June 2, 2008


Rice captures Houston Regional


By Allen Brown

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Contributor

HOUSTON - The Rice Owls (45-13) completed their third consecutive undefeated regional tournament with a 7-4 victory over the Texas Longhorns (39-22) before a crowd of 4,895 at Reckling Park to capture the Houston Regional championship. For the second time in three nights, Rice reliever Bobby Bell came to the rescue late in the game for the Owls. Bell, in only his twelfth appearance of the season, picked up his first win working a season long 3.2 innings, allowing only two hits and a walk and no runs. Bell worked three perfect innings on Friday to earn the save against Sam Houston State.
“I rushed back from rehab to pitch in situations like this,” said Bell, who had off-season arm surgery. “I was ready tonight. I was ready last night.”

“He came right after us,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido of Bell. “He threw 95% first pitch strikes.”

With the Owls ahead 3-0, UT’s Kyle Russell connected with a Mike Ojala offering in the third inning for a long, opposite field three-run homer to tie the game at 3. The game remained tied until the sixth when Rice’s Chad Mozingo manufactured a run with a walk and two stolen bases before Jared Gayhart drove him in with an RBI single with two outs.
The Horns tied the game at 4 in the bottom of the sixth off of Rice freshman lefty reliever Matt Evers as Travis Tucker scored from third on a Mozingo throwing error from right field. Bell then entered the game with two men on base and one out and quelled the Horns rally in the sixth and held the Horns at bay the rest of the way.

Rice struck for the deciding three runs in the seventh on consecutive RBI singles by Jimmy Comerota and Diego Seastrunk and an RBI groundout from pinch hitter John Hale.
The Owls prevailed despite a season-high six errors to which Owls Coach Wayne Graham snidely remarked, “Well, we pitched and hit OK.”

Texas third baseman Preston Clark was injured pursuing a fly ball in the top of the second inning and was removed from the game later with a knee injury. Russell Moldenhauer also injured his knee in the first game of the day and did not play. Coach Garrido indicated that both injuries were serious and that Clark may require knee surgery.
Due to his four home runs in four games, Texas right fielder Kyle Russell was named the most outstanding player of the regional. Of note, Russell’s home run in the first game of the day made him the all-time career home run leader at the University of Texas.