Feb. 2, 2008
HOUSTON -- Over 150 Rice baseball lettermen, from as far back as the 1940s to last season's College World Series Team, were on hand Saturday afternoon at Reckling Park as the Rice Owls baseball program celebrated its rich heritage with its biennial Alumni Game.
A host of former players, many still playing professionally and some who were in the major leagues in 2007, like David Aardsma (Baker, 2003) and Jose Cruz, Jr. (Lovett, 1995), came home to Reckling Park to renew friendships. In a seven-inning exhibition game between two alumni teams they also showed they could still swing for the fences (Clay Reichenbach, Lovett, 2005) and field like they did when they wore the Blue & Gray.
After the alumni had their exhibition game, some of the heavy-hitting pros took on the Owls' young varsity in home run derby. Cleveland Indians farmhand Josh Rodriguez (Martel, 2006) edged past his alumni teammates Joe Savery (Hanszen, 2007) and Cruz, Jr. for the right to meet current all-America slugger Aaron Luna in the derby's championship round. In the varsity prelims, Luna had needed only six swings of the bat to knock four shots over the Reckling Park fence and advance. The Dallas slugger looked unstoppable early, but it was "J-Rod" who found his home run stroke the championship final and defeated Luna by a HR count of 6 to 1.
After the home run derby, the varsity gave the attending fans a sneak peak at the 2008 Owls with a Blue-Gray scrimmage. It was a fun day for all.
The 2008 Rice baseball season officially begins with a big three-game weekend series on the road against nationally-ranked Long Beach State starting on Feb. 22. Rice's home-opener is set for Feb. 26 at Reckling Park against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Start time for the home-opener is 4 pm.