Savery's single sends Owls into winner's bracket

Updated: June 18, 2006, 12:01 AM ET
Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. -- Rice led by two runs and pitcher Eddie Degerman had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning against Georgia. But when the Owls came to bat in the bottom half, Degerman was out of the game and they found themselves down by two.

"The overall feeling was, 'There's no reason we should be losing this game,"' Rice first baseman Joe Savery said. "It got us in gear."

Savery's two-run single keyed a four-run rally that put the Owls ahead again in a 6-4 College World Series victory Saturday. It was the Owls' 38th win in 41 games.

Rice (56-11) advanced to a Monday game against Miami, which beat Oregon State 11-1 Saturday night. Georgia (47-22) will play a Bracket 2 elimination game Monday against the Beavers.

Degerman, a fourth-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals, was bidding to become the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter at the CWS in 46 years.

Degerman, who struck out nine, walked eight but held the Bulldogs without a hit for 6 1/3 innings.

"It didn't really feel like a no-hitter with all the walks I had," Degerman said. "I felt good out there. But at certain times I was trying to do too much maybe, trying too hard, throwing too hard."

Degerman walked Bobby Felmy and Jason Jacobs to open the seventh before Ryan Peisel broke through with an RBI single up the middle.

With the no-hit bid over, it was an easy decision for Rice coach Wayne Graham to take out Degerman, who threw 116 pitches.

"I'm not going to take history away from anybody," Graham said. "I feel we've got a great bullpen, so I was not reluctant to take him out."

Cole St. Clair came on, and Matthew Dunn hit a chopper down the third-base line. Josh Rodriguez was far off-target with his hurried throw to first, allowing Jacobs to score from second and tie it at 2.

Jonathan Wyatt's hard line drive off Rodriguez's glove gave Georgia the lead and chased St. Clair. Joey Side greeted Bryce Cox (5-1) with an RBI single to make it 4-2.

"We got exactly what we wanted," Georgia coach David Perno said. "We got our big inning. We knew you're not going to nickel and dime them. They have a quality staff and we knew we'd have to strike and strike big, and we did it."

The Bulldogs were in position to score even more after loading the bases with one out. But Cox struck out cleanup batter Josh Morris and got Bobby Felmy to ground out.

Joe Savery
AP Photo/Eric FrancisJoe Savery went 3-for-3 in Rice's CWS opener.

Rice came back in the bottom half against Rip Warren (8-3) to regain the lead with Brian Friday's RBI double, Savery's two-run single and Jordan Dodson's RBI base hit.

"Just when you think they're down and out, they answered everything we had," Perno said. "We got no-hit for a few innings but we hung in there and got the big inning that we were searching for and put ourselves in position. Tip your hat to Rice. They did a great job coming back."

Warren, charged with four runs on five hits, came into the game having allowed just one run in 10 1/3 innings in the NCAA tournament. It was the most runs the senior left-hander had allowed in 29 relief appearances this season.

"I just didn't think I made very good pitches," Warren said. "For the most part they were up a little bit and didn't have any action to them, and they hit them."

Georgia starter Brooks Brown, a first-round supplemental pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, held Rice hitless until Savery, who went 3-for-3, lined a ball into center in the fourth.

"The pitching today was great stuff, and the two teams were able to put up 10 runs between them," Graham said. "That's a tribute not only to the hitting ability but the tenacity of both teams. Georgia fought us hard and the breaks kept going back and forth."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press