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Owls Close Out Homestand Tuesday vs. Dallas Baptist

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<b>The Owls close out the season-opening homestand on Tuesday.</b>

RICEOWLS.COM
The Owls close out the season-opening homestand on Tuesday.
RICEOWLS.COM

Feb. 18, 2013

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The Last Meeting
Dallas Baptist3
Rice7
February 26, 2012
Reckling Park
Baseball Team Completes Sweep of Dallas Baptist With 7-3 Win Sunday; Owls Now 8-0
Rice junior Michael Ratterree clubbed a bases-clearing double to key a four-run fifth inning that helped lift the Rice baseball team to a come-from-behind 7-3 victory over visiting Dallas Baptist Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park.


Feb. 19 (Tues.) 4:30 pm; Rice vs. Dallas Baptist
Give Away Items: 2013 poster and schedule cards
Concession Special: Half-priced beers in The Roost with purchase of meal through the second inning.
Watch the game on the web
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Feb. 22 (Fri.) 10:35 pm Central Time; Rice at Hawaii
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Feb. 23 (Sat.) 5:05 pm Central Time; Rice at Hawaii
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Feb. 24 (Sun.) 5:05 pm Central Time; Rice at Hawaii
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Feb. 25 (Mon.) 10:35 pm Central Time; Rice at Hawaii
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All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.

Owls Close Out Homestand Tuesday vs. State Rival Dallas Baptist
The Rice baseball team, 2-1 on the young season and ranked as high as No. 10 in the nation, closes-out its season-opening four-game homestand on Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 19). The Owls host longtime state rival Dallas Baptist in a single midweek game at Reckling Park. Start time against the Patriots is set for 4:30 pm.

Aloha! Rice Heads To Hawaii Four Games Starting On Friday
The DBU game wraps-up a four-game homestand and the team is then away from Reckling Park for each of the next seven games. The Owls are making an extensive road trip to start things off, but there's no road to this destination. Rice has a four-game weekend series at the University of Hawaii Feb. 22-25 (Fri.-Mon.). The trip to Honolulu is Rice's first time back in Hawaii since its membership in the Western Athletic Conference in the spring of 2005. The start times at Hawaii are listed above. (Note that the times are all Central Time).

Watch The HOME Games On OwlVision All Access
Home games are slated for a live on-line video broadcast by OwlVision All Access. OwlVision is a subscription-based service which matches the play-by-play audio with a video feed to create a television-like broadcast on the Internet (either live or in an archived format). The service has been growing in popularity the last few years. Information about the service and subscription prices are available here. Access the service on game day at the above links.

Audio Broadcasts - Catch Every Rice Baseball Game On The Web & At The Park
Every Rice baseball game this season will be broadcast live around the world on the Internet at RiceOwls.com. Use the above link to access the Internet audio page. Tune-in to the pregame show 15 minutes before each game's first pitch. Fans attending the games, home or away, can now listen to the Rice broadcast at the stadium where the team plays via an FM proximity transmitter. The FM frequencies for the in-stadium broadcasts this week will be 99.7 FM. J.P. Heath returns as the voice of the Owls this season and for some selected games he will be joined in the Rice booth by 2003 national champion letterman Enrique Cruz.

Live Stats On GameTracker
Live play-by-play text and statistics from every game will be posted on RiceOwls.com. Look for the GameTracker links on the Rice Athletics front page, the weekly series preview, or the baseball schedule page.

National Ranking Update • Five Top 15s; As High As No. 10
With its dramatic weekend series-win over Stanford to start the season, Rice rose-up through a host of different national polls. Here's a closer look at the latest national rankings:

Poll This Week Last Week
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 10 20
NCBWA 12 18
Baseball America 13 18
PerfectGame.com 15 21
USA Today/ESPN 17 --

Head Coach Wayne Graham
Four-time national coach of the year and 2012 College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Graham (Texas, 1970) is in his 22nd season at Rice. The 2013 campaign marks his 33rd year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 955-381 with the Owls (576-138 at home, 288-189 in road games and 91-54 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .715, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .715 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 116 games in a single year... Graham's records vs. Dallas Baptist is: 16-5 (15-4 home, 1-1 road); and vs. Hawaii: 32-10 (17-4 home, 15-6 road)...... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2012, making 18-straight seasons for Rice to earn an NCAA appearance. The Blue & Gray has advanced into the NCAA tournament in 1995-96-97-98-99-00-01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09-10-11-12. The 2003 bid culminated with the Owls' first national championship... Rice played in the 1994-95-96 Southwest Conference tournaments (winning the final league title in `96), won the 1997-98-99 WAC tournaments, shared the 2000 WAC title with San Jose State before winning the 2001-02-03-04-05 titles outright. He won (or shared) C-USA regular season crowns in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 as well as the C-USA tournament championships in `06, `07, `09 and `11... Graham was named the WAC Coach of the Year in 1998, `99, `02 and the Co-Coach of the Year in `03. He was named the Keith LeClair C-USA Coach of the Year in `06, his first year in the league, and again in `07, `08, `10 and `11... Rice has seven appearances in the NCAA College World Series under Graham (1997, `99, `02, `03, `06, `07, `08)... Graham has led the Owls to number-one rankings for seven weeks during the 1999 season, for six weeks during the `01 campaign, two weeks in `02, six weeks in 2003 (the last of which established some staying power), three weeks in 2004, 12 weeks in 2006 and five weeks in `07... Graham's San Jacinto Gators dominated the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., in the 1980s, winning five national titles in six years (1985-86-87, 89-90)... The Austin American-Statesman named Graham its SWC Coach of the Year in `95 after he led the Owls to their first NCAA tournament appearance... Collegiate Baseball was especially cognizant of Graham's efforts at San Jac. He was named the newspaper's Coach of the Decade for all levels in the 1980s after winning those five junior college national titles, and CB tabbed him the NJCAA Coach of the Century... He was named the 2007 Division I college Coach of the Year by FieldTurf... One of the few current collegiate coaches to have played in the major leagues (N.Y. Mets in 1963, Philadelphia in 1964), Graham is aided by assistant coaches Patrick Hallmark (Rice, 1995, Brown College; eighth year), Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; second year) and Scott Shepperd (Concordia, 2007; first year)... On game days Van Hook coaches at third base while Shepperd coaches at first base.

1,529 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 955 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,529 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,529-494 in a 32-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Probable Rice Pitchers
Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitcher for the Dallas Baptist game as freshman right-hander Matt Ditman (0-0, 0.00). The outing is Ditman's collegiate baseball debut. The Rice pitchers for the remaining games this week (four games at Hawaii) will be announced by coach Graham at a later time.
Matt Ditman did not see any game action in his first year with the program in 2012 and gained a redshirt season. He served as a bullpen catcher where he had the full confidence of the Rice coaches in helping prepare one of the top pitching staffs in college baseball... In the Owls' 2012 fall training program, he moved from behind the plate to the pitcher's mound and distinguished himself as one of the top young arms on the Rice staff. The Richmond, Tex., native maintained a 4-1 record and 3.38 ERA in the competitive Blue-Gray scrimmages. He was even better when the practices resumed in January (0.75 ERA in 12.0 innings), which earned him a starting assignment in the team's fourth game of the season.
Dallas Baptist announced its starting pitcher as sophomore right-hander Jay Calhoun (0-0, 0.00) in his first outing of the season. A year ago Calhoun was 3-3 with a steady 3.45 ERA in 47.0 total innings. The Houston native was fourth on the Patriot's staff in starts (9) and fifth in innings.

Previous Outing: Rice Takes Weekend Series Over Stanford With Shutout Victory Sunday
HOUSTON - Rice junior pitcher John Simms carried a no hitter into the eighth inning and junior infielder Shane Hoelscher went 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI to pace the Owl baseball team to a 3-0 shutout of visiting Stanford Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park in Houston... With Rice leading 3-0 to start the top of the eighth, Stanford's Austin Barr led-off with a double to the gap in right-center to spoil Simms' bid for what would have been only the eighth no-hitter in school history. The Owl right-hander retired the next Cardinal batter and then left to a standing ovation from the 4,041 fans in attendance for a solid day's work on the mound. The Woodlands, Tex., native pitched a total of 7.1 innings, allowing one hit with four walks and three strikeouts... Sophomore Zech Lemond relieved Simms and quickly ended the Stanford threat in the eighth. The Owl fans were soon right back on their feet again as Lemond closed out a scoreless ninth for a 3-0 final. With the win Rice claimed the three-game weekend series over the Cardinal two games to one... "You can't ask for more than that," said Rice head coach Wanye Graham, now in his 22nd season at the helm of the program. "We sure can't turn down seven and a-third no-hit innings."... Graham also liked what he saw of Owls jumping on the scoreboard for three quick runs in the bottom of the first inning. Freshman Leon Byrd led off the frame with a walk, Christian Stringer followed with a single and Michael Ratterree was hit by a pitch to load the bases... Byrd dashed home on Michael Aquino's grounder to the right side and Hoelscher drove-in two more with the first of his career-high tying four hit day. The Belton, Tex., native went on to hit safely in the in the fourth, sixth and eighth innings to raise his batting average to .455 on the young season. He also made a sensational defensive throw to get the lead runner at second base in the top of the fifth, and fought-off the sun to track down a foul ball right in front of the Stanford dugout for the second out of the ninth inning... The Owl defense that turned three double plays Sunday had a big role in the pitching staff's the entire weekend. Rice's three starting pitchers of Simms, Austin Kubitza and Jordan Stephens held Stanford hitters to a combined 10-for-69 at the plate (.145) during the series.

Openers Under Wayne Graham
Looking sharp out of the gate is nothing new for Rice under Wayne Graham. The Owls are 16-6 in their season-opener under Graham and 19-3 in their home-opener.

Big Opening Weekend Series At Reckling Park
Hosting Stanford in an important season-opening series was not lost on college baseball fans. The three games vs. the Cardinal brought in a total of 12,237 fans for the best-attended opening weekend in Reckling Park history. The mark eclipsed the previous record set when Stanford visited two years ago. Here's how some other opening weekends have added-up. (Note that many of the previous opening weekends were in a tournament format against three different opponents.)
Year, 1st Weekend Total (Average)
1. 2012 - 12,237 (4,079)
2. 2011 - 12,182 (4,060)
3. 2009 - 10,950 (3,650)
4. 2004 - 10,117 (3,372)
5. 2012 - 9,615 (3,205)
6. 2010 - 9,198 (3,066)

Rice Baseball's 97th Season On The Field
Rice Owl baseball made its debut in the spring of 1913, just one semester after the school (then The Rice Institute) opened its doors for higher education in the fall of 1912. The 2013 season is, however, only the Owls' 97th season playing on the diamond. The school cancelled its baseball season in 1919 and did not field a team for three years (1933-35) during the Great Depression. Rice returned to the diamond in the spring of 1936 and has been playing ever since... The Rice baseball program's all-time record is 1,862 - 1,490- 9.

Postseason Streak At 18-Straight, Looking For 19
The Rice baseball program's 18-straight appearances in the NCAA Baseball Championship is the fourth-longest active streak in the country. Miami (Fla.) has made the field for the 40 consecutive years, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (35) and Cal State Fullerton (21). Rice's 18-straight NCAA Tournament appearances is the sixth-longest national postseason streak in Division I history.

Conference Championship Streak At 17-Straight
Rice has won or shared a total of 17-straight conference championships (including either regular season and/or conference tournament titles) dating back to 1996. The streak covers the Owls' membership in three different leagues beginning with the Southwest Conference (1996), to nine seasons in the Western Athletic Conference (1997-2005) and seven Conference USA titles in as many years... In 2012 Rice won the C-USA regular season championship on the last day of the league's 24-game schedule. The Owls and UCF were tied for first in the C-USA standings heading into the final game of the season. The Blue & Gray clipped the Knights 5-2 to welcome the program's 17th championship to the family.

18-Straight 40-Win Seasons
Rice has clinched 18-straight seasons with at least 40 wins. `Forty' wins actually short-changes the feat a little. The Owls have secured at least 41 wins in 17 of the last 18 years.

Two TV Games Later This Season
There are two regular season Rice games tabbed for a television broadcast on FOX Sports Net. The Owls' March 28 home game against Conference USA foe Tulane is the first televised contest. The other is the April 20 game at crosstown rival Houston, which the network has now moved to a new 12:30 pm start time... Rice's number of televised games could still increase during the course of the year, including regular season games and in the C-USA Championship to be held May 22-26 at Reckling Park. The tournament's championship final (May 26 at 1 pm) is again set for a television broadcast on CBS College Sports.
Rice's 2013 Games Selected For Television Broadcast
March 28 vs. Tulane - 6:30 pm FOX Sports Net
*April 20 vs. Houston - 12:30 pm FOX Sports Net
(May 26 C-USA Championship Final - 1 pm) CBS College Sports
* - denotes a new starting time

Kubitza & Stringer Garner National Preseason Honors
WICHITA, Kan. - The veteran Rice duo of junior Austin Kubitza and senior Christian Stringer have been tabbed as 2013 preseason All-America selections by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association of America (NCBWA), the organization announced from its headquarters in Wichita Kan... Kubitza and Stringer were both named to the NCBWA's preseason All-America second team as a starting pitcher and second baseman, respectively. The Owl duo helped Rice go 41-19 last season, claim the Conference USA regular season championship and host an NCAA Regional at Reckling Park... In his first season of Division I baseball after transferring from Navarro College, Stringer took C-USA by storm. The junior second baseman batted a team-leading .343 in 59 starts, and he maintained a .389 average in C-USA league games. Stringer also led the team and ranked among the conference leaders in hits (81), runs (58) and on-base percentage (.448). The Longview, Tex., native was second in walks (38) and steals (6), but his defense might have made the biggest impact to the Owls. Stringer maintained a .978 fielding percentage at second base where he turned or started 35 of the Owls' 46 double plays... A year ago Kubitza finished with a 6-5 record and he was second on the staff in ERA (2.69), innings pitched (80.1) and strikeouts (73). The right-hander from Colleyville, Tex., shared the team lead in starts (15) and he held all opposing hitters to an austere .211 batting average. He was named the C-USA Freshman of the Year after his first Division I season in 2011.

The C-USA Favorites
IRVING, Tex. - With three preseason all-conference players, including the duo of junior Austin Kubitza and Christian Stringer as the 2013 Preseason Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively, the Rice baseball team was picked to finish first in the league in the annual Conference USA head coaches' poll the C-USA office announced... Stringer and Kubitza (season info provided above) are joined by fellow Owl Michael Ratterree on the preseason All-Conference USA team, giving Rice a league-high-tying three selections. Ratterree posted a .407 slugging percentage last season with 20 extra-base hits (13 doubles, one triple and six home runs). The local standout from Memorial High School drew a team-high 42 walks, giving him a .378 on-base percentage. He also drove in 33 runs and unselfishly moved to a new defensive position in the outfield to better-help the team... Under the direction of head coach Wayne Graham Rice returns four of the nine starters in the batting order and a host of veteran pitchers from a year ago. The Owls also have a highly-touted group of incoming freshmen players making their Division I debut this spring. •

2013 PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS (as selected by C-USA's head coaches)
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Rice
(7)
2. Southern Miss (1)
3. East Carolina
4. UCF
5. Tulane (1)
6. Memphis
7. Houston
8. UAB
9. Marshall
(first place votes in parentheses)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Christian Stringer, Rice (Senior, Infielder)

PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Austin Kubitza, Rice (Junior, Right-hander)

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
P Austin Kubitza, Jr., Rice
P Sam Moll, Jr. Memphis
P Andrew Pierce, Sr., Southern Miss
RP Bradley Roney, So., Southern Miss
C Ryan Breen, Sr. UCF
IF Garrett Cannizaro, Sr., Tulane
IF Brennan Middleton, Sr., Tulane
IF Jack Reinheimer, Jr., East Carolina
IF Christian Stringer, Sr., Rice
IF Chris Taladay, Sr., UCF
OF Landon Appling, Jr., Houston
OF Brandon Boudreaux, Sr., Tulane
OF Michael Ratterree, Sr., Rice
OF Mason Robbins, So., Southern Miss
DH/UT Drew Reynolds, Jr., East Carolina

Legends of the Fall
Registering consistent off-season performances in the fall workouts is still one of the best ways to catch a coach's attention in college baseball, and the Owls' 2011 fall training was no exception. Newcomers like true freshmen Leon Byrd and Blake Fox turned in sound and solid outings to give themselves a possible wealth of playing time in the spring. Fox maintained a 2.29 ERA in 19.2 fall innings while striking out 13 strikeouts. Byrd, a former prep star at Cy Ranch High School, batted .275 while playing both centerfield and shortstop in Blue-Gray games and shared the team lead in stolen bases... Redshirt freshman Matt Ditman distinguished himself as a right-handed option on the mound... Junior third baseman Shane Hoelscher meanwhile showed perhaps the biggest improvement over the last calendar year while batting a team-best .418 with a .543 on-base average.

Rice Since 1999
Using the 1999 season as the starting point (the year the NCAA expanded the postseason tournament field to 64 teams with the current Super Regional format), Rice baseball has maintained one of the nation's top win percentages over the last 14 years. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999 to 2012: (These totals do NOT include games played in 2013).
Team, Wins-Loses-Ties (Pct.)
Florida State, 701-244-1 (.742)
Rice, 676-240-0 (.738)
Coastal Carolina, 615-253-0 (.709)
North Carolina, 635-262-1 (.708)
Oral Roberts, 599-249-0 (.706)
Texas, 644-269-1 (.705)
South Carolina, 661-281-0 (.702)
Arizona State, 567-244-1 (.699)
Cal State Fullerton, 615-265-0 (.699)
Miami, 601-269-3 (.690)
Wichita State, 633-301-0 (.678)
Georgia Tech, 589-281-1 (.677)
LSU, 605-294-5 (.672)
Stanford, 568-292-2 (.660)
Tulane, 570-295-2 (.659)
Nebraska, 562-291-2 (.658)
Clemson, 601-316-1 (.655)
East Carolina, 555-295-1 (.653)
Notre Dame, 542-298-5 (.644)
Florida, 564-320-2 (.638)

Ten For The Show
Ten former Rice players were on major league rosters last season. The Owls' 2013 list of big-leaguers includes David Aardsma (Yankees), Lance Berkman (Rangers), Tim Byrdak (Mets), Tony Cingrani (Reds), Brock Holt (Red Sox), Philip Humber (Astros), Paul Janish (Braves), Lucas Luetge (Mariners), Jeff Niemann (Rays) and Joe Savery (Phillies).

Charlton Inducted Into San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame
Former Rice standout Norm Charlton, who left South Main and went on to a 14-year Major League career that included a World Series title with the Cincinnati Reds, was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame on February 15 in a ceremony held at the Alamodome... After a stellar career at San Antonio's Madison High School, Charlton was a standout for coach David Hall at Rice from 1982-84. Charlton twice led the Owls in ERA, including a 2.24 mark as a junior that led the nation. He was drafted by the Montreal Expos with the 28th pick in the first round of the 1984 draft... He was traded by the Expos to the Cincinnati Reds in 1986 and two years later he reached the major leagues. He alternated between the bullpen and a starting role early in his career, but a move to the bullpen prior to the 1991 season teamed Charlton with a collection of hard throwers including Rob Dibble and Randy Myers, who would became known as the "Nasty Boys" as they helped sparked the Reds to the 1991 World Series title. He was a member of the National League All Star team in 1992... Charlton was traded to Seattle in 1992 in exchange for slugger Kevin Mitchell and went on to play on two of the Mariners most successful teams. The 1995 Mariners were the first team in franchise history to reach the postseason, while the 2001 team won 116 games... Charlton, who graduated from Rice with a triple major in political science, religion and physical education, retired from baseball in 2001. He was a member of Hanszen College and wore No. 25 for the Blue & Gray.
San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame website

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