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Owls Close Out Road Swing Tuesday Night at Sam Houston State

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 Tulane at No. 17 Rice
Date/Time Thursday, March 28th | 6:30 PM CST
Friday, March 29th | 6:00 PM CST
Saturday, March 30th | 2:00 PM CST
Stadium Reckling Park
Location Houston, TX.
Watch LIVE! Game 1   | Game 2  | Game 3 
Live Stats Game 1  | Game 2  | Game 3 

March 25, 2013

VISIT the Rice Baseball Ticket Page
PROMOTIONS this season at Reckling Park
LISTEN to all Rice games via the Internet audio home page
Rice University Baseball Parking Information

Mar. 26 (Tues.) 6:30 pm; Rice at Sam Houston State
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Mar. 28 (Thurs.) 6:35 pm; Tulane at Rice
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Mar. 29 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Tulane at Rice
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Mar. 30 (Sat.) 2 pm; Tulane at Rice
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Apr. 1 (Mon.) 6:30 pm; Texas State at Rice
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All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.

Owls Close Out Road Swing Tuesday Night at Sam Houston State
The Rice baseball team, 18-8 overall and ranked as high as No. 17 in the country, closes out its current four-game road swing on Tuesday night (March 26). The Owls face longtime foe Sam Houston State (12-11) at 6:30 pm at Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Tex. Tuesday's contest is the second meeting of the team this season. On March 6 the Bearkats claimed a 3-0 win over Rice at Reckling Park.

Conference USA Action Resumes Thursday at Home vs. Tulane
Conference USA league play began for eight teams last weekend and resumes for Rice beginning on Thursday, March 28 at Reckling Park. The Owls (2-1) host the Tulane Green Wave (14-12, 2-1) for three games thru Saturday (Mar. 30). Start times are set for 6:30 pm on both Thursday and Friday, with a 2 pm first pitch in the Saturday finale... The Owls wrap-up the brief four-game homestand on Monday, April 1, against longtime foe Texas State in a 6:30 pm game.

It's Prime T.V. Time Thursday on Fox Sports Net
As if a Thursday night home matchup between Rice and Tulane wasn't already big enough, the contest with the Green Wave has been selected for a TV broadcast. Fox Sports Net, a leader in broadcasting collegiate competitions, is televising Thursday's Rice-Tulane game across the country. Broadcasters Bruce Howard (play-by-play) and former major leaguer Pat Combs (commentary) have the TV call Thursday night from Reckling Park.

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 & 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 at Reckling Park will be 99.7 FM. Proximity broadcasts for away games will be announced prior to that game. J.P. Heath returns as the voice of the Owls this season. For some selected home games he will be joined in the Rice broadcast booth by either 2003 national champion letterman Enrique Cruz or Jimmy Baseball, aka letterman and "R" Association Director Jimmy Comerota.

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 20
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
PerfectGame.com 17 20
Baseball America 18 18
College Sports Madness --- 20
NCBWA 20 24
USA Today/ESPN 20 rv
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 28 nr

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 1,878 - 1,497- 9.

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 971-388 with the Owls (584-140 at home, 296-191 in road games and 91-57 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .714, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .714 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: 32-16 vs. Sam Houston State (20-9 home, 12-7 road); 24-6 vs. Tulane (11-1 home, 13-5 road); 43-10 vs. Texas State (30-6 home, 12-4 road, 1-0 neutral)... 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 Hallmark coaches at first base.

1,545 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 971 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,545 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,545-501 in a 32-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Probable Rice Pitcher
Coach Graham announced Rice's starting pitcher for the Sam Houston State game as junior right-hander Chase McDowell (3-1, 3.95). The Owls' starting rotation for the Tulane series will be announced by coach Graham at a later time.

Here's Who's Hot
Junior leftfielder Keenan Cook has put together two productive weeks in a row where he is batting .464 (13-for-28) with a triple and a double for a team-best .571 slugging percentage over the last seven games. The standout from The Woodlands. Tex., has scored six times, stolen two bases and maintained a .484 on-base percentage, as well as register a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. On the defensive side he also doubled-up a runner on the bases for an outfield assist in the home win over UTSA... Senior rightfielder Michael Ratterree is 15-for-40 (.375) with a home run and three doubles for a .525 slugging percentage over the last dozen games. Opponents have been very careful in pitching to the Owls' hometown veteran slugger, and have walked him 11 times during the current stretch to help contribute to a steady .519 on-base percentage. Ratterree has converted his times on base to 14 runs scored in the last 12 games... Keep an eye on sophomore first baseman Skyler Ewing. Ewing is batting .364 (4-for-11) with a home run, four RBI and three runs scored in the Owls' last four games.

Previous Outing: Rice Rallies For Road Win Sunday, Takes Weekend Series From Southern Miss
HATTIESBURG, Miss - The Rice baseball team rallied for three runs in the top of the eighth inning before adding one more in the ninth to claim a 6-3 Conference USA road victory at Southern Miss to conclude the league series Sunday afternoon in Hattiesburg, Miss. The Owls won the three-game weekend series two games to one... Southern Miss starting pitcher Conor Fisk worked well in a career-long 7.0 innings to help the Golden Eagles hold a 3-2 lead heading into the top of the eighth. Rice had better success against the USM bullpen and quickly loaded the bases with two hits and a walk. Geoff Perrott then drew a one-out walk to force in the game-tying run 3-3, but the Owls offense was not finished. Skyler Ewing continued his successful day by driving in the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice, and a USM error on the play allowed another Owl run to score for a 5-3 advantage... Rice added one more insurance run in the top of the ninth on two hits for a 6-3 final score. The Blue & Gray finished with a total of 11 hits in the game to improve to 18-8 on the season and 2-1 in C-USA action. Southern Miss is 9-14 overall and 1-2 in league play... The Owls were the first team on the scoreboard. Ewing led off the top of the third inning and blasted a 0-1 pitch that cleared the wall in right field. The round-tripper was Ewing's second of the season... Southern Miss answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Chase Fowler drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Dillon Day followed with a bunt-hit, but an Owl fielding error on the play allowed Fowler to score and Day to advance to second. Mason Robbins walked and Isaac Rodriguez singled to load the bases. Tim Lynch bunted the second run in to put the Golden Eagles in front 2-1... The Owls came right back and tied the game in the fourth. Michael Ratterree lined a one-out double to right-center. Ewing then drove him home with his second hit of the day, a two-out single that dropped into right-center... The Golden Eagles took the lead in its half of the fourth inning. Fowler hit a two-out solo homer to make the score 3-2, and USM held that lead all the way until the eighth... Junior John Simms started on the mound for Rice and pitched a total of 6.1 innings. He allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and a hit batter. The right-hander finished with eight strikeouts in a no-decision. Freshman Blake Fox was Rice's official pitcher of record to improve to 2-0. Sophomore reliever Zech Lemond pitched the final two perfect frames to earn his sixth save of the season.

Rice 13th In Average Home Attendance
Through 13 home games Rice has averaged close to 3,300 fans per game at Reckling Park. The Owls are 13th in the nation in average home attendance. Here are the latest national attendance leaders (by home average).
1. LSU 10,713
2. Arkansas 7,764
3. Ole Miss 7,299
4. South Carolina 7,082
5. Mississippi State 6,801
6. Texas 5,773
7. Clemson 4,683
8. Texas A&M 4,481
9. Florida State 4,354
10. TCU 3,600
11. Florida 3,477
12. Hawaii 3,315
13. Rice 3,292

Rice Also 18th In Total Home Attendance
Rice baseball drew more than 42,803 fans for 13 home games. That's also the 18th highest total in the country.

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.

Now Six More TV Games Later This Season
HOUSTON - Four additional Rice baseball home games have been picked up for a television broadcast by Fox College Sports, the Rice Athletics Department announced, bringing remaining season total TV games to six... Fox College Sports (FCS), a leader in televising some of the nation's top collegiate events, added Rice baseball games vs. UCF, Texas Tech, Memphis and Marshall to its spring broadcast slate. All are Owl home games at Reckling Park, a venue that hosted no less than eight nationally-televised games last season. There will be no significant changes to the start time for any of the four games on FCN... Rice baseball has already a number of its games on TV this season. All three games from the Astros Foundation Classic at Minute Maid Park were televised taped-delayed. In February three of the Owls' games played at Hawaii were televised lived throughout the 50th state. There are also two other upcoming Rice games against Conference USA foes Tulane and Houston that are scheduled for a live TV broadcast by Fox Sports Net. Rice's six up-coming TV games are as follows:
March 28 (Thur.) Tulane at Rice, 6:30 pm - Fox Sports Net
April 12 (Fri.) UCF at Rice, 6:30 pm - Fox College Sports
April 16 (Tue.) Texas Tech at Rice, 6:30 pm - Fox College Sports
April 20 (Sat.) Rice at Houston, 12:30 pm - Fox Sports Net
May 10 (Fri.) Memphis at Rice, 6:30 pm - Fox College Sports
May 16 (Thur.) Marshall at Rice, 6:30 pm - Fox College Sports

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 7-3 in its all-white uniforms, 4-3 in all-gray, 4-0 in blue tops with white pants and 3-2 in the pinstripes.


 

 

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