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Degerman Setting Fast Pace for No. 1 Rice Owls

Being the ace of the No. 1 team in NCAA Division I baseball and an alumnus of the
Texas Collegiate League are two ideals for any college pitcher.

In the case of Rice senior right-hander Eddie Degerman of Granada Hills, Calif., these are "the best of times" as he has cruised to a 9-0 record through games of May 4, 2006, owns one of the Top Five (third nationally) earned run averages at 1.18, has struck out 111 batters in 83 2/3 innings (11.9 whiff victims every nine innings), and has allowed foes just a .163 batting average. He's a control hurler as well with just 30 walks issued in 83-plus frames.

In fact, Degerman might have a chance to celebrate two titles within a 10-month span from August 2005-June 2006. That occurs if Coach Wayne Graham's Owls streak all the way through the eight-team field and win the NCAA championship at Omaha, Neb. The national player of the year and Roger Clemens Award (Pitcher of Year) candidate sharpened his skills with the 2005 TCL champion Denton Outlaws in the Outlaws' initial season in the summer league.

He has continued to mow down hitters as he vies for Conference USA Player of the Year laurels and several weeks atop the national team ratings for the talented Owls.

Last year as a second team All-Western Athletic Conference selection (Rice moved to Conference USA for all 2005-06 conference competition), the California native notched an 8-1 record with a 3.28 ERA and limited opponents to a .206 average. He followed that Rice performance before joining the Outlaws for their stretch run for the TCL title in a final series against the McKinney Marshals. Degerman had several clutch innings in the best-of-3 series in August.

His 2006 showing for the Owls has been nothing short of spectacular, and Rice has been ranked No. 1 nationally by at least one agency for a total of six different weeks. The team's 39 wins in its first 48 games against world-class opposition in Division I tell most of the story.

Eddie Degermen just happens to be the long spoke holding a well-coached and taut "wheel" together throughout the '06 campaign.

Wichita State's Damon Sublett Capitalizes on 2006 TCL Experience

Damon Sublett got en eyeful of the baseball experience when he starred for the Coppell Copperheads in the 2005 Texas Collegiate League.

That experience probably made the Wichita State pitcher-infield standout an All-America candidate in '06 along with the steady guidance of Gene Stephenson - the second-winning head baseball coach in college history behind current Texas mentor Augie Garrido.

Sublett's mastery both at the plate (.395-10 HR-45 RBI) to lead the Shockers at the 42-game mark of the 2006 season and on the mound (1-0 record, 13 appearances, seven saves, perfect 0.00 ERA in 12 1/3 innings, 23 strikeouts, eight walks, and a .096 average against) makes him an exemplary candidate for Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year as well as All-America, Dick Howser Trophy, Brooks Wallace Award, Golden Spikes Award, and any number of national honors.

Coaches and fans saw the potential in the now-sophomore right-hander during a productive summer in the TCL and with the level of rugged opposition that the league affords.

The Wichita, Kan., resident did not have to travel far to find his college home and put his infield skills to use as a yearling at WSU in 2005 with 60 starts in 65 total outings, a NCAA appearance by the Shockers, a win in the NCAA Regionals, .314 batting average, 36 RBI, 13 stolen bases, 17 pitching appearances, and another spotless 0.00 ERA.

He may be the first student-athlete in Division history to work his first 31 2/3 innings as a collegian without surrendering an earned run, and he has 16 saves (nine as a freshman) in his initial 30 trips to the mound. His 54 strikeouts in 31-plus frames translate into 15.3 Ks every nine innings - a nation-leading stat if he had the required one inning pitched per team game.

As it is, Damon Sublett continues his "tear" through college pitchers and hitters as he seeks to take Wichita State back to the NCAA tournament and to a possible MVP trophy.

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