June 2, 2008
Rice captures Houston Regional
By Allen Brown
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
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
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.