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Owls Host Louisiana Tech Tuesday Night To Begin Seven-Game Homestand

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March 11, 2013

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The Last Meeting
Louisiana Tech3
Rice11
March 20, 2011
Reckling Park
Owls Complete Sweep of Louisiana Tech With 11-3 Victory Sunday Afternoon
The Rice baseball team erupted for 11 runs and junior right-hander Matthew Reckling was right at home on the mound at Reckling Park, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning as the Owls completed a three-game sweep of visiting Louisiana Tech with an 11-3 victory in the series finale Sunday afternoon in Houston.


Mar. 12 (Tues.) 6:30 pm; Louisiana Tech at Rice
Give Away Items: 2013 poster and schedule cards
Concession Special: $2 Tuesday's - enjoy 2 hot dogs for only $2!
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Mar. 13 (Wed.) 6 pm; Louisiana Tech at Rice
Give Away Items: 2013 poster and schedule cards
Concession Special: TBA
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Mar. 15 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Harvard at Rice
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Mar. 16 (Sat.) 1 pm; Harvard at Rice
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Mar. 17 (Sun.) 1 pm; Harvard at Rice
Kids Day! At every Sunday home game all kids 14 and under get to take the field for the National Anthem and run the bases post-game.
Concession Special I: Green beer in The Roost in honor of Saint Patrick's Day
Concession Special II: Enjoy discount ice cream sundaes every Sunday during the season.
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All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.

Owls Host Louisiana Tech To Begin Seven-Game Homestand
The Rice baseball team, 9-7 overall and ranked as high as No. 19 in the country, begins a lengthy seven-game homestand on Tuesday that lasts until March 20. The Owls host Louisiana Tech, both a former and future conference foe, at Reckling Park for games on March 12-13. First pitch Tuesday is slated for 6:30 pm. Wednesday's game begins at 6 pm.

Rice Plays Weekend Series vs. Harvard
After hosting Louisiana Tech the Owls continue the homestand with a three-game weekend series against Harvard on March 15-16 (Fri.-Sun.). Game times against the Crimson are set for 6:30 pm, 2 pm and 1 pm, respectively... Rice's seven-game homestand continues through March 20. The Blue & Gray host Stephen F. Austin on March 19 at 6:30 pm, followed by a game against UTSA March 20 at 6 pm.

Watch Reckling Park Games On OwlVision All Access
Reckling Park 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
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. Because the Owls' men's and women's basketball teams are playing this week in their respective C-USA Tournaments, Sid Richardson College senior Ryan Glassman has the Rice call for the games from Reckling Park.

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 • Three In The Top 25
The Owls are represented in a host of different polls across the country. Here's a closer look at the latest national rankings:

Poll This Week Last Week
College Sports Madness --- 18
Baseball America 19 19
PerfectGame.com 20 20
NCBWA 27 22
USA Today/ESPN nr 23
Collegiate Baseball Magazine nr 28

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 962-387 with the Owls (577-140 at home, 294-190 in road games and 91-57 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .713, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .713 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 116 games in a single year... Graham's records vs. this week's opponents is as follows: 25-2 vs. Louisiana Tech (15-1 home, 10-1 away), and 4-0 vs. Harvard (4-0 home)... 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.

1,536 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 962 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,536 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,536-500 in a 32-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Probable Rice Pitcher
Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitcher for the opening game of the La Tech series as junior right-hander John Simms (3-1, 1.08). The Rice pitchers for the remaining games this week, including the Harvard series, will be announced by coach Graham at a later time.
A start for John Simms would be his fourth of the season. Simms started and won in the opening series of the season against Stanford, as well as the series finale at Hawaii (Feb. 25). He started against Baylor downtown at Minute Maid Park (March 3) and suffered only the third loss of his collegiate career in 53 Rice appearances dating back to 2011. He has completed at least 6.0 innings in each of his three starts this season. His most-recent outing was in relief of Austin Kubitza in the March 8 game at FIU. In that relief assignment against the Panthers, The Woodlands. Tex., native fired 2.2 scoreless frames and struck out four to earn his first save of 2013. A former prep star at College Park High School, Simms has averaged 7.9 strikeouts per 9.0 innings in six total appearances. He has has held all opposing hitters to a composite .195 batting average. Since joining Rice in 2011, Simms has compiled a 12-3 career record with a 2.63 ERA in 150.2 total innings. He has amassed 144 strikeouts as an Owl, the second-highest total for active players.
Louisiana Tech announced its starting pitchers to face Rice as the junior tandem of left-hander Ben Carlisle (0-1, 5.23), and right-hander Omar Ugarte (1-1, 7.36), respectively.

Here's Who's Hot
If you are only as good as your last game, sophomore Ford Stainback is coming off a career-best 5-for-5 day with two runs scored in the series finale Sunday against FIU. If you need a little larger sampling of data, he also has a six-game hitting streak that is the longest by any Owl this season where he is batting a composite .370. On the defensive side the Dallas native has also started or turned five double plays in the last six games... Senior Michael Ratterree closed-out the FIU series in fine form by going 5-for-9 (.556) at the plate with a home run, a double and two walks in the last two games. The veteran also made a spectacular throw from his defensive spot in right field to get a Panther runner attempting to get an extra base... Senior Christian Stringer is a combined 11-for-26 (.423) over his last seven games, but he has also drawn four walks and been hit by a pitch for a cool .516 on-base percentage. There's nothing really new tracking Stringer's defense at second base. The Longview, Tex., native has made only one fielding error all year and that was back in the opening weekend of the season... Keep an eye on true freshman Connor Teykl. In his last four games as the starting third baseman while Shane Hoelscher has been sidelined with a broken hand, Teykl is hitting .385 (5-for-13) with three walks, a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly... Junior Michael Aquino has been hitting like an all-conference player the last nine games by going 14-for-37 (.378) with three home runs and a triple for a .675 slugging percentage. In his current hitting groove Aquino has driven-in a team-best eight runs with seven runs scored... Freshman Leon Byrd picked-up the pace by going 6-for-his-last-20 (.300), but as the Owls' leadoff batter it's his .486 on-base percentage over the last seven games that has been the biggest problem for opponents... Junior Keenan Cook is worthy of some mention after batting .294 (5-of-17) over the last five games. He would have had his second career homerun on Sunday if not for a spectacular above-wall-catch in right field by FIU's T.J. Shantz.

Previous Outing: Rice Falls In Series Finale at FIU, 11-7
MIAMI, Fla. - The Rice baseball team collected a season-high 16 hits, but FIU exploded for 11 early runs before hanging-on to claim 11-7 victory over the visiting Owls Sunday afternoon in Miami, Fla... After wins in the first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday, the Owls claimed the three-game weekend set two games to one. FIU finished with a total of 13 hits off three Rice pitchers to snap a seven-game losing streak... It was Rice that came out hitting to start the contest. Three-straight singles by Ford Stainback, Michael Aquino and Christian Stringer put the Blue & Gray on the scoreboard with a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning... FIU came back with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the frame. The big blow was a two-out single by Aramis Garcia to drive-in both Panther runs... The Owls used a big swing to tie the contest in the second. Michael Ratterree drove a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left field. His first homer of the season knotted-up the score, 2-2... The Panthers then batted around for five runs in the bottom of the second before adding four more in the fourth to stretch the margin to nine, 11-2. The four insurance runs proved to be critical as the Rice offense continued to hit and chipped away for five late runs... In the seventh, a one-out RBI single by Ratterree added a score and senior Geoff Perrott doubled to left-center to drive in two more. Stainback then started the eighth with his career-best fifth hit of the game. A Panther fielding error put two men on base for Stringer, who followed with an RBI double down the right field line. Connor Teykl's sacrifice fly added the final run to cut the lead down to four, 11-7... Stainback led all players with five hits, while Stringer and Ratterree both had three hits and two RBI. Freshman Leon Byrd also finished the day with two hits... The Owls had a solid effort on the mound from freshman Kevin McCanna, who worked a career-long 4.2 innings in relief. The standout from The Woodlands allowed just two hits and a walk with a career-best five strikeouts.

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 1,869 - 1,496- 9.

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)

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 More TV Games Later This Season
There were already three tape-delayed TV games from the tournament at Minute Maid Park. There are also two upcoming 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 live 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

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).

Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion dynamo out there, Rice is 3-3 in its all-white uniforms, 3-2 in all-gray, 3-0 in blue tops with white pants and 0-2 in the pinstripes.

GAMEDAY CENTRAL
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