June 9, 2008
Zornes Powers Rice Back to
Two-run homer in eighth lifts Owls to
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.
HOUSTON - After trailing almost the whole
game - and down 5-2 after the fifth inning - Rice catcher Adam
Zornes’ dramatic two-run home run with two outs in the top the
eighth erased a 5-4 deficit and gave the Rice Owls a 6-5 victory
over the Texas A&M Aggies and a sweep of the Super Regional
The Owls (47-13) will be making their third
straight trip to College World Series.
Rice’s bullpen was stellar once again as Bryan Price pitched 2.1
scoreless innings, surrendering only one hit from two outs in
the fifth through the end of the seventh inning to allow the
Owls to come back in the eighth against the Aggies (46-19).
The Owls turned to Bobby Bell after Zornes’ home run gave the
Owls the lead in the top of the eighth. Bell walked a batter in
both the eighth and ninth innings but did not allow any hits and
struck out the first two batters he faced in the eighth and then
induced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play from Brian Ruggiano
after walking Luke Anders with one out in the ninth.
“This is what I worked for (in rehab) … all the hard work is
paying off,” said Bell, who faced numerous setbacks during his
14 months of rehab which concluded in April after arm surgery.
“At one point, I didn’t know if I would make it back in time.”
The Owls are certainly glad that he did, as he
has pitched 8.2 scoreless and nearly flawless innings in the
postseason, picking up a win and two saves.
(left, photo courtesy of Rice media relations office), who went
2 for 4 on the day, jumped all over the first pitch from Aggie
closer Travis Starling and hammered a line drive against the
wind over the 375-foot sign in left center. Prior to the Zornes
home run, Rick Hague was the hitting star for the Owls as he
drove in all of the Owls’ first four runs with a two-RBI double
in the fourth and a two-RBI bad-hop single in the sixth. Hague
went 3 for 4 on the day. He has now hit in 13 of his past 14
games. J.P. Padron also had two hits for the Owls and Diego
Seastrunk and Aaron Luna both scored two runs for the Owls.
Freshman Aggie righty Barrett Loux was by far the most effective
starting pitcher in the series as he pitched into the seventh
for the Aggies, allowing only six hits and a walk and two earned
runs. He retired eight Owls in a row between the first and
fourth innings. Brodie Greene also had two hits and two runs for
the Aggies, who had leads of 2-0 after three innings and 5-2