Feb. 6, 2010
HOUSTON -- Over 100 Rice baseball lettermen, from as far back as the 1940s to the recent College World Series teams, 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 2009 like Paul Janish and Jeff Niemann, came home to Reckling Park to renew friendships and see old teammates. In an exhibition game between two alumni teams, the former players showed they were still able to bring the heat and swing for the fences 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. San Diego Padres farmhand Adam Zornes stormed past his alumni teammates Mark Quinn and Jake Baker for the right to meet current all-America slugger Anthony Rendon in the derby's championship round. In the prelims Zornes put on an impressive display with eight homers, including one that sailed over the top of the centerfield screen. It was more of the same in the derby's championship final as Zornes defeated Rendon by a HR count of 7 to 2.
After the home run derby, the varsity gave the attending fans a sneak peak at the 2010 Owls with a Blue-Gray scrimmage. It was a fun day for all.
Last year the Owls won the Conference USA Tournament Championship for the program's 14th straight league title dating back to 1996. Rice hosted and won an NCAA home Regional to advance to the Super Regional round. The Blue & Gray has been to the College World Series three times in the last four years.
The 2010 college baseball season officially begins with a three-game series on the road at national power Stanford on Feb. 19-21. The 2010 home-opener at Reckling Park is set for Feb. 23 against longtime rival Texas State.