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Owls Head West For Weekend Series At San Diego

RICEOWLS.COM <b>Jimmy Comerota</b><br>Jones College
RICEOWLS.COM
Jimmy Comerota
Jones College
RICEOWLS.COM

March 17, 2010

(All times listed are Central)
Mar. 19 (Fri.) 4 pm; Rice at San Diego
KTRU Radio (91.7 FM) and Internet audio Listen Here
Watch it on the web.
Game Tracker

Mar. 20 (Sat.) 3 pm; Rice at San Diego
KTRU Radio (91.7 FM) and Internet audio Listen Here
Watch it on the web.
Game Tracker

Mar. 21 (Sun.) 2 pm; Rice at San Diego
KTRU Radio (91.7 FM) and Internet audio Listen Here
Watch it on the web.
Game Tracker

Internet features activate at game time.

Owls Head To San Diego For Weekend Series
After ending the current homestand with three-straight victories, Rice is now on the road for each of its next eight games. The Owls begin a lengthy stretch of road games that lasts until April 1. Starting off the stretch of road games is a three-game weekend series at west coast power San Diego on March 19-21. Game times with the Toreros are set for 4 pm, 3 pm and 2 pm, respectively, (all Central Time).

Catch The San Diego Series on KTRU (91.7 FM)
Every Rice baseball game is broadcast live around the world on the Internet at RiceOwls.com and KTRU.org. There are a host of 2010 Rice baseball games scheduled to air live on the radio in the Houston area on campus station KTRU (91.7 FM). In fact, every game of the San Diego series (Mar. 19-21) will be on the air on KTRU. For on-line listeners there is a direct connection to the audio feed provided at the above links. The Rice broadcasting tag-team this season is J.P. Heath and David Brady.

 

 

Watch On-Line
The University of San Diego has set up a live video feed to watch each game of the weekend series on-line. The links are provided above and activate at game time.

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

Did You Know?
At 11-7 Rice has the same record as the recent 2007 Owl team that went on to claim a Conference USA league championship, win an NCAA Super Regional and advance to the College World Series in Omaha.

National Ranking Update • Rice As High As No. 13
Rice is ranked 13th in the country in the latest PINGBaseball.com poll and 14th by both Baseball America and Rivals.com. That's three polls have the Owls among the Top 16 in the nation. What is essentially the Top 16? The final 16 teams are in Super Regionals with a chance to go to Omaha. As of presstime, the current 2010 national ranking roll call is as follows:
13th PINGBaseball.com
14th Baseball America
14th Rivals.com
19th National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assoc.
22nd USA Today/ESPN
23rd PGCrosschecker.com
NR Collegiate Baseball

Head Coach Wayne Graham
Four-time national coach of the year and Texas Sports Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Graham (Texas, 1970) is in his 19th season at Rice. The 2010 season marks his 30th year as a collegiate head coach... In 2009 he won his 800th game at the helm of the Rice program (against Southern Miss on March 20). He is now 841-324 with the Owls (514-112 at home, 249-166 in road games and 78-46 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .722, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .722 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 117 games in a single year... Graham's record against this weekend's opponent is as follows: 3-1 vs. San Diego (all at home)... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2009, making 15-straight seasons for Rice to earn an NCAA appearance. 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 the C-USA regular season crowns in 2006, 2007 and 2008, as well as the C-USA tournament championships in `06, `07 and `09. Rice has advanced into the NCAA tournament in 1995-96-97-98-99-00-01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09... 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 and `08... 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 Mike Taylor (Prairie View A&M, 1997; tenth year), David Pierce (Houston, 1988; eighth year), Patrick Hallmark (Rice, 1995; fifth year)... Taylor coaches at third base this year while Hallmark coaches at first base.

1,416 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 841 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,416 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,416-437 in a 30-year career that began in 1981.

Consider This
To help place Coach Graham's achievements in perspective, consider that Rice started its baseball program in 1913 and in the 77 seasons where there are verified won-loss records (Rice is missing a few W-L totals from those early days), the Owls won a total of 838 games. In the 18+ years since 1992 when Graham was named the head coach, the Owls have won 841 games. It's only taken Graham 18+ years to accomplish essentially what it took the program more than three-quarters of a century to do before he got here.

Probable Pitchers
The probable pitching rotations for both teams will be announced soon.

C-USA Ticket Packs Now Available
Conference USA baseball ticket packs are now available on-line! With C-USA packs fans may purchase great tickets to each Rice home game against an upcoming C-USA home opponent Houston (Apr. 1-3), East Carolina (Apr. 23-25), Southern Miss (May 14-16), and UAB (May 20-22) - a total of 12 games in all. C-USA packs for seats behind home plate on the upper concourse level are $100. C-USA packs for seats on the upper concourse level on the first and third-base sides are $80. Order C-USA Packs On-line here.

Previous Outing: Owls Defeat No 2 Texas Tuesday Night In Televised Home Game
HOUSTON - The smile stretched across the grateful face of Rice freshman lefthander Holt McNair spoke volumes to the feelings of elation he was enjoying... The Austin Westlake product had been inserted into three relatively benign situations before the bullpen phone rang on Tuesday night. His services were requested against No. 5 Texas at Reckling Park, and with sophomore righthander Matthew Reckling struggling to throw strikes, McNair would enter with a game against a rival hanging in the balance... With one pitch McNair recorded the two biggest outs of the game, inducing a double-play ground ball off the bat of Texas shortstop Brandon Loy to preserve a one-run lead that yielded a 10-6 victory... No. 19 Rice (11-7) recorded its seventh win in nine meetings against the Longhorns (13-4), who had their six-game win streak snapped. With Texas having already cut the Owls' two-run advantage to 5-4 thanks to a Jordan Etier RBI single, McNair relieved Reckling with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning. One sharp ground ball to second baseman Michael Ratterree later, the Horns' momentum was snuffed... "It was a big, emotional ride," McNair said of pitching against his hometown Horns. "A lot of my summer ball buddies are on this team, and being able to play against them, it's hard for me to explain... "There was a little pressure. (Rice) coach (Wayne) Graham said, `All right, we've got a little situation. The bases are loaded; let's see what you can do. Throw balls low in the zone.' That's what I tried, and it worked out well for me."... McNair (1-0) didn't stop there. He faced the minimum in the fifth by picking off Cohl Walla, who drew a one-out walk, and striking out Connor Rowe before surrendering a run-scoring groundout to Etier and giving way to freshman righthander Tyler Duffey, who fanned six over 2 2/3 innings. By that juncture the Owls had expanded their lead to 6-4, and after Duffey struck out two of the three batters he faced in the sixth, the Owls tacked on two runs in the bottom half to build an 8-5 lead... Rice catcher Craig Manuel, batting fifth and behind cleanup hitter Anthony Rendon for a second consecutive game, was once again an offensive spark. Manuel finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs while protecting Rendon against California on Sunday, and had already produced an RBI single before stepping to the plate with two out and two on in the sixth. He singled to center against Slayton Thomas to drive home Michael Fuda before adding an insurance run with another run-scoring single off Keifer Nuncio in the eighth that scored Rick Hague... "I'm batting with runners on and in scoring position, so I'm getting some RBI opportunities," Manuel said after going 3-for-5 with three RBIs. "Rendon's on-base percentage is like .800 right now; he's going to get on and I'm going to do my best to drive him in and get some good at-bats... "As long as I don't ground into double plays I should be fine and stick around in the five-hole. I'm playing well and I like it. I like to put the pressure on with some runners on base."... Rendon, whose on-base percentage stands at an extraordinary .605, delivered two walks and two RBIs, including a solo homer to lead off the fifth inning. But the Owls' offensive attack was impressively balanced, with every starter aside from leadoff hitter Chad Mozingo recording a hit and five different starters driving in at least one run. Designated hitter Diego Seastrunk, in the starting lineup for the first time since Feb. 24, was the lone member of the batting order who did not score a run... But on Tuesday night, the offensive efficiency took a back seat to the relief work of McNair and Duffey. Texas recorded just one fewer hit than the Owls' 13, but Rice pitchers stranded 13 base runners. Texas hitters struck out to end a frame six times, and combined with the McNair double play that closed the fourth, could not produce in the clutch. Given the performances of the freshmen relievers and the anticipated return of senior righthander Mike Ojala this weekend in San Diego, the Owls just might be rounding into the title-contending form many predicted of them when the season opened one long month ago... "If we can find enough pitching we're going to be a pretty good ballclub," Graham said. "If Ojala makes this miraculous recovery from Tommy John (surgery), which he might, it could make a huge difference." by MOISEKAPENDA BOWER.

Crowded House
Tuesday night's crowd of 5,469 was the second-largest in Reckling Park history. The attendance record of 6,193 was set against Texas on St. Patrick's Day last season.

Rice Baseball vs. The Big 12 Since 2000
With Tuesday's 10-6 win over Texas, Rice is now 69-31 when playing teams from the Big 12 Conference since the year 2000.

Rendon Named C-USA Co-Hitter of the Week
IRVING, Tex. -- Rice sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon and Marshall catcher Victor Gomez were named the Conference USA co-Hitters of the Week, while Southern Miss junior Scott Copeland was named conference Pitcher of the Week, the C-USA office announced from its league headquarters Monday (Mar. 15) in Irving, Tex... In Rice's five games last week, Rendon went 7-for-14 (.500) with four home runs for a 1.357 slugging percentage. He also drew 10 walks for a .708 on-base percentage, drove-in 12 runs, scored nine times and stole two bases in two attempts. On Saturday against California the Owl slugger smashed a grand slam as part of a two home run day and finished with eight of his 12 RBI... Gomez went 8-for-14 (.571) with 11 RBI in three games at a tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., to help the Thundering Herd take two-of-three games over the weekend. The catcher collected three hits, scored three runs and knocked in a trio of runners in a 17-1 upset of No. 17 Ohio State. Gomez laced three hits with a home run and four RBI in a win against Connecticut and a homer and four RBI in a loss to Tennessee. He added seven runs scored and 14 total bases along with a 1.000 slugging percentage on the weekend... Copeland needed only 98 pitches and an hour and 54 minutes for a complete game, three-hit shutout victory of Missouri State last Saturday. He retired the final 11 batters and 16 of the last 17 hitters to complete the win. He was only two hitters over the minimum and striking out a career high eight batters, without walking anyone. He allowed only three hits in the game, all ground balls that made it through the infield, and only one runner reached as far as second base.

For The Record
After two close losses to Cal to open the four-game series last weekend, Rice turned the tide and defeated the Golden Bears by a score of 26-11 on Saturday March 13. The 26 runs tied for the fifth-highest single-game total in school history and players set a host of team and individual season-highs up and down the batting order. The Owls collected 24 hits on the day, one of the highest marks in school history. Sophomore Anthony Rendon finished with two home runs, including a grand slam, on the way to an eight-RBI afternoon - the most by an Owl since 2002. Shortstop Rick Hague reached base seven consecutive times in the game, a feat that has been accomplished at Rice only three other times. The impressive names on that All-America list includes eventual major leaguers Lance Berkman, Jose Cruz Jr., and Bubba Crosby.

Rendon Delivers
After being carried off the field with an ankle injury last season in the Baton Rouge Super Regional, sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon has the full attention of the opposition. Rendon is 18-for-49 (.367) with seven home runs and two doubles for a .837 slugging percentage. Surely Rendon has more than 49 official at bats in 18 ames?? Nope. The Owl slugger has already been walked 29 times and hit by a pitch twice for a .605 on-base percentage. On Mar. 3 at Texas State he batted leadoff for the first time in his Rice career and drew three walks with a run-scored. He hit his seventh homer of the season, and the 27th of his career, Tuesday against Texas. He also brought the fans to their feet with some spectacular defensive plays. Against Nebraska he broke a 3-3 tie by delivering the game-winning RBI with a double in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Walk This Way
Here's a quick, but unofficial, look at how some of the NCAA Division I leaders for walks are shaping-up so far this season. At this rate, Anthony Rendon will walk away with the mythical walks crown.
Rank, Player, Team, BB
1. Anthony Rendon, Rice, 29
2. Christopher Auten, New Mexico State, 22
2. A. J. Kirby-Jones, Tennessee Tech, 22
4. Vincent Mejia, Texas-Pan American, 21
5. Dan Gulbransen, Jacksonville, 20
6. Michael Choice, Texas-Arlington, 19
6. Joe Etcheverry, Northern Illinois, 19
6. Levi Michael, North Carolina, 19
6. Charles Smith, Texas Southern, 19
10. Oscar Garcia, Northwestern State, 18
10. Johnathan Taylor, Georgia, 18
10. Ben Magsig, Eastern Michigan, 18
10. Derrick Osteen, William & Mary, 18

Craig "The Man" Manuel
Sophomore Craig Manuel has proved to be one of the team's hottest hitters the past nine games. Since March 5, Manuel's .520 batting average (13-for-25) is the highest on the team and he's also second in RBI (10). Not only does the slugger from Satellite Beach, Fla., lead the Owls with three doubles in the last nine games, he also has a triple for a .720 on-base percentage.

The Fuda Fighter
Sophomore Michael Fuda is also off to a great start, going 26-for-70 with two home runs, two triples and double for a .529 slugging percentage. Fuda has also walked 11 times, been hit by a pitch twice (.470 OB%), and is second on the team lead in runs scored (19). The standout from Katy, Tex., began the year with a 13-game hitting streak that dated back to last season.

Seastrunk Returns
In Sunday's win over Cal senior catcher Diego Seastrunk played for the first time in 12 games. The veteran Owl slugger had been sidelined. He returned to action as a pinch-hitter against the Golden Bears but did not play in the field. He started Tuesday night against No. 2 Texas the designated hitter and went 1-for-4 with a walk.

R.I.S.P. Factor
One area where Rice has turned it around from the start of the season is batting with runners in scoring position. In the last 12 games the Blue & Gray is 43-for-117 (.368) with men in scoring position. In that same span Rice is 5-for-11 (.455) with the bases-loaded.

This & That
Senior Jimmy Comerota has hit all of his three triples since March 7. Comerota is now the Owls' active leader with eight triples, the most since Jared Gayhart finished with nine triples in 2008... Sophomore left-hander Taylor Wall had a strikeout in an inning of relief against Texas. Wall needs now only needs one more strikeout for 100 in his career... Junior right-fielder Chad Mozingo needs to score only two more runs for 100 in his career... Junior shortstop Rick Hague needs only one more double for 40 in his Rice career... For the fashion followers out there, Rice is 5-2 in its all-white uniforms, 4-1 in the pinstripes, 1-3 in all-gray, 1-0 when wearing a blue top with white pants, and 0-1 when wearing a blue top with gray pants.

98th Season Since The Start; 95th Season On The Field
The 2010 season marks the 98th year since Rice played baseball for the first time. Rice Owls baseball made its debut in the spring of 1913, just one semester after Rice opened its doors for higher education in the fall of 1912. The 2010 season is, however, only the Owls' 95th season on the diamond. The school did not field a baseball 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.

Wall & Rathjen Named To All-College Classic Team
The Owls' sophomore tandem of left-handed pitcher Taylor Wall and outfielder/DH Jeremy Rathjen were both named to the 2010 College Classic All-Tournament team March 7 at Minute Maid Park. Rathjen batted .333 with a double, RBI, run scored, walk and sacrifice bunt. Wall faced No. 3 ranked Texas and allowed just two runs on five hits in 7.1 innings while striking out eight.

Owl Newcomers Abound
Eight new Owls made their Division I debut on the road at Stanford and two more played for the first time in the first home weekend at Reckling Park. Another freshman made his debut against Cal making it 11 new faces who have seen action this year. One newcomer, second baseman Michael Ratterree, hit a home run in his first collegiate at bat and finished the Owls' home tournament with two round-trippers. Like Rendon, he quickly got on the Cardinal radar and was walked five times. Ratterree was the first Rice freshman to homer in his first at bat since Aaron Luna in 2006. One of the freshman pitchers of note is rookie Tyler Duffey, who has 17 strikeouts in 15.0 innings while holding opponents to a composite .189 batting average.

At Bat Flex Packs Now Available
HOUSTON -- Single game tickets for the 2010 Rice baseball season are now available through the At Bat Flex Packs, the Rice Ticket office announced... The Flex Packs are a convenient and economic way for fans to purchase tickets of their choice, including on-line purchases. The Flex Packs are available in four options; the single, double, triple and home run. Here's what they deliver:
Single - eight tickets for $60
Double - 12 tickets for $80
Triple - 16 tickets for $100
Home Run - 20 tickets for $120
Flex Pack fans will be sent vouchers that can be redeemed for printed tickets at the Rice ticket office or at the Reckling Park ticket window the day of the game. The vouchers may be used all at one game, or spread out over several games. For example, with the Single Pack, a fan and a friend can go to four games, bring a group of eight to one game, or get one ticket to eight different games, etc.... Fans are encouraged to specify the games they would like to attend when they order online or by phone. Otherwise, fans will receive vouchers that can be redeemed during ticket office business hours or at Reckling Park on the day of a game while supplies last... Tickets purchased with the Flex Packs will be in Concourse 2 at Reckling Park, with the exception of games against Texas (March 16) and the University of Houston (March 2 & April 1-3), which will be general admission... For more information, call the Rice Ticket Office at 713-522-OWLS. Link directly to Rice Ticket Page.

At Sign Up For "Dollars For Dingers"
HOUSTON - Owl fans are encouraged to support Rice Athletics by signing up for the 2010 edition of the Dollars for Dingers program, the Athletics Development Office announced on Friday (Feb. 12). Signing up on-line at at this link is easy and secure... With the start of the 2010 baseball season fast-approaching (Feb. 19), Dollars for Dingers is a fun way to support Rice student-athletes. The popular program ties the total number of Owl home runs hit during the season to a financial contribution from our fans. Last year, participants in the Dollars for Dingers program contributed more than $20,000 to the Owl Club Scholarship Fund supporting all of Rice's student-athletes... Rice invites fans to make your pledge today as the Owls try to eclipse last year's home run total of 71. The Development Office will keep track of the count all the way through the College World Series, and let fans know their gift amount at the end of the season. Every pledge of $2 or more qualifies participants for a special souvenir... The baseball team will again be swinging for the fences this year. On behalf of the student-athletes who benefit from your generosity, Rice sends its deepest appreciation and hopes the wind is blowing our way each time the Owls are up to bat!

Anthony Rendon Invited To Team USA Tryouts
HOUSTON - Rice third-baseman Anthony Rendon has been named one of the early invitees to the 2010 USA Baseball National Team Trials to be held in Cary, North Carolina, later this summer. The Owls' sophomore slugger will have a chance to represent his country and Rice as a member of Team USA in games against international competition... USA Baseball, the United States' governing body for international baseball competition, announced the first 11 of 36 eventual invitees to the 2010 National Team Trials. The Trials will be held at the national training complex in Cary, N.C. The invitees will compete for a spot on the final 22-man roster to be announced in June... Rendon is a Houston native who, after a sensational freshman campaign for the Owls, has already garnered a host of individual accolades including preseason All-America and preseason Conference USA player of the year... The Team USA try-out invitation is Rendon's second in as many years. He had to decline the 2009 invitation, however, when he suffered an injury in the Owls' last game of the season in the NCAA Super Regional. Rendon was sidelined but his current teammate on the left side of the Owl infield, shortstop Rick Hague, was also a 2009 try-out camp invitee who made the U.S. national team. Hague went on to share the Team USA lead in hitting (.429) on its international tour last summer... "We are thrilled to have Anthony as part of our trials in 2010," said National Team General Manager Eric Campbell. "His freshman season was incredible, and we look forward to watching him have another great year at Rice alongside Rick Hague, who was a key performer for us in 2009."

Rendon joins fellow sophomores Sonny Gray (P, Vanderbilt), Danny Hultsen (P/IF, Virginia), Matt Jensen (IF, Cal Poly), Mikie Mahtook (OF, LFU), Brad Miller (IF, Clemson), Austin Nola (P, LSU), Matty Ott (P, LSU), Tyler Pill (P/OF, Cal State Fullerton), Nick Ramirez (IF/P, Cal State Fullerton) and Kyle Winkler (P, TCU) as Team USA's early invitees. The 2010 national team will be managed by Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg with Cal State Fullerton's Dave Serrano (pitching), San Francisco's Nino Giarrantano and St. John's Ed Blankmeyer serving as assistant coaches... With Hague as the most-recent national team member, a total of 11 Owls have played on ten different Team USA squads. Recent major league draft pick Ryan Berry pitched for Team USA in 2007. Two Owl greats, Josh Rodriguez and Joe Savery, both made the national team as sophomores in 2005.

Preseason All-America Accolades For Rendon & Hague
DURHAM, N.C.-- The left side of the Rice baseball team's infield, sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon and junior shortstop Rick Hague, were both named preseason All-America selections by Baseball America magazine, the publication announced Feb. 5 from its headquarters in Durham, NC... Rendon is on the preseason All-America first team while Hague is a second-team honoree. Baseball America polled major league scouting directors, who voted on the team and made their selections based on performance, talent and professional potential... Earning baseball accolades is nothing new for Rendon. He is also a preseason All-America from the NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball magazine and Rivals.com to name a few. In 2009 he was a national semifinalist for both the Dick Howser Trophy as the nation's top college player and the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top amateur player. The local standout from nearby Lamar High School became the first player in Conference USA history to be named both the Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season. The Owls' young slugger is one of only two sophomores on Baseball America's first team... Rendon led C-USA in batting average (.388), slugging percentage (.702) and home runs with a Rice freshman record of 20 round-trippers. He was also tops on the team and among the league's best in RBI (72). In addition to knocking 14 doubles and scoring 60 runs in 61 games, Rendon drew 31 walks for a .406 on-base average. He was named the C-USA Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading the Owls to the championship title... Hague caught the world's attention after a stellar summer of baseball representing his country and Rice playing for the United States National Team on its international goodwill tour. He shared the Team USA lead in hitting and earned the Best Hitter Award at the World Baseball Challenge held in Canada. Always a steady fielder, last season Hague was the Owls' shortstop for all but four of the team's 542.2 innings (99.3 percent)... Baseball America's preseason All-America team has proved to be an accurate predictor of both team and individual success. Eleven of the 15 college players drafted in the first round last June appeared on the magazine's preseason All-America list--eight of them on the first team. For the second year in a row, 11 of the 2009 preseason All-Americans played for teams that reached the College World Series.

The C-USA Favorites
IRVING, Tex. - With sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon tabbed as the 2010 Conference USA Preseason Baseball Player of the Year, he and fellow Rice Owls Rick Hague, Chad Mozingo and Taylor Wall were all named preseason all-conference in a recent poll of C-USA's nine head coaches, the league office announced... The announcement of the C-USA coaches' poll was just two days before the Owls held their first practice of the season on Jan. 29. Rice and East Carolina both had four preseason honorees, the most of any school in the annual coaches' survey... Outfielder Chad Mozingo batted .383 in C-USA games last season and .357 in the Owls' run through the NCAA Regional. He finished second on the squad in doubles (16), and was just one double from the team leader despite having 38 fewer at bats. Mozingo was third on the team in slugging percentage (.523), RBI (50) and triples (3)... As a freshman pitcher last season Taylor Wall was named the most outstanding player of the NCAA Regional at Reckling Park. The left-hander worked his way into a regular spot in the weekend rotation and eventually led the Owls' elite pitching staff in starts (15), innings pitched (94.1) and strikeouts (77).

2010 PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS
(as selected by C-USA's head coaches)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Anthony Rendon
, Rice (Sophomore, 3B)

PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Todd McInnis, Southern Miss (Junior, rhp)

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
P, Seth Maness Jr. East Carolina
P, Todd McInnis Jr. Southern Miss
P, Taylor Wall So. Rice
RP, Collin Cargill Jr.. Southern Miss
C, Jeremy Schaffer So. Tulane
IF, Victor Gomez Jr. Marshall
IF, Rick Hague Jr. Rice
IF, Blake Kelso Jr. Houston
IF, Jonathan Merritt Sr. UAB
IF, Anthony Rendon So. Rice
OF, Devin Harris Jr. East Carolina
OF, Chad Mozingo Jr. Rice
OF, Trent Whitehead Jr. East Carolina
DH/Util., Kyle Roller Sr. East Carolina

Welcome Back Rice Baseball Alumni
HOUSTON -- Over 100 Rice baseball lettermen, from as far back as the 1940s to the recent College World Series teams, were on hand Feb. 6 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.
Baseball Alumni Day Photo Gallery

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' 2009 fall training was no exception. Newcomers like Tony Cingrani and true freshman Michael Ratterree turned in sound and solid outings to give themselves a possible wealth of playing time in the spring. Cingrani registered 18 strikeouts in 15.0 fall innings and held his new teammates to a composite .227 batting average. Ratterree, a former prep star at Memorial High School in Houston, batted .367 in Blue-Gray games with a .658 slugging percentage that was second-best on the squad... Junior transfer Boogie Anagnostou distinguished himself as a right-handed option on the mound... The Owls were impressed with redshirt freshman Anthony Fazio, who battled back from an injury which sidelined him for the entire 2009 season... Junior left-hander Doug Simmons meanwhile showed perhaps the biggest improvement over the last calendar year and could help the team either as a pitcher or hitter... In the Owls' lone fall exhibition game, the team thumped longtime state-rival Texas State 14-6.

GAMEDAY CENTRAL
RICE.EDU CONFERENCEUSA.COM NCAA.COM RICE UNIVERSITY - 100 YEARS