Backs Against the Wall - Rice wins 6-4

******************************** Don't Miss the Best Coverage of Georgia at the CWS on Dawg ******************************** OMAHA, Neb. – In typical fashion, Georgia rallied to take a late lead here Saturday on the second day of the College World Series.

In an almost unthinkable occurrence, setup man Rip Warren then blew that lead. The end result was a 6-4 loss to second-seeded Rice in front of 19,885 fans in Rosenblatt Stadium.

"You just don't see that coming," Georgia coach David Perno said, "and that's a credit to Rip and how automatic he's been. The guy's been unhittable for six weeks. He was bound to get hit sometime. It was just tough timing on his part today."

The seventh-seeded Bulldogs scored four runs in the top of the seventh and led 4-2 going into the bottom of the inning with Warren on the mound.

He got Georgia out of a jam to end the sixth but gave up five hits and hit a batter in the bottom of the seventh. Rice got an RBI apiece from Brian Friday and Jordan Dodson and two on a single by Joe Savery to retake the lead.

"I just didn't make very good pitches, and they hit them," said Warren, who entered the game with a 0.87 ERA in the NCAA Tournament. "I didn't get the job done, that's all I can say about it."

Warren (8-3) hadn't suffered a loss since the April 1 game against Ole Miss. The only time this season he gave up more than Saturday's four runs was March 4 against Southern Cal, when he surrendered six.

"We wouldn't do anything differently," Perno said. "If it comes up again Monday, he'll be in there."

The good news for the Bulldogs (47-22) is they are now in a very comfortable position. They will play the loser of Saturday evening's Miami-Oregon State game Monday at 2 p.m. in an elimination game.

Georgia is 8-1 this season in postseason elimination games and has won its last five. Perno is leaning toward starting senior left-hander Mickey Westphal (7-2, 5.08 ERA) on Monday, he said.

"You try not to worry about it, and we haven't when we've been in this position before," Perno said. "We'll just try to regroup and come back and play a better game."

The Owls (56-11), who are ranked No. 1 in most baseball polls, will play the winner of the Miami-Oregon State game on Monday evening. Rice is making its fifth College World Series appearance in the last 12 years under 72-year-old coach Wayne Graham.

"I've seen people just waving at (Warren's pitches) so I certainly wasn't overconfident," Graham said. "I've seen him just be lights out, devastating."

The Bulldogs appeared to be in good shape after they survived Owls starter Eddie Degerman, a senior All-American who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

Degerman, a senior All-American, walked eight but didn't give up a hit or a run until Ryan Peisel's single up the middle in the top of the seventh inning. Peisel's hit scored Bobby Felmy, who led off the inning with a walk.

Catcher Jason Jacobs then scored on a throwing error by Rice third baseman Josh Rodriguez to tie the game. Jonathan Wyatt singled to score Peisel and Joey Side singled to score Matthew Dunn to put the Bulldogs up 4-2.

Degermann, who struck out nine Bulldogs, struck out Side to lead off the sixth inning and set Rice's single-season strikeout record with 165. Still, Side wasn't overly impressed with the right-hander's pitches.

"He was throwing curveball after curveball after curveball," said Side, who struck out three times against Degerman. "We should have spit on everything he threw and made him walk us, but we didn't. The fastball didn't move at all. There was nothing difficult about the fastball, he just didn't throw it very often."

Georgia starter Brooks Brown threw well, going 51/3 innings, striking out six and giving up two earned runs.

The game's first hit didn't come until Savery singled up the middle to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning. He came around to score on a single by Jordan Dodson to give Rice a 1-0 lead. The Owls extended that advantage to 2-0 in the sixth.

The Bulldogs had chances to take the lead earlier in the game and to extend it once they got it, but left runners on base at the troubling rate they have established in this year's NCAA Tournament. They stranded seven runners against the Owls, giving them a staggering 86 runners left on base in nine tournament games.

The Bulldogs twice had the bases loaded with one out and didn't get a run, and pinch-hitter Kyle Keen struck out attempting to bunt with two strikes. Still, Perno was happy with the way the game played out until the bottom of the seventh inning.

"We were huge underdogs coming in, and we had our chance," he said. "We put them on the ropes, and, to their credit, they answered."

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