May 31, 2009

Courtesy of Rice

HOUSTON-- The Rice baseball team collected 15 hits, including eight for extra bases, and sailed behind a complete game pitching performance from junior right-hander Jared Rogers for a 12-5 win over visiting Xavier in the early game of the NCAA Houston Regional Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park. The Owls fought-off elimination to advance to play Kansas State at 6 pm.

Playing as the visiting team at Reckling Park in the NCAA Tournament, Rice opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning. Rick Hague singled with one away and moved to third on a base hit to right by Diego Seastrunk. Hague scored on a single up the middle by Anthony Rendon for a 1-0 advantage.

Xavier quickly tied the game with a run in the bottom of the frame. Billy O'Conner led off with a single and walk to Drew Schmidt walk put runners on first and second. Neil Lindgren sacrificed both runners into scoring position. O'Conner scored from third on a Rice wild pitch.

The Owls exploded for four runs to go up 5-1 in the second. A leadoff walk to Steven Sultzbaugh and single by Jimmy Comerota put runners on the corners for Jeremy Rathjen. The freshman from nearby Memorial High School doubled down the left field line to score both runners. Singles by Brock Holt and Seastrunk plated two more.

Rice continued to stretch the margin. In the third Sultzbaugh knocked a solo home run with one away. The longball was his sixth round-tripper of the year. Comerota tripled off the wall in right-center and Ryan Lewis doubled to right field to make it 7-1.

In the fourth, Seastrunk connected on a pitch for his fifth home run of the season for an 8-1 advantage. Rice added three more runs in the in the fifth. After back-to-back walks, Hague and Rendon both knocked doubles for an 11-1 Owl lead. Sultzbaugh's second homer of the game made it an even dozen.

Rogers finished with a complete game effort for his fourth win of the season. He scattered seven hits and a walk while striking out a Rice season-best seven hitters. Rice improved to 41-16 on the season. Xavier's year came to an end at 39-21.