March 3, 2006
Houston, Tex. - Josh Rodriguez's 10th inning walk-off home run off reliever John Estes (0-1) lifted the No. 4 Rice Owls to a 3-2 victory over the visiting No. 7 Cal State Fullerton Titans Friday night at Reckling Park.
Rodriguez took a 3-1 Estes offering over the left field wall leading off the bottom of the tenth inning, handing the Owls their seventh straight victory. It was also Rice's ninth win in its last 10 games, improving their overall record to 12-2. The Titans drop their first in five games dropping to 9-5 overall.
It was a highly-anticipated non-conference series opener matching the Titans' Wes Roemer and Rice's Eddie Degerman, and the two did not disappoint. Roemer went seven innings, striking out six and leaving as the winner with the score 2-1 after seven innings, while Degerman had the Titans' number, allowing just three hits over 7.1 innings of work, using his big curveball to fan 9 Fullerton hitters. Both starters were denied a decision when Titan reliever Vinnie Pestano allowed the tying run in the bottom of the eighth to lock the game up at 2-2.
Reliever Bryce Cox pitched the final 2.1 innings without allowing a hit or a run earning the win and improving to 1-1.
Pestano earned his first blown save of the season when Brian Friday singled up the middle scoring Rodriguez who had advanced to second on a sacrifice, after being hit to lead off the inning. Pestano pitched the eighth and ninth before giving way to Estes.
After Rice posted an early run in the first, the Titans scored an unearned run in the fourth as Brett Pill reached on an error by Rice's third baseman, stealing second to get into scoring position. He advanced to third on a ground ball by David Cooper and scored on an RBI single by Danny Dorn.
The Titans took the lead in the sixth as Blake Davis led off the frame with a double to left center field. He moved along to third base on a chopped ground ball to short, and scored on a Cooper chopper to short as well. Cooper picked up his team-leading 13th RBI of the season, but went 0-for-4 on the night, snapping his season-long 13-game hitting streak.
Justin Turner had one of the Titans three hits on the night, picking up where Cooper left off, extending his hitting streak to 13 games with a third inning single to left.
The two teams will get it on again tomorrow at Reckling Park at Noon (Pacific) with the Titans sending out Lauren Gagnier to face Rice's Joe Savery on the mound. The game will be simulcast on both fullertontitans.com and KSPA AM 1510.
NOTES: John Estes 17.1 scoreless inning streak was snapped with Rodriguez's home run in the tenth...Danny Dorn was ejected in the 7th inning, arguing a questionable call made against outfielder Brandon Tripp...Wes Roemer collected six strikeouts in Friday night's affair without a walk increasing his season total to 34 without a free pass. Roemer did however hit four batters, increasing his team-leading total to 10. He hit a CSF record 18 last season as a freshman.