Owls Host Southern Miss Friday In Three-Game Weekend Series

March 29, 2012

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    Mar. 30 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Rice vs. Southern Miss
    Title Sponsor: Integrity Bank
    The Roost Special: Fried Shrimp Po Boys & Baskets
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    Mar. 31 (Sat.) 3:30 pm; Rice vs. Southern Miss
    Title Sponsor: Employee Benefit Solutions
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    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
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    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 Host Southern Miss This Weekend To Open Four-Game Homestand
    The No. 9 ranked Rice baseball team, 19-8 overall and tied for first place in the Conference USA standings with a 2-1 league record, is back home at Reckling Park for a three-game C-USA weekend series against league co-leader Southern Miss from Friday-Sunday (March 30 to April 1). Start times with the Golden Eagles have been set for 6:30 pm Friday, 3:30 pm on Saturday, and 1:07 pm on Sunday... The Owls close out the homestand on April 3 (Tues.) against red-hot Sam Houston State.

    It's T.V. Time Sunday on FOX Sports Net
    As if a C-USA showdown among two of the teams in first place in the conference standings wasn't big enough, Sunday's game with the Golden Eagles will be televised. FOX Sports Net, a broadcasting leader in televising collegiate sports across the country, will air the Rice-USM action. Broadcasters Bruce Howard (play-by-play) and former major leaguer Jack Lazorko (commentary) have the call Sunday from Reckling Park.

    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.

    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 in-stadium 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. 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:

    Poll This Week Last Week
    Baseball America 9 9
    USA Today/ESPN 11 7
    NCBWA 11 9
    Collegiate Baseball Magazine 13 10
    PerfectGame.com 13 12

    2012 Rice Centennial logo 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 1,838 - 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 931-369 with the Owls (562-130 at home, 279-187 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 opponent is: 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.

    1,505 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
    Wayne Graham owns 931 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,505 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,505-481 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
    Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitcher for the opening game of the Southern Miss series as senior right-hander Matthew Reckling (4-0, 1.05). The starting pitchers for Saturday and Sunday will be announced by coach Graham at a later time.
    Last season veteran Matthew Reckling started more games (16) than any other member of the Owls' pitching staff. Not only did he lead the team in opponent's batting average (.214), he was among the C-USA leaders in that category. The 6-foot-4 right-hander was second on the Owls in strikeouts (96) and in innings (78.1), and third in ERA (3.10). Reckling averaged 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings. He was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 2011 June draft, but returned to Rice for his senior season. The Owls are glad he did because he has been lights-out in 2012. This season Reckling did not allow any runs through his first 15.1 innings of work. The former Kinkaid star has already been named the C-USA Pitcher of the Week two times, including last week's complete game three-hit shutout effort at Memphis. He has now struck out 51 in 43.0 innings and held opposing batters to a composite .132 average. Reckling's next start would be his 27th as an Owl. His all-time Rice record in 54 career appearances is 11-4, and he is the career strikeouts leader among active players with 194.

    Southern Miss announced its weekend rotation as junior right-hander Andrew Pierce (3-1, 1.83) on Friday, and redshirt-freshmen left-hander Jake Drehoff (3-0, 3.82 ERA) on Saturday. The Golden Eagles will announce Sunday's starting pitcher at a later time.

    Previous Outing: Rice Coasts Past Lamar 17-2 Tuesday Night In Beaumont
    BEAUMONT, Tex. - The Rice baseball team's offense was in high gear with a season-best 17 runs on 15 hits, including nine for extra bases, on the way to a 17-2 victory over longtime rival Lamar Tuesday night at Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont... Not only was it a season-high in runs, it was the second time in the last three games for Rice to post at least 15 runs on the scoreboard. Improved hitting is one thing head coach Wayne Graham was glad to see... "We hit the ball very well, which is encouraging," said coach Graham. "We had been working on a little different approach to hitting and today is more what we wanted. We hit the ball hard."... Rice quickly jumped on the scoreboard for three runs in the top of the first inning. JT Chargois drew a one-out walk and hustled to third on a chopping base hit to right by Christian Stringer. Jeremy Rathjen followed with a double down the left field line to score one. Stringer came home on Shane Hoelscher's RBI grounder. Michael Fuda stroked a two-out single up the middle for the 3-0 advantage... Lamar took advantage of a Rice fielding error for a run in the bottom of the third. Aaron Olivas drew a walk and moved up 90 feet on a single by Jude Vidrine. After Olivas advanced to third on a fielder's choice for the second out of the inning, the Blue & Gray appeared to be out of danger with a ground ball that could have retired the side. Rice mishandled the ball, however, allowing Olivas to score that made it 3-1... The Owls broke the close game wide open with an inning season-high 10 runs in the fifth. Rice sent a total of 13 men to the plate in a hitting show that included a home run, two triples and two doubles... Six different Rice hitters had two or more hits in the contest, led by Ryan Lewis with three. The junior first baseman drove in a pair of runs and scored twice by hitting a single, double and a triple. The top five hitters in the lineup all had two hits. Five players finished with two RBI... The offensive fireworks provided plenty of room for Owl starting pitcher Austin Kubitza. The sophomore right-hander was solid in 5.0 innings of work, scattering three hits and a walk and allowing a run that was unearned. He was followed on the mound by John Simms, Zech Lemond, Chase McDowell and Trevor Simms. The bullpen allowed a run on three hits while striking out six over the final four innings... "Austin is looking like he's pretty close to where he needs to be," coach Graham said. "He still has a little more work to do. I thought he threw well. I thought Zech Lemond threw extraordinarily well. We played well and need to be able to carry this over into a big conference series this weekend."

    Here's Who's Hot
    Not only does Christian Stringer enter the weekend with a career-best 14-game hitting streak, he is 24-for-58 (.414) during the streak. Stringer has also drawn 10 walks and twice been hit by a pitch for a .507 on-base average. The standout newcomer has scored 18 times, driven-in 15 runs and maintained a .621 slugging percentage during his streak. (The longest hitting streak an Owl had last season was 19 games by Michael Ratterree). That's just the offense. Since Feb. 25 Stringer has been error-free in 116 total chances and turned or started 12 of the team's 17 double plays in that time... Over the last eight games Ryan Lewis is batting .474 (9-for-19) with a double and a triple for a .631 slugging percentage. Lewis has drawn four walks and been hit by a pitch for a .583 on-base percentage. He has also driven-in six runs, scored three times and stolen a base in the last eight games... J.T. Chargois is now 5-for-13 (.385) with three RBI and three runs scored in the last three games. Chargois has drawn three walks (.500 on-base percentage) and stole a base in that stretch... Steady as ever, Jeremy Rathjen is batting .367 (11-for-30) over the last seven games to raise his season average to .363. Rathjen has seven doubles in his last seven games to go along with five RBI, five runs scored, three walks and three steals... Michael Ratterree is 6-of-his-last-17 (.353) with six walks for a .500 on-base percentage. The Houston native has knocked a home run and a double for a .647 slugging percentage, as well as scored six times and driven-in four runs in his last five games... Rookie Ford Stainback has made the most of his recent opportunities. The freshman shortstop is 4-for-13 (.308) with four walks for a .471 on-base percentage. He's also scored five runs in his last six games played... Geoff Perrott has hit well coming off the bench the last few games. The junior catcher is now 2-for-his-last-4 with two doubles, a walk and three runs scored.

    Did You Know?
    The Owls surrendered three home runs at Memphis on Sunday (March 25). A year ago Rice had allowed only one home run in 24 C-USA league games.

    Solid Start Through 27
    Rice's 19-8 start to the season is the program's best since a 20-7 mark in 2009. That 2009 Owl squad began the year 20-7 on the way to a 43-18 season that included the C-USA Tournament Championship and NCAA Regional Championship. Rice has been 19-8 or better three 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 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.

    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)

    (as selected by C-USA's head coaches)

    D.J. Hicks, UCF (Junior, Designated Hitter/Pitcher)

    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, 5-2 in all-gray and 1-2 in blue tops with gray pants.

    On Deck
    Blue & Gray closes out the four-game homestand on April 3 (Tues.) with a midweek game against red-hot Sam Houston State (15-9). First pitch with the Bearkats is set for 6:30 pm at Reckling Park.

    2012 C-USA Championship Tickets Now On Sale
    IRVING, Tex. - Tickets for the 2012 Conference USA Baseball Championship presented by Trustmark are on sale now. The eight-team tournament will be held Wed., May 23-Sun., May 27 at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., the home of the Mississippi Braves, class AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves in suburban Jackson, Miss. This will be the second-straight year that the C-USA Baseball Championship will be held at the neutral site... Tournament ticket packages include seats for all 13 games and are available in four different price ranges. Club seating is $120, dugout level seating is $100, field level seating is $80 and general admission seats are just $60. Tickets can be ordered through C-USA school ticket offices or by calling 1-888-BRAVES4. For complete details on the championship, please visit ConferenceUSA.com.... Trustmark Park, which opened April 18, 2005, has capacity for nearly 7,500 fans. There are 5,500 chair-back seats in the reserved seating areas. The grass berm beyond the outfield walls has room for an additional 2,000 general admission customers... The Farm Bureau Grill, beyond the right-field wall, is a full-service restaurant and there are nine baseball-themed concession stands that offer a wide variety of ballpark treats. Twenty-two luxury suites that seat between 16 and 20 fans are equipped with hardwood floors, a bar, flat screen TVs, refrigerator and sliding doors that open up to two rows of outdoor seats. The ballpark also includes a picnic pavilion in left field, 150 closed-circuit monitors positioned around the park televising the game and two merchandise shops... The 2012 Conference USA Championship will feature the top eight teams in regular-season league play. Those eight will be split into two four-team pools (or pods), with the winner of each pod playing in a single championship game. Teams will be assigned pods based on seed, which will be determined by the order of finish in regular-season conference play... Each team will be guaranteed to play three games. Teams in each pod will play two teams in its pod and one team outside its pod. The team with the best composite record in each pod will advance to the championship game. Two-way ties in a pod will be broken by head-to-head play. In case of a three-way tie, the highest seed will advance... Game times are 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the championship game slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The championship game will be nationally-televised by CBS Sports Network.

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