CHS Hall of Fame
Rice comes through, Vandy falls just short
February 26, 2012By Brandon Froedge of Crawfordsville High School
Though his team is off to a rough start, Steven Rice had a day worth remembering at home against Oregon Sunday afternoon.
The lefty sophomore reliever entered today’s game with a runner on second and Vanderbilt trailing 7-5 with one out in the top of the sixth. He managed to get cleanup hitter Ryon Healy to ground the ball to third base, but a Commodore’s error allowed him to reach and put runners at the corners.
Rice struck out Shaun Chase for the second out and then punched out Kyle Garlick to end the inning and keep the game close for Vandy.
Tony Kemp started the next frame with a walk, but the Vanderbilt chance was cut off by a Spencer Navin strikeout followed by Anthony Gomez grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.
Rice began right where he left off, striking out Brett Thomas and Scott Heineman before inducing a grounder to wrap up the Duck’s turn in the seventh.
The Dores loaded the bases in the bottom half, but failed to score, hitting into a 1-2-3 double play that stifled their opportunity.
Right back at it in the eighth, Rice induced a grounder back to the mound by leadoff hitter J.J. Altobelli for the first out. The next batter singled, but Rice got Oregon’s third and fourth place hitters in the lineup to fly to left and pop to second.
A pair of base on balls gave Vanderbilt another threat in the bottom of the eighth, putting runners on first and second with one out. But Gomez and Conrad Gregor both struck out swinging to leave the two run deficit intact.
Rice began the ninth by striking out Chase for a second time. He then walked Garlick before again fanning Thomas. Mendenhall, pinch-running for Garlick, was then caught trying to steal second to end the top of the ninth.
Vandy attempted to stage a rally one more time in the home half. Yastrzemski doubled and Harrell walked to put the tying run aboard. Reynolds laid down a SAC bunt to move both runners into scoring position. With Conde batting, a wild pitch allowed a run to score and put the tying run at third in the form of Harrell. Conde eventually went down swinging, but with two outs, Castellanno extended the game by drawing a walk. However, leadoff hitter Tony Kemp was struck out swinging by Oregon closer Jimmy Sherfy to end the game.
The 7-6 loss drops #12 Vanderbilt to a disappointing 1-6 record.
Nevertheless, it was the kind of outing Steven Rice will be hoping to duplicate as he looks to continue proving himself in his sophomore campaign.