2007 Houston Super Regional

(capsules compiled by Jamie Learakos, Stuart Smith, Scott Day, Sean Ryan, Phil Stanton)


#2 Rice Owls
Houston, Texas
Automatic bid - won Conference USA Tournament
2007 Record: 22-2, 52-12 (first in C-USA)
Coach: Wayne Graham (Texas, 1970)
Record at school: 736-282, 16 years
Overall record: 1,311-395, 27 years
Assistant coaches: Mike Taylor, Dave Pierce, Patrick Hallmark
Team offense: .311 BA, 469 R, 56 HR, .469 SLG%, .406 OBA%, 50/69 SB
Team pitching: 2.87ERA, 571.2 IP, 492 H, 210 BB, 507 K
Top hitters: Joe Savery (.360/4/54), Brian Friday (.341/3/28), Jared Gayheart (.338/4/40), Aaron Luna (.330/11/61), Jess Buenger (.315/7/43), Diego Seastrunk (.300/1/36), Jordan Dodson (.297/8/50), Danny Lehmann (.294/4/35).
Top pitchers: Matt Langwell (7-1, 1.73, 73 IP, 52 H, 26 BB, 50 K), Bobby Bramhall (5-2, 6 SV, 55.2 IP, 32 H, 27 BB, 72 K), Ryan Berry (11-2, 2.72, 109 IP, 96 H, 30 BB, 109 K), Cole St. Clair (0-0, 7 SV, 2.37, 19 IP, 14 H, 6 BB, 21 K), Joe Savery (10-1, 2.78, 87.1 IP, 75 H, 38 BB, 57 K), Ryne Tacker (9-1, 3.01, 71.2 IP, 61 H, 21 BB, 67 K), Chris Kelley (3-3, 3.28, 71.1 IP, 74 H, 27 BB, 56 K).
Last NCAA appearance: 2006 (3-0 at Houston Regional, 2-1 at Houston Super Regional, 2-2 at College World Series).
Notes: The Owls didn’t hit a ton in sweeping three games at the Houston Regional but allowed only four runs in three games. Rice has won 33 of 35 and is in the Super Regional round for the third straight year and sixth time in seven years - the Owls won the 2003 national championship. They used pitching and timely hitting that year, and that was the recipe again in the Houston Regional, as Matt Langwell, Ryan Berry and Joe Savery all threw well, with some brilliant help from Cole St. Clair and Bobby Bramhall, who holds hitters to a .165 average. Entering the C-USA tourney, Rice hadn’t allowed more than four runs in a game for 16 games - the Owls allowed 6, 8 and 9 in three C-USA tourney games before allowing four in the Regional. Coach Wayne Graham, who played 20 games for Casey Stengel and the Mets, simply wins - the Owls have won an average of 49 games in his past 13 seasons, with five seasons of 50 or more wins. His latest edition is balanced top to bottom, with six pitchers seeing significant innings, and ace reliever Cole St. Clair rounding into shape after an injury. Pitching was a bit of a question to start the year, but Ryan Berry has won 10 games as a freshman, and Ryne Tacker came back from missing all of 2006 with a banner year. Joe Savery is one of the best two-way players in the country, and thrived again on the mound and at the plate. Aaron Luna put together another big year and also produced 44 walks.


Texas A&M Aggies

College Station, Texas

Automatic bid - won Big 12 Tournament

Won College Station Regional

2007 record – 13-13, 48-17 (fifth in Big 12)

Coach: Rob Childress (Northwood, 1990)

Record at school: 73-47-1, two years

Overall record: Same

Assistant coaches: Matt Deggs, Jeremy Talbot, Will Bolt

Team offense: .317 BA, 461 R, 65 HR, .477 SLG%, .399 OBA%, 149/189 SB

Team pitching: 3.87 ERA, 583.1 IP, 554 H, 228 BB, 491 K

Top hitters: Blake Stouffer (.402/11/82/22 SB), Parker Dalton (.368/5/37/18 SB), Craig Stinson (.344/12/50), Luke Anders (.338/11/45), Brandon Hicks (.338/11/45/28 SB), Ben Faltner (.309/1/24/37 SB).

Top pitchers: Kyle Nicholson (11-2, 4 SV, 2.17, 120.1 IP, 92 H, 20 BB, 98 K), David Newmann (11-1, 2.98, 99.2 IP, 76 H, 46 BB, 98 K), Scott Migl (7-3, 3.77, 74 IP, 82 H, 18 BB, 33 K), Kyle Thebeau (3-5, 6 SV, 4.50, 76 IP, 67 H, 34 BB, 86 K).

Last NCAA appearance: 2004 (3-1 at Houston Regional, 0-2 at Baton Rouge Super Regional)

Notes: The Aggies rallied from a loss to win the College Station Regional, getting a huge performance from Kyle Thebeau, who threw a complete game with 13 strikeouts in the clinching win. It was his first start since the last day of March. After losing to the Ragin’ Cajuns, the Aggies beat Ohio State behind Kirkland Rivers and Gary Campfield, then held Louisiana-Lafayette to three runs in two games behind Scott Migl, Travis Starling and Thebeau. While much of the Aggies’ batting order was a little quiet, Blake Stouffer had two homers, nine RBI and saw his average jump from .391 to .402. He does a little of everything for the Aggies, slugging .653 and stealing 22 bases in addition to his 84 RBI. Catcher Craig Stinson has returned from nagging injuries the past two seasons to post a big year. Before this year, ace Kyle Nicholson was 10-6, primarily out of relief and had 95 strikeouts - he has 98 Ks this season. He ranks in the top 20 in the country in ERA. David Newmann has won 11 games after missing 2006 due to Tommy John surgery. Coach Rob Childress is in his second season after spending eight seasons as the pitching coach at Nebraska.