May 19, 2006
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - No. 1 Rice outslugged the Marshall baseball team, 14-10, Friday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W.Va. Marshall dug itself an early 13-4 hole but rallied with six in the fifth inning before the Owls' bullpen snuffed out the comeback.
Marshall's Roddy Stieger (Sr., West Chester, Ohio) doubled twice and drove in four runs, while Rich Russell (Sr., Toronto, Ontario) homered and reached base four times, while Brendan Murphy (Jr., Chattanooga, Tenn.) also homered. Rice's Brian Friday went 4-for-5 with two homers and six runs batted in, while Aaron Luna drove in five runs and hit a grand slam.
Chris Koutsavlis (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) took the defeat for Marshall, allowing 10 hits and nine runs (five earned) in three innings. Koutsavlis (6-6) walked three and struck out one. Rice reliever Bryce Cox (3-1) earned the win after throwing three innings of scoreless relief.
Rice starting pitcher Bobby Bell came in with a 7-0 record and 3.02 ERA but was rocked for a season-high nine earned runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings. He walked three and struck out two. It was the most runs an Owl pitcher has allowed in a game this season. It also marks the most runs the Owls have surrendered in a Conference USA game this year.
Rice (45-10, 21-2 C-USA) scored five runs in the first inning, although just one was earned. Tyler Henley reached on an error to lead off and one out later trotted home on a Friday home run. The Owls then strung together three-consecutive doubles with two out to bring in two more runs, and Adam Zornes singled to bring in Lehmann with the fifth run.
Marshall (22-29, 6-17) shaved the lead to three in the bottom of the first. Chris Monaco (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.) led off with a single and one out later Russell hit a shot over the wall in left field for his sixth home run of the season.
The Herd continued to chip away with two runs in the third. With one out, Murphy homered to center field - his team-leading 15th home run and 70th RBI of the season. One out later, Brent Mason
(Sr., Sherwood, Ark.) singled up the middle. Stieger then doubled him home to cut the lead to 5-4.
Rice pushed the lead back to five with a four-run fourth inning, highlighted by Friday's second home run, a three-run blast off Koutsavlis. The Owls tacked on four more in the fifth inning on a grand slam by Aaron Luna, his second grand slam in as many days to give them a 13-4 advantage.
Marshall got back into the game with a six-run fifth inning. The Herd strung together three straight singles to load the bases with no outs. Mason followed with a walk to bring home a run. Stieger then cleared the bases with a double to the gap in right-center, cutting the lead to 13-8 and ending the day for Bell. Brit Vincent (Jr., Bowling Green, Ky.) then singled off reliever Bobby Bromhall, and Stieger came home when the throw from center field skipped through to the backstop. After a wild pitch, Levinson plated Vincent with a single to center to narrow the gap to 13-10.
The bullpens took over from there, as Cox and Cole St. Clair combined to toss five scoreless innings, while Marshall's Bryson Meyers (Sr., Oakland, Md.) fired 2.2 scoreless innings before surrendering a run in the top of the eighth on a Friday RBI double. Brian Knippelmeyer (Sr., Lincoln, Neb.) shut the Owls out over the final 1.1 innings.
The teams conclude the series at 2 p.m. Saturday at Appalachian Power Park in the regular-season finale. Tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-THE-HERD or logging on to www.herdzone.com. The game is part of a doubleheader with the West Virginia Power. One ticket is good for admission to both games.