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Rice Throws Another Big Right Hand at Texas

June 17, 2003|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

OMAHA — On a pitching staff full of big, hard-throwing right-handers, Rice sophomore Wade Townsend is considered the most talented by pro scouts. He offered further evidence Monday night at the College World Series.

Townsend dominated Texas for the second time this season and the Owls put together a seven-run sixth inning, running away with a 12-2 victory before 24,842 at Rosenblatt Stadium.

After starting slowly and giving up two first-inning runs, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Townsend came within one out of a complete game, as he struck out 10 and gave up seven hits. In a nonconference game March 11, Townsend struck out 12 and gave up only one run and four hits in eight innings.

Scouts have been impressed with Townsend's fastball that ranges from 92 to 97 mph, but it was his off-speed pitch that was most effective against the Longhorns (49-19).

"My breaking ball is a feel pitch for me and I started feeling it around the fourth inning," he said. "I started throwing it for strikes. I was consistent with it but consistently down with it."

Rice starters have been overwhelming this season. The rotation of Townsend, Jeff Niemann, Philip Humber and Josh Baker is 46-4 with a 2.47 earned-run average.

"They're built really well," Texas Coach Augie Garrido said. "We're down to six teams and I think there's six that can win it. But if you look at what's happened so far, the two dominating teams have been Cal State Fullerton and Rice. Period."

Catcher Justin Richti hit a two-run double, giving the Owls (55-11) the lead for good in the fourth. Rice broke it open against four Texas relievers in the sixth with Craig Stansberry providing a key two-run single.

Miami 7, Southwest Missouri State 5 -- The Hurricanes rebounded from their poor performance Saturday, avoiding elimination with a victory over the Bears. Joey Hooft and Jim Burt provided home runs for Miami and starter Vince Bongiovanni picked up the win, giving up one earned run over six innings.

It was a complete turnaround for Miami after it committed five errors in a 13-2 loss to Texas.

"I think we were pretty fundamentally sound today," Miami Coach Jim Morris said. "We bunt some guys over and we ran a little bit. We did what we had to do to win."

Hooft tied the score at 1-1 in the second inning with his fourth homer. The Hurricanes scored single runs in the third and fourth before Burt gave them a 4-2 lead with his 11th homer.

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