June 21, 2006
OMAHA -- Down but not out, the top-ranked Rice University baseball team did not have an answer for Oregon State and fell by a score of 5-0 in a semifinal game of the College World Series before a record Rosenblatt Stadium crowd of 30,335 and national television audience on ESPN Wednesday evening in Omaha. The loss is only the Owls' first in Omaha, so Rice and OSU are slated for a rematch Thursday at 7 pm where a bid to the CWS' final championship series is on the line.
Rice avoided a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first inning and a first and third situation in the second, but even being able to work out of some big innings would not have mattered on a day the Owls were held scoreless on just five hits.
Oregon State struck for three runs in the bottom of the third inning. John Wallace led off with a single, Cole Gillespie drew a walk and Bill Rowe followed with an RBI single through the left side. Back-to-back hit batters forced another run home and the Beavers still had the bases loaded with no one away. A ground out scored another and stretched the margin to 3-0.
OSU third baseman Shea McFeely clubbed a solo home run in the sixth to make the score 4-0. A triple by Gillespie and sacrifice fly in the seventh made the score 5-0.
Junior Josh Rodriguez and sophomore Tyler Henley had four of Rice's five hits. The closest Rice came to scoring was stranding a man on third with two away in the first, loading the bases with two outs in the fourth, and leavinf runners on the corners in the seventh.
The Owls fell to 57-12 on the season. Oregon State improved to 47-15. The winner of Thursday's second game between the teams advances to meet North Carolina in the best-of-three championship series beginning on Saturday. Rice announced senior all-America Eddie Degerman as its starting pitcher.