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Owls Close Out Homestand With 6:30 PM Games On Tues.-Wed.

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March 19, 2012

  • PDF of Rice's latest pregame release
  • VIEW a Rice Baseball Preseason video
  • VISIT the Rice Baseball Ticket Page
  • GREAT Promotions this season at Reckling Park
  • LISTEN to all Rice games via the Internet audio home page

    Mar. 20 (Tues.) 6:30 pm; UTSA at Rice
    Tickets Promotion: Sammy's Savings $2 off any ticket with coupon from the Sammy's Savings coupon book
    Concesion Promotion: $2 Tuesdays 2 burgers & 2 drinks for $10; $4 20oz beer
    The Roost Special: Fans can pick up The Roost Ticket Package for only $25 and enjoy a great time at Reckling Park. The package includes two tickets, two hot dogs and two beers.
    Watch it on the web
    GameTracker (activates at game time)

    Mar. 21 (Wed.) 6:30 pm; Lamar at Rice
    Title Sponsor: Houston Marriott at the Texas Medical Center
    The Roost Special: Fans can pick up The Roost Ticket Package for only $25 and enjoy a great time at Reckling Park. The package includes two tickets, two hot dogs and two beers.
    Watch it on the web
    GameTracker (activates at game time)

    Mar. 23 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Rice at Memphis
    Watch it on the web
    GameTracker (activates at game time)

     

     

    Mar. 24 (Sat.) 2 pm; Rice at Memphis
    Watch it on the web
    GameTracker (activates at game time)

    Mar. 25 (Sun.) 12:30 pm; Rice at Memphis (note new start time!)
    Watch it on the web
    GameTracker (activates at game time)

    All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.

    Owls Conclude Homestand This Week vs. Two State Rivals
    The No. 7 ranked Rice baseball team, 15-6 on the season, wraps-up the current homestand at Reckling Park with a pair of games this week. The Owls host state rivals Texas-San Antonio and Lamar on March 20-21 (Tues.-Wed.) respectively. The start times for both home games is set for 6:30 pm... Rice then opens Conference USA action with a three-game weekend series on the road at league rival Memphis beginning on Friday (Mar. 23).

    News Flash! Sunday Start Time At Memphis Now 12:30 pm
    Be sure to note there is a new start time for the finale of the Rice-Memphis series on Sunday (Mar. 25). The Owls and Tigers have moved Sunday's first pitch up to a new 12:30 pm start time.

    Watch Rice Home Games On OwlVision All Access
    Most home baseball games (and all Conference USA league 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 30 minutes before each game's first pitch. Fans attending the games can now listen to the Rice broadcast at the stadium where the team plays via an FM proximity transmitter. The frequency for the proximity broadcast at Reckling Park is 99.7 FM.

    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 • Rice No. 7
    Rice was ranked in the Top 10 of a host of different polls to start the 2012 campaign. Here's a closer look at the latest rankings:

    Poll This Week Last Week
    USA Today/ESPN 7 5
    NCBWA 9 7
    Baseball America 9 8
    Collegiate Baseball Magazine 10 7
    PerfectGame.com 12 7

    Rice University Centennial; 96th Season On The Baseball Field
    Rice University is celebrating its centennial in 2012. 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 2012 season is, however, only the Owls' 96th 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 1,834 - 1,476- 9.

    Head Coach Wayne Graham
    Four-time national coach of the year and soon-to-be 2012 College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Graham (Texas, 1970) is in his 21st season at Rice. The 2012 campaign marks his 32nd year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 927-367 with the Owls (561-129 at home, 276-186 in road games and 90-52 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .716, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .716 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 116 games in a single year... Graham's record vs. this week's opponents is as follows: 9-1 vs. UTSA (9-0 home, 0-1 road)... 28-15 vs. Lamar (18-7 home, 10-8 road)... 18-5 vs. Memphis (8-2 home, 7-2 away, 3-1 neutral)... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2011, making 17-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. 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 and 2011 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 and `10... 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; 12th year), Patrick Hallmark (Rice, 1995, Brown College; seventh year), and Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; first year)... On game days Hallmark coaches at third base while Van Hook coaches at first base.

    1,501 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
    Wayne Graham owns 927 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,501 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,501-479 in a 31-year career that began in 1981.

    Wayne Graham To Be Inducted Into College Baseball Hall of Fame
    HOUSTON - Only a few hours before the nationally-ranked Rice baseball team was to take the field against the University of Texas in Friday's final game of the College Classic Tournament (March 2), Owl head coach Wayne Graham was announced as one of seven inductees into College Baseball Hall of Fame later this summer... Coach Graham is part of an impressive class of inductees who will officially join the College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Tex., on June 29-30. The 2012 inductees include Lou Brock, a Major League Hall of Famer who was a collegiate star at Southern University in 1958-60; Ed Cheff, who won 16 NAIA national championships coaching at Lewis Clark State from 1977-2010; Nomar Garciaparra, a three-time All-America selection at Georgia Tech who went on to make six all-star games during a 14-year major league career; Tim Jorgensen, a two-time Division III National Player of the Year and All-American at Wisconsin-Oshkosh; Brad Wilkerson, a three-time All-America selection and 1998 National Player of the Year from the University of Florida; and the late Frank Sancet, who coached at Arizona for 23 seasons where he led the Wildcats to the College World Series ten times... The Owls' head coach is already a member of three other Halls of Fame. Currently in his 21st year at the helm of the Rice program, and his 32nd as a collegiate head coach, Graham has already been inducted into the Junior College Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Col. (1995), the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in Fort Worth (2003) and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco (2005)... At Rice, Graham has led the Blue & Gray to an NCAA Regional for each of the last 17 years. Not only has the baseball program won at least 40 games in each of the last 17 seasons, Rice has won or shared 16-consecutive conference championships (including regular season and/or conference tournament titles). Rice has maintained the nation's best composite Division I baseball win-percentage (.742) since 1999, a comprehensive 13-year span that marks the first year the NCAA adopted its current 64-team/Super Regional format for the NCAA Tournament... "It's a unique event and I appreciate the honor very much," said coach Graham. "At a time like this you think about who helped get you there. The players who have performed well to allow you to have some success, but also my wife and family who have had to make a lot of sacrifices to make it possible for this to happen. I'm very grateful for everyone who has been involved... "It's a great honor to be associated with the other members of this Hall of Fame class," coach Graham added. "They are great baseball-people with a love and talent for the game."... Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan said Graham's induction is well-deserved... "Wayne Graham's accomplishments throughout his career are obviously worthy of a place in the College Baseball Hall of Fame," Greenspan said. "His accomplishments at San Jacinto were legendary on their own merits and in his 21 seasons at Rice, he has created an exemplary program that has been dominant on the field and in the classroom." A National Board Member of the College Baseball Foundation, Greenspan noted that Graham's legacy continues to grow. "The 2012 Rice Owls are again among the best teams in the nation, adding yet another chapter to an amazing career."... Graham has long-been an example of coaching excellence, but he's far from finished.

    Probable Rice Pitchers
    Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitcher for Tuesday's game as junior Andrew Benak (3-0, 0.78) The Rice starters for the remaining games this week will be announced by Coach Graham at a later time.

  • Andrew Benak has looked sound and solid in each of his outings this season. The junior from Houston was simply sensational in his first appearance on Feb. 22 vs. New Mexico State. In that game, his first start of 2012 and only the fifth start of his collegiate career, Benak dominated the NMSU hitters with 10 strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work. The 6-foot-5 right-hander scattered just two singles and did not walk a batter on the way to his first win of the season. He struck out every batter in the lineup at least once and had one stretch of striking out nine of 14. A week later against crosstown rival Houston (Feb. 28) he allowed an earned run on three hits over 5.0 innings while striking out four. On March 6 against Texas State he struck out 10 in 6.0 innings while allowing just one run on four hits and two walks. In his most recent outing against nationally-ranked Arizona (Mar. 13), Benak held kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard for 5.2 frames to move to 3-0. In addition to a 0.78 ERA, he's held all opposing hitters to a composite .205 batting average... Benak is a redshirt junior who has been sidelined for most of the past four years. Now finally healthy for the first time since a standout prep career at Langham Creek H.S., Benak has quickly made up for lost time. His outings in the 2011 fall training program were the first indication that a healthy Benak could prove to be a different pitcher that the one Rice (and opponents) had seen before. The lesson in Benak's comeback story is that Rice baseball (the coaches and his teammates) never gave up on Andrew Benak, and perhaps of equal importance is that Andrew Benak never gave up on Andrew Benak.
  • UTSA announced its Tuesday night starting pitcher as freshman right-hander Logan Onda (0-0, 7.84)... Lamar announced its starting pitcher as junior right-hander Carter Hahn (0-1, 8.44).

    Previous Outing: Grambling Slips Past Rice In Sunday Upset, 5-4
    HOUSTON - Grambling State jumped on the scoreboard for three unearned runs in the top of the first inning and hung-on for a 5-4 upset victory over the nationally-ranked Rice baseball team Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park in Houston... The Tigers took advantage of two Rice fielding errors, and made the most of two free baserunners in their first time up. Chris Wolfe led off the game and reached on an Owl fielding error and both of the next two batters, Joe Gill Jr. and Darren Farmer were both hit by a pitch on consecutive pitches. Cleanup batter Thomas Brown III reached on another fielding error that allowed Wolfe to score with the bases still loaded. Gill Jr. scored a ground out to the right side and Farmer then came home on a passed ball. Grambling was in front 3-0 without recording a base hit in the inning... Rice answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. Michael Ratterree walked and Michael Fuda reached on a fielder's choice to put runners on first and second base. Ratterree scored on a single to right-center by Jeremy Rathjen. Fuda went to third on a single by Craig Manuel and scored on Shane Hoelscher's sacrifice fly that made it 3-2... "We had a very poor start that put us behind the eight-ball, but after we got those to runs back I thought we can still get ourselves back on track," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "We were able to hit the ball, but it was right at people and they made plays. They made plays because they are good team. You can't give any team any runs, which is exactly what we did today in the first inning."... Grambling extended its lead in the top of the fifth. Wolfe led off with a single and a one-out walk to Farmer put runners on first and second. Brown III singled-home Wolfe and Farmer later scored on a base hit by Brian Knuckles to stretch the Tiger lead to three, 5-2... Rice freshman pitcher Jordan Stephens entered the game out of the bullpen in the fifth and kept the Tigers in check while the Owls tried to battle their way back. Stephens finished the day with another 4.1 shutout innings, giving him a total of 18.0-consecutive scoreless innings dating back to a March 4 start against Tennessee in the finale of the annual College Classic held at Minute Maid Park... The Blue & Gray rallied for a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Christian Stringer hit safely to right and advanced into scoring position on a balk. He hustled home on Ratteree's single through the left side that made the score 5-3... Rathjen led off the bottom of the eighth with a double into the left field corner. He went to third on a ground out and scored on Hoelscher's second sacrifice fly of the game that cut it to one, 5-4... Grambling starter Richard Bautista worked eight innings, but the Tigers went to Zach Moreau out of the bullpen for the start of the ninth. Moreau retired the Owls in order to preserve a win for Bautista (2-0) and notch his third save of the season. The Tigers improved to 11-7 on the year. Rice fell to 15-6 overall... "Their starter went out and threw a lot of strikes," coach Graham added. "We struck out only two times today, but we could have had some better at bats in some specific situations. Some of the other areas where we needed more attention to details were important to the outcome today. We didn't win the game today, but we have a chance to be better now by learning from it. I think we learned something."

    Did You Know?
    Rice's 15-6 start to the season is the program's best since an identical ledger in 2009. That 2009 Owl squad began the year 15-6 on the way to a 43-18 season that included the C-USA Tournament Championship and NCAA Regional Championship. Rice has been 15-6 or better four times since 2005.

    Rice's Televised Games In 2012
    HOUSTON - Rice Athletics has announced its preliminary lineup of Owl baseball games that will be televised in the upcoming 2012 season. There are 11 Rice games tabbed for a television broadcast by a host of national networks. The number of televised games could still increase during the course of the year, including games in the C-USA Championship where the May 27 Final is set for a broadcast on CBS College Sports... Rice's televised games begin in March. All three Rice games from the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park were broadcast by either ESPN 3 (vs. Texas Tech and Tennessee) and/or The Longhorn Network (vs. Texas). Eight regular season home games from Reckling Park will be televised beginning on March 13. Note there will be a new start time on four of the home games to accommodate the broadcast of contests with Arizona (Mar. 13), Texas State (April 10), and Stephen F. Austin (May 8) - all of which are now 6 pm starts... Rice's May 5 game vs. crosstown rival Houston now begins at 1:30 pm. All three C-USA league games against UH in May will be televised. Rice baseball returns to play on familiar networks with games on CSS Sports, Fox Sports Net, and Fox College Sports. The full 2012 TV lineup for Rice baseball is listed below.

    Rice's 2012 Games Selected For Television Broadcast
    March 2 vs. Texas - 7 pm Longhorn Network
    March 3 vs. Texas Tech - 7 pm ESPN 3
    March 4 vs. Tennessee - 6 pm ESPN 3
    March 13 vs. Arizona - 6 pm* CSS Sports
    March 14 vs. Arizona - 6:30 pm CSS Sports
    April 1 vs. Southern Miss - 1 pm FOX Sports Net
    April 10 vs. Texas State - 6 pm* CSS Sports
    May 4 vs. Houston - 6:30 pm FOX College Sports
    May 5 vs. Houston - 1:30 pm FOX Sports Net
    May 6 vs. Houston - 1 pm CSS Sports
    May 8 vs. Stephen F. Austin - 6 pm* CSS Sports
    (May 27 C-USA Championship - 1 pm) CBS College Sports
    * - denotes a new starting time

    Get a printable Rice Baseball Schedule here Get Acrobat Reader

    The C-USA Favorites
    IRVING, Tex. - With four preseason all-conference players 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 on Jan. 26... Rice returns 22 experienced lettermen to the roster in 2012, including eight returning starters in the field and a host of veteran pitchers. The Owls have a highly-touted group of incoming freshmen players making their Division I debut this spring. The Owls were recently ranked sixth in Baseball America's preseason poll and seventh by Collegiate Baseball.

    PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
    1. Rice (8)

    2. UCF (1)
    3. East Carolina
    4. Southern Miss
    5. Houston
    6. Tulane
    7. Memphis
    8. UAB
    9. Marshall
    (first place votes in parentheses)

    2012 CONFERENCE USA PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS
    (as selected by C-USA's head coaches)

    PLAYER OF THE YEAR
    D.J. Hicks, UCF (Junior, Designated Hitter/Pitcher)

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

    ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
    P Kevin Brandt Sr. East Carolina
    P Austin Kubitza So. Rice
    P Dillon Napoleon Sr. UAB
    RP Tyler Duffey Jr. Rice
    C Jeremy Schaffer Sr. Tulane
    C Zach Wright Sr. East Carolina
    IF Chase Jensen Jr. Houston
    IF Darnell Sweeney Jr. UCF
    IF Corey Thompson Sr. East Carolina
    IF Jacob Wilson Sr. Memphis
    OF Kameron Brunty Sr. Southern Miss
    OF Jeremy Rathjen Jr. Rice
    OF Michael Ratterree Jr. Rice

    OF Ronnie Richardson Jr. UCF
    DH/UT D.J. Hicks Jr. UCF

    Nation's Top Win Percentage From 1999 To 2011
    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 the nation's top win percentage. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999 to 2011: (This list does not include any 2012 results.)
    Team, Wins-Loses-Ties (Pct.)
    Rice, 635-221-0 (.742)
    Florida State, 651-227-1 (.741)
    Oral Roberts, 561-224-0 (.715)
    Texas, 614-247-1 (.713)
    Coastal Carolina, 573-234-0 (.710)
    North Carolina, 589-246-1 (.705)
    Cal State Fullerton, 579-244-0 (.704)
    Arizona State, 531-224-1 (.703)
    South Carolina, 612-261-0 (.701)
    Miami, 565-246-3 (.696)
    Wichita State, 598-276-0 (.684)
    Georgia Tech, 551-255-1 (.683)
    LSU, 558-276-5 (.668)
    Clemson, 566-288-1 (.663)
    Nebraska, 527-268-2 (.662)
    Tulane, 532-275-2 (.659)
    Stanford, 527-274-2 (.658)
    East Carolina, 519-271-0 (.657)
    Notre Dame, 511-271-5 (.652)
    Coll. of Charleston, 487-279-0 (.636)
    Florida, 517-300-2 (.632)
    TCU, 498-290-0 (.632)
    Southern Miss, 503-296-0 (.630)
    Alabama, 508-300-0 (.629)
    Virginia, 498-294-2 (.628)

    Postseason Streak At 17-Straight, Looking For 18
    The Rice baseball program has made 17-consecutive appearances in the NCAA Baseball Championship, which ranks as the fourth-longest active streak in the country. Miami (Fla.) made the field for the 39 consecutive years, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (34) and Cal State Fullerton (20). Rice's 17-straight NCAA Tournament appearances is tied for the seventh-longest national postseason streak in Division I history (with LSU, 1989-2005).

    Conference Championship Streak At 16-Straight, Looking For 17
    Rice has won or shared a total of 16-straight conference championships (including either regular season or conference tournament titles) dating back to 1996. The streak covers the Owls' membership in three different leagues beginning with the Southwest Conference, to nine seasons in the Western Athletic Conference (1997-2005) and six Conference USA titles in as many years. In 2011 the Blue & Gray tied for the C-USA regular season co-championship (with Southern Miss) before winning the tournament title in late May.

    17-Straight 40-Win Seasons
    Rice has clinched 17th-straight seasons with at least 40 wins. `Forty' wins actually short-changes the feat a little. The Owls have secured at least 42 wins in 16 of the last 17 years.

    19-Straight 30-Win Seasons
    Rice has reached the 30-win plateau for 19th-straight seasons. Only five other schools in the country have longer active streaks of having won at least 30 games: Arizona State (now 49 years), Miami-Fla. (41 years), Clemson and Cal State Fullerton (both 37 years), and Georgia Tech (29).

    Welcome Back Rice Baseball Alumni
    Over 100 Rice baseball lettermen, from as far back as the 1940s to the recent College World Series teams, were on hand Feb. 4 at Reckling Park as the Rice Owls baseball program celebrated its rich heritage with its biennial Alumni Weekend... A host of former players, many still playing professionally and some who were in the major leagues in 2011 like Joe Savery and Lance Pendleton, came home to Reckling Park to renew friendships and see old teammates. There may have been a little rani, but it was a fun day for all.
    Check out the video of the Baseball Alumni Fan Fest here

    Winning Is Always In Fashion
    For the fashion dynamo out there, Rice is 7-2 in its all-white uniforms, 4-1 in the pinstripes, 1-0 in blue tops with white pants, 3-1 in all-gray and 0-2 in blue tops with gray pants.

  • GAMEDAY CENTRAL
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