Sunday, June 18, 2006 • Box score
Through six innings of Saturday's College World Series game between Rice and Georgia, hardly anyone could get a hit.
Then in the seventh inning, hardly anyone could make an out as the teams combined for eight runs on 10 hits.
By the time that jumble of events transpired, Rice pitcher Eddie Degerman lost a no-hit bid, but the Owls hung on to beat Georgia 6-4 in the Bracket Two opener before 19,885 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.
"There's a reason Rice had won 55 games,'' Georgia coach David Perno said. "Just when we thought they were down and out, they answered everything we had.''
Georgia, held hitless by Degerman for six innings, exploded for four runs on five straight hits in the top of the seventh to take a 4-2 lead.
"We got everything we wanted,'' Perno said. "We got our big inning.''
But Rice countered with four runs in the bottom of the seventh, with first baseman Joe Savery's two-run single breaking a 4-4 tie. Savery also had the first hit of the game, which came as the game's 30th batter in the bottom of the fourth inning .
The Owls, Savery said, weren't taken aback by Georgia jumping ahead in the seventh after being in danger of going hitless.
Ticked is a more appropriate description.
"We had squandered a bunch of opportunities, and Eddie had been struggling with his command a little,'' Savery said. "They were only about one hit from being back in he game or going ahead.
"So I never felt like we were dominating them. We just had to keep playing.''
As Degerman's no-hit string reached six innings, a record-book search began.
Only two no-hitters have been thrown in CWS history -- Jim Ehrler of Texas vs. Tufts in 1950 and Jim Wixson of Oklahoma State vs. North Carolina in 1960.
Degerman, who finished with nine strikeouts and eight walks, said making history wasn't on his mind.
"It didn't really feel like a nohitter with all the walks I had,'' said the fourth-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals. "I wasn't thinking about it.''
Rice has seven no-hitters in its history, the last in 1998. Georgia has been no-hit three times, the most recent in 1976.
But all of that became news for another day when Degerman walked the first two batters in the seventh and Georgia started slapping singles everywhere.
"He was a tad wild,'' Rice coach Wayne Graham said, smiling. "But he had great stuff.''
With one out in the seventh, third baseman Ryan Peisel grounded a single up the middle for Georgia's first hit, cutting Rice's lead to 2-1. Once the nohitter was gone, Graham removed Degerman, who threw 116 pitches.
"I don't take history away from anybody,'' Graham said. "But I feel like we've got a great bullpen. So I was not reluctant after 110 pitches to take him out.''
Four more singles against Rice relievers put Georgia in front 4-2.
But with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Rice strung four straight hits together against Georgia relief star Rip Warren (8-3) to regain the lead. In his previous 18 relief outings, Warren was 5-0 with a 1.67 ERA.
"That was abnormal for Rip,'' coach Perno said. "He hadn't done that all year.''
What won't be abnormal for Georgia (47-22) is the need to come back from a loss in tournament play. The Bulldogs faced three elimination games in the NCAA regional and two more in the super regional -- and won them all.