Monday, March 22, 2004

Tough Weekend for the Owls 

A couple of losses ended an otherwise good weekend for Owl sport fans.

The biggest loss was the Lady Owls falling to UNLV 68-66 in the second round of the WNIT. The Owls were supposed to play their round 2 game at home in front of the Rice faithful. Instead, UNLV was somehow unable to make travel plans to Houston, and instead the Owls had to play this game in Vegas. Rice continues its tradition of being screwed.

The most shocking loss was Hawaii beating us in baseball, 5-3, for their first win over Rice since 2001. The Owls stranded 10 baserunners and were unable to overcome a poor start from Josh Baker. A number of mental mistakes cost the Owls in this one, and earned them a closed locker room berating from coach Wayne Graham.

It wasn't all bad for the Owls. Philip Humber set a Rice record on Saturday by striking out 17 in a complete game 3-0 win over Hawaii. Jeff Niemann picked up his third win of the season, 5-3 over Hawaii on Friday. The third-ranked Owls are now 16-6 and 5-1 in WAC play. It looks like Wade Townsend is being moved into the bullpen on a regular basis, with Niemann, Humber and Baker forming the core of the rotation. Townsend got the save on Friday, and then pitched 7 2/3 innings of 2-hit relief on Sunday.

And somewhere along the way, Rice has turned into a tennis power, going 16-0 to start the season and are now ranked number 5.

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