts by rediscovering their own offensive talents in the bottom of the third, despite a remarkable leaping catch by Louisville's Whiting against the centerfield wall.
With one out in the frame, Jared Gayhart and Tyler Henley reached on back-to-back singles and Joe Savery drove a ball deep into right center that appeared headed for extra bases. But Whiting jumped against the wall and snared the blast for the second out. However the Owls would not be denied and responded with four consecutive, two-out singles to score four times and close the gap to 5-4. The four-run outburst broke a string of 25 2/3 scoreless innings for the Owls at Rosenblatt Stadium, dating back to the 2006 CWS.
The Cards responded with a run in the fourth on Logan Johnson's 14th homer to push the lead to 6-4. Matt Langwell, who came on in relief of Berry, was lifted in the fifth after allowing a two-run single by Whiting to extend the lead to 8-4. Johnson then greeted Scott Lonergan by drilling his first pitch into the right field seats for his second homer in as many at bats to up the lead to 10-4.
Pitts took a 10-4 lead into the fifth, but the Owls chased him before he would finish the frame. Lehmann and Seastrunk hit back-to-back singles after one out. Aaron Luna then scorched a ground ball under the glove of Cards shortstop Chris Cates. Lehmann scored on the error, while Seastrunk moved to third and Luna to second. Jess Buenger hit a sac fly to score Seastrunk and Jordan Dodson followed with a double off the wall in left center to score Luna and drive Pitts from the mound.
After Lonergan held the Cards off the board for the first time in the game in the sixth, Savery slugged a solo homer to the same spot in right center where Whiting had robbed him in the third. It was his sixth homer of the year and closed the gap to 10-8. After a second scoreless frame by Lonergan in the seventh, Luna drilled a solo homer, his 12th of the year, in the bottom or the seventh to draw the Owls to within a run at 10-9.
The Cards took advantage of Berry's first-inning control problems to open the scoring in the first. Whiting was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and advanced to second one out later when Daniel Burton was also hit by a pitch. Berry then struck out cleanup hitter Isaiah Howes, but Jorge Castillo followed with a run-scoring single to center.
Rice threatened to get that run right back in their half of the first when Brian Friday opened with a double down the line in left. But Louisville starter Zach Pitts retired Jared Gayhart on a fly to left and then struck out Tyler Henley and Joe Savery to strand Friday.
Louisville extended the lead to 2-0 in the second when Whiting bounced a ground-rule double over the left field wall, to score Pete Rodriguez, who had opened the inning with a single.
Rice again put runners in scoring position in the second, after Danny Lehmann was hit by a pitch to open the inning and Jess Buenger's two out single, but Jordon Dodson popped to short to end the threat.
The Owls 15 runs were their most ever in a College World Series game, topping the 14 runs they scored to win the 2003 title over Stanford (14-2). It was their largest output in NCAA play since a 27-1 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1999.