June 9, 2007
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Joe Savery made his last home appearance at Reckling Park one to remember and Matt Langwell danced around early trouble to lead Rice back to the College World Series with a 5-2 win in Game Two of the Houston (Rice) Super Regional on Saturday.
Before a record crowd of 5,234, Savery collected three hits and drove in three runs while Langwell and Cole St. Clair combined to hold the Aggies to a pair of runs as Rice closed out its 2007 season with 22 consecutive wins at home. This will be the top-ranked Owls (54-12) sixth trip to Omaha and their fourth in the last six years.
While the record throng was still setting into their seats, Rice opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning. Brian Friday led off the game with a double down the left field line. Following a Jared Gayheart strikeout and a Tyler Henley walk, Savery singled up the middle to drive in Friday, advancing Henley to third.
Texas A&M threatened in the bottom of the first. Kyle Colligan walked, Brandon Hicks singled and Blake Stouffer walked to load the bases. But, Craig Stinson struck out looking and Luke Anders hit a grounder to Savery who threw to Brian Friday to force Stouffer . Anders appeared to have beat the return throw from Friday to Langwell, who was covering first, but Stouffer was called for interference, turning the play into a 3-6-1 double play to end the threat.
Savery extended the Owls' lead to 2-0 with an opposite field home run (his fifth of the season) to left field to lead off the third inning.
In the fourth, the Owls added another run. Danny Lehmann was hit by a pitch to open the inning, then Friday and Gayheart both reached on well-executed sacrifice bunts to load the bases, chasing Texas A&M starter Kyle Thebeau. Henley grounded into a double play, but Lehmann scored, increasing the lead to 3-0.
The Aggies would get on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. Josh Stinson hit a two-out double down the right field line and scored when Darby Brown hit a long single that landed on the warning track in right field. It was Brown's first hit since April 20, as he has missed most of that time with a broken hand.
In the top of the seventh, Henley ripped a one-out triple down the right field line. He scored to make it 4-1 on Savery's third hit of the day, a single to right field.
The Owls added an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning. Jess Buenger reached base on an error by Aggie shortstop Brandon Hicks. He advanced to second on a Diego Seastrunk bunt and moved to third on a wild pitch. After Dodson walked, Lehmann sacrificed a bunt down the first base line, scoring Buenger to make it 5-1.
Aggie rightfielder Blake Stouffer cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning with his 12th home run of the season, a 340-foot shot down the left field line. But St. Clair dispatched of the Aggies in order in the 9th, the final out coming to rest in Savery's glove on a foul pop fly off the bat of Parker Dalton.
Langwell, a College Station native who grew up watching the Aggies, improved to 8-1 with the victory for Rice. He threw 6.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits, while striking out seven. Cole St.Clair came in to pitch the final 2.2 frames, surrendering a run on two hits in picking up his eighth save of the season.
Thebaeu (3-6) was tagged with the loss for Texas A&M. He gave up three runs on seven hits over three innings, fanning six and walking two.
The Owls will face the winner of tomorrow's Oklahoma State-Louisville game on Friday in Omaha at either 1 pm or 6 pm. Final determination of game times will not be released until all games of the Super Regional round have been completed.