June 8, 2008
Rice Escapes A&M
St. Clair, Dodson Spark
Owls in Opener
By Allen Brown
Allen Brown pitched for Rice from 1993-96,
starting the Owls' first NCAA postseason game in 1995. Now an
attorney, Brown has contributed to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
for the past three years.
Cole St. Clair once again saved the day for Rice on the mound,
the Owls got offensive heroics from a most unlikely source to
prevail 9-7 over Texas A&M in a seesaw affair before 5,368 in
Game 1 of the Houston Super Regional at Reckling Park.
Rice senior designated hitter Jordan Dodson, who was exiled to
the bench mid-season - after starting for the last three years
in the outfield - due to a .167 batting average, went 3 for 3
with a walk and four RBI batting ninth for the Owls (46-13).
Dodson had a run-scoring single in the second, a run-scoring
single in the fourth and a two-run double in the fifth, driving
in the Owls’ decisive eighth and ninth runs.
“I was surprised [to start]…Coach told me to be ready for some
at-bats this weekend, but I was surprised to start,” said
Dodson, who didn’t have a hit since April 5 and did his damage
from the 9-hole.
Added Owls coach Wayne Graham:
“Dodson deserved the opportunity to start…he has been a good
player for us for three years…he has been working hard and
encouraging the team.”
Graham indicated that Dodson got
the start because, “I liked his attitude and the way he swung
the bat [in practice this week].”
Rice starter Ryan Berry was not particularly effective,
surrendering seven hits and two walks and five earned runs in
4.2 innings. He was unable to hold a 6-3 Rice lead in the top of
the fifth as the Aggies’ Luke Anders touched up Berry for a
two-run double to cut the lead to 6-5. Bryan Price relieved,
and after walking Justin Ruggiano, Darby Brown doubled in
Ruggiano with a deep drive to center to tie the game at 6.
Graham then turned to lefty Cole St. Clair (10-2), who snagged a
line drive off of the bat of Blake Stouffer to end the Aggies’
threat in the fifth and then pitched the rest of the game,
allowing only two hits and a no walks and one meaningless Aggie
run in the ninth.
“I used the same approach as I
did against St. John’s,” said St. Clair, who also had an
extended 4.1-inning outing in the Regional against the Red
Storm. “I gained momentum throughout (this outing).”
Aggies coach Rob Childress said,
“St. Clair stabilized the game [for Rice]. He was really
Chad Mozingo, batting eighth in the Rice batting order also
excelled, going 2 for 3 with a walk and two runs. Including
Dodson, the Owls’ eight and nine hitters went 5 for 6 with two
walks, four RBI and four runs.
The Aggies (46-17) had 10 hits in defeat, with Anders, Stouffer
and Brown each collecting a pair of hits.
Game 2 of the Houston Super Regional is scheduled to begin at 6
p.m. on Sunday.