By: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics Dept. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team, the Conference USA preseason favorite according to the league’s head coaches and ranked as high as No. 21 in the country in one national preseason poll, held its first practice of 2017 at Reckling Park on Friday (Jan. 27). Rice head coach Wayne Graham welcomed back 23 returning lettermen from last season's squad that went 38-24 and advanced to an NCAA Regional for the 22nd straight year.
On the first day of practice Coach Graham, who is now in his 26th season at the helm of the baseball program, went right to work. The team has a short time to prepare for the season opener and there are some starting positions that have the head coach's full attention. Graham's 2017 squad returns seven starters in the batting order and a host of veteran pitchers from a year ago. The Owls have a highly-touted group of incoming freshmen players making their Division I debut this spring.
Rice's talented team is no secret in college baseball circles. The Owls are ranked 21st in the country by PerfectGame and in the Top 30 of four other polls. The squad opens the upcoming season on February 17 on the road against longtime rival Texas.
Season tickets for a challenging slate of regular season home games are available. The talented lineup of teams visiting Rice in 2017 are Houston, Stanford, Southern Miss, Dallas Baptist, Pepperdine, Southeastern Louisiana, Lamar, Sam Houston State, Texas State, UTSA, FIU, Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee. For season ticket information including seating options, pricing levels and parking, link here or call the Rice Ticket Office at 713-348-OWLS (6957). Don't miss any of the excitement; get your 2017 season tickets now!