At least one of the favorites has taken care of business. No. 2 national seed Rice is headed back to Omaha for the second straight year after dispatching Texas A&M 5-2 this evening. Rice coach Wayne Graham opted to save lefthander/first baseman Joe Savery for a potential elimination game Sunday, choosing instead to go with junior righty Matt Langwell. The junior college transfer responded with 6 1/3 strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out seven before handing the ball off to closer Cole St.Clair, who allowed just a run on two hits over the final 2 2/3.
Savery didn’t pitch, but he sure made his presence felt with his bat. Savery went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs to lead the Owls’ 11-hit attack. That’s why Rice tries to save Savery as long as it can, so he can produce like that offensively. And with Langwell pitching so well down the stretch, the loss of righthander Ryne Tacker is cushioned. This team is playing some of its best baseball heading into the College World Series, and you have to regard the preseason No. 1 team as the favorite to win it all.