March 26, 2012
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. 27 (Tues.) 6:30 pm; Rice at Lamar
GameTracker (activates at game time)
Mar. 30 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Rice vs. Southern Miss
Title Sponsor: Integrity Bank
The Roost Special: Fried Shrimp Po Boys & Baskets
Watch it on the web
GameTracker (activates at game time)
Mar. 31 (Sat.) 3:30 pm; Rice vs. Southern Miss
Title Sponsor: Employee Benefit Solutions
Watch it on the web
GameTracker (activates at game time)
Apr. 1 (Sun.) 1 pm; Rice vs. Southern Miss
Title Sponsor: Coldwell Banker
Special Promotion: Houston Zoo 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: $2 Ice Cream Sundaes
GameTracker (activates at game time)
Broadcast note - Game televised on Fox Sports Net (no webcast of this game)
All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.
Owls Conclude Road Swing Tuesday Night At Lamar; Host Southern Miss This Weekend
The No. 9 ranked Rice baseball team, 18-8 overall and tied for first place in the C-USA standings with a 2-1 league record, closes out the current four-game road swing at longtime rival Lamar (8-15) on Tuesday (March 27). Start time with the Cardinals is set for 6:30 pm at Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont... The Owls are then back home at Reckling Park for a three-game C-USA weekend series against conference co-leader Southern Miss from Friday-Sunday (March 30 to April 1).
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 Lamar is 91.9 FM. The frequency for in-stadium broadcast at Reckling Park is 99.7 FM.
Watch Most 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... Fans! Note there will be no webcast of Sunday's game vs. Southern Miss due a television broadcast by Fox Sports Net.
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. 9
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:
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 1,837 - 1,478- 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 930-369 with the Owls (562-130 at home, 278-187 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:
28-16 vs. Lamar (18-8 home, 10-8 road)...
14-7 vs. Southern Miss (7-3 home, 7-3 away, 0-1 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.
1,504 Wins A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 930 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,504 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,504-481 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 Pitcher There was a steady stream of preseason honors for Austin Kubitza, a third team 2012 preseason All-America selection by both Collegiate Baseball magazine and the College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). In six appearances this season, including five times as the starting pitcher, Kubitza is 1-2 with a 6.65 ERA. He's struck out 20 batters in 21.2 innings of work. The Colleyville, Tex., native has held all opposing hitters to a composite .268 batting average. So far in 2012 Kubitza has faced a rugged slate of opponents that includes Stanford, Texas, Florida International and Dallas Baptist.
Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitcher for Tuesday's game as sophomore Austin Kubitza (1-2, 6.65). The Rice starters for the remaining games this weekend will be announced by Coach Graham at a later time.
Lamar announced its Tuesday night starting pitcher as junior right-hander Ben Coram (1-0, 6.14).
Previous Outing: Memphis Scores Late To Avoid Series Sweep In Sunday Series Finale
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and claim a 6-2 win over the Rice baseball team in the finale of the Conference USA weekend series Sunday afternoon at FedEx Park in Memphis, Tenn... After taking each of the first two games of the series, the Owls were just short on capturing a weekend sweep. Rice is now 18-8 overall and 2-1 in C-USA action. Memphis improved to 10-13 on the year and 1-2 in the league.
"Well we won two-out-three conference games on the road, and that's not bad, but we did not hit again," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "We had three games in a hitter's park and we barely hit the fence, much less a home run. We need to be more aggressive and get bat speed at the plate."... Memphis opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning. Eli Hynes led off with a home run to right-center field for his sixth round-tripper of the season. Zach Willis then hit a solo shot in the bottom of the third to stretch the Tigers' lead to 2-0... Rice scratched-out a run in the top of the sixth. Keenan Cook led off with a single to right-center and he hustled around to third on Ford Stainback's base hit to center. Cook scored on Christian Stringer's sacrifice fly to right that made the score 2-1... The Owls scored the tying run in the eighth. Stringer and Chargois hit back-to-back singles with one away to put runners on the corners. Stringer scored on Michael Fuda's sacrifice fly to even-up the game at 2-2... Rice recorded a quick out to start the bottom of the eighth, but Memphis rallied for four runs on three hits and an intentional walk. The big blow was a two-out three-run homer by Jacob Wilson.
Andew Benak started on the mound for Rice and worked 5.1 innings. Benak allowed three hits and two walks while striking out five. He was relieved by Taylor Wall and J.T. Chargois over the final two frames... "We can stay positive," Graham said. "Andrew had another good start and we're two-and-one in conference. It's all up to us from now on."
Did You Know?
The Owls surrendered three home runs at Memphis on Sunday. A year ago Rice had allowed only one home run in 24 C-USA league games.
Solid Start Through 26
Rice's 18-8 start to the season is the program's best since a 19-7 mark in 2009. That 2009 Owl squad began the year 18-8 on the way to a 43-18 season that included the C-USA Tournament Championship and NCAA Regional Championship. Rice has been 18-8 or better five 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
The C-USA Favorites
IRVING, Tex. - With four preseason all-conference honorees 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 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
(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)
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 8-2 in its all-white uniforms, 4-2 in the pinstripes, 1-0 in blue tops with white pants, 4-2 in all-gray and 1-2 in blue tops with gray pants.
The Owls will be happy to be at back home at Reckling Park later this week. Rice hosts C-USA co-leader Southern Miss (14-10, 2-1) in a three-game weekend set. Game times with the Golden Eagles are set for 6:30 pm Friday, 3:30 pm Saturday and 1 pm on Sunday... The Blue & Gray closes out the four-game homestand on April 3 (Tues.) with a midweek game against red-hot Sam Houston State.