Owls Host Dallas Baptist Tuesday Night At Reckling Park

April 5, 2010

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    (All times listed are Central)

    April 6 (Tues.) 6 pm; Dallas Baptist at Rice
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    April 9 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Rice at Tulane
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    April 10 (Sat.) 2 pm; Rice at Tulane
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    April 11 (Sun.) 1 pm; Rice at Tulane
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    Owls Close Out Homestand Tuesday vs. Dallas Baptist at 6 PM
    The Rice baseball team, 17-12 overall and tied for first place in the Conference USA standings with a 4-2 league record, closes out its current homestand on Tuesday night (April 6) vs. Dallas Baptist. First pitch with the Patriots (16-12) is set for 6 pm at Reckling Park. Note that this a different start time from some earlier listings... After hosting DBU, the Owls are back on the road for eight of their next nine games. Rice continues C-USA action with a three-game weekend series at league foe Tulane Friday through Sunday (April 9-11). Game times with the Green Wave in New Orleans are 6:30 pm, 2 pm and 1 pm, respectively.



    Catch The Games On OwlVision All Access
    All the games this week are slated for a live broadcast on OwlVision. 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 proved to be very popular with fans and alumni living throughout the world. Information about the service and subscription prices are available here. Access the service on game day at the above links.

    Audio Broadcasts
    Every Rice baseball game is broadcast live around the world on the Internet at RiceOwls.com and KTRU.org. For on-line listeners there is a direct connection to the audio feed provided at the above links. The Friday and Saturday games from Tulane will be broadcast live in the Houston area on campus radio station KTRU (91.7 FM). The Rice broadcasting tag-team this season is J.P. Heath and David Brady.

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

    National Ranking Update • Rice In The National Top 30
    Rice is ranked 21st in the country in the latest PINGBaseball.com poll and 25th in Collegiate Baseball Magazine. The Owls are 29th in the country according to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers and receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN poll. As of presstime, the current 2010 national rankings by the various baseball polls is as follows:
    21st PINGBaseball.com
    25th Collegiate Baseball
    29th National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assoc.
    RV USA Today/ESPN
    Baseball America

    Head Coach Wayne Graham
    Four-time national coach of the year and Texas Sports Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Graham (Texas, 1970) is in his 19th season at Rice. The 2010 season marks his 30th year as a collegiate head coach... In 2009 he won his 800th game at the helm of the Rice program. He is now 847-329 with the Owls (517-112 at home, 252-171 in road games and 78-46 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .720, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .720 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 117 games in a single year... Graham's record vs. this week's opponents is as follows: 13-3 vs. Dallas Baptist (12-2 at home, 1-1 road); 18-3 vs. Tulane (9-0 at home, 9-3 road)... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2009, making 15-straight seasons for Rice to earn an NCAA appearance. The 2003 bid culminated with the Owls' first national championship. Rice played in the 1994-95-96 Southwest Conference tournaments (winning the final league title in `96), won the 1997-98-99 WAC tournaments, shared the 2000 WAC title with San Jose State before winning the 2001-02-03-04-05 titles outright. He won the C-USA regular season crowns in 2006, 2007 and 2008, as well as the C-USA tournament championships in `06, `07 and `09. Rice has advanced into the NCAA tournament in 1995-96-97-98-99-00-01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09... Graham was named the WAC Coach of the Year in 1998, `99, `02 and the Co-Coach of the Year in `03. He was named the Keith LeClair C-USA Coach of the Year in `06, his first year in the league, and again in `07 and `08... Rice has seven appearances in the NCAA College World Series under Graham (1997, `99, `02, `03, `06, `07, `08)... Graham has led the Owls to number-one rankings for seven weeks during the 1999 season, for six weeks during the `01 campaign, two weeks in `02, six weeks in 2003 (the last of which established some staying power), three weeks in 2004, 12 weeks in 2006 and five weeks in `07... Graham's San Jacinto Gators dominated the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., in the 1980s, winning five national titles in six years (1985-86-87, 89-90)... The Austin American-Statesman named Graham its SWC Coach of the Year in `95 after he led the Owls to their first NCAA tournament appearance... Collegiate Baseball was especially cognizant of Graham's efforts at San Jac. He was named the newspaper's Coach of the Decade for all levels in the 1980s after winning those five junior college national titles, and CB tabbed him the NJCAA Coach of the Century... He was named the 2007 Division I college Coach of the Year by FieldTurf... One of the few current collegiate coaches to have played in the major leagues (N.Y. Mets in 1963, Philadelphia in 1964), Graham is aided by assistant coaches Mike Taylor (Prairie View A&M, 1997; tenth year), David Pierce (Houston, 1988; eighth year), Patrick Hallmark (Rice, 1995; fifth year)... Taylor coaches at third base this year while Hallmark coaches at first base.

    1,422 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
    Wayne Graham owns 847 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,422 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,422-442 in a 30-year career that began in 1981.

    Consider This
    To help place Coach Graham's achievements in perspective, consider that Rice started its baseball program in 1913 and in the 77 seasons where there are verified won-loss records (Rice is missing a few W-L totals from those early days), the Owls won a total of 838 games. In the 18+ years since 1992 when Graham was named the head coach, the Owls have won 847 games. It's only taken Graham 18+ years to accomplish essentially what it took the program more than three-quarters of a century to do before he got here.

    Did You Know?
    Five Owls are on the Opening Day Rosters of major league teams as the 2010 MLB season gets under way this week. Congratulations to former Owls David Aardsma (Mariners), Lance Berkman (Astros, D.L.), Tim Byrdak (Astros), Jeff Niemann (Rays) and Paul Janish (Reds).

    Probable Rice Pitchers
    Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitcher for the Dallas Baptist game as sophomore right-hander Matthew Reckling (1-0, 4.26). All six of Reckling's appearances this season have been out of the bullpen. The Austin, Tex., native has struck out 12 batters in 12.2 innings... Dallas Baptist announced its probable starting pitcher as senior left-hander Ryan Millard... The Rice starters for the Tulane series will be announced at a later time.

    C-USA Ticket Packs Now Available
    Fans don't wait any longer, Conference USA baseball ticket packs are now available on-line! With C-USA packs fans may purchase great tickets to each Rice home game against an upcoming C-USA home opponent: East Carolina (Apr. 23-25), Southern Miss (May 14-16), and UAB (May 20-22). C-USA packs for seats behind home plate on the upper concourse level are $100. C-USA packs for seats on the upper concourse level on the first and third-base sides are $80. Order C-USA Packs On-line here.

    Previous Outing: Manuel Blasts Walk-Off Homer To Complete Three-Game Sweep of Houston
    With a disgusted clap of his hands and a dejected lull in his gait, Rice sophomore Craig Manuel expressed the frustration that was emanating from the Owls' dugout when his deep fly ball died at the warning track to open the 10th inning. He was decidedly more joyous two innings later... Manuel made his first career home run a memorable one, cranking a solo shot off Houston lefthander Taylor Hammack over the right-field wall in the bottom of the 12th to give the Owls an 8-7 victory and a Conference USA series sweep of their rivals Saturday at Reckling Park... Manuel pushed Houston right fielder William Kankel as far back as he could jog in the 10th with a high-arcing shot that Kankel cradled in his glove while touching the wall with his left hand. When he stepped in against Hammack (1-2) for a second time, Manuel was armed with the knowledge of having witnessed how Hammack worked him previously... "It's always good to see a guy more than once," said Manuel, who finished 1-for-4 with two runs and a walk serving as the designated hitter. "He was hiding the ball pretty well, but I didn't see anything that was too special that he could shut us down for five innings."... Hammack wasn't having much difficulty handcuffing the Owls (17-12, 4-2 C-USA) thanks to the Owls' apparent determination to script a dramatic ending. Six of the eight batters Hammack retired trudged back to the dugout following fly outs, including center fielder Steven Sultzbaugh, whose fly out to center preceded the homer from Manuel... But in many ways the Owls made their own luck, so it was fitting that Manuel was presented with a second chance to record his first dinger... "I never hit a ball that solid since I've been here," Manuel said. "If that didn't get out, there was no chance for me to ever hit a home run."... Momentum-swinging homers were the theme du jour. Owls third baseman Anthony Rendon drilled a grand slam the opposite way to right in the first to erase the Cougars' 2-0 lead and provide the Owls an edge they would not relinquish until Houston catcher Chris Wallace crushed a three-run homer to straightaway center field off Owls closer Tyler Duffey in the eighth. Wallace, whose solo homer in the second sliced the Owls' lead to 4-3, left no doubt with his titanic blast, clearing the batter's eye behind the wall to give Houston (12-14, 2-4) a 7-6 lead... That advantage was short-lived. The Owls finished 2-for-13 with two outs and Owls right fielder Chad Mozingo delivered both hits. His two-out double off Cougars lefthander Ty Stuckey in the eighth scored Sultzbaugh and erased the deficit. Mozingo was 4-for-4 with two walks... "That's not too bad, is it," Rice coach Wayne Graham asked rhetorically... Equally impressive were the relief performances of southpaws Doug Simmons and Holt McNair, who combined to work 6 1/3 innings while allowing one unearned run on two hits and three walks. Simmons was shaky early in his appearance - he balked in the third run in the third - but settled down and coasted through the seventh inning. McNair relieved Duffey and entered to face Houston lefthanders Zak Presley and Caleb Ramsey, and he induced a pair of harmless fly balls to Sultzbaugh... Also lost in the home run derby were the exceptional displays of defensive might produced by the Owls. Junior shortstop Rick Hague, whose defensive struggles have been well chronicled, made an incredible play to retire Wallace in the third, tracking deep in the hole behind Rendon before making a backhand stop and firing accurately to Jimmy Comerota at first. Hague finished with a clean performance and seven assists, none more dazzling than his first effort on the afternoon... "I think he got his mind back," Rendon said of Hague. "I don't know what was wrong with him, but I think he found whatever he was looking for. He got that confidence back, and he made a lot of good plays today. That's what he's capable of; he can do that every day if he wants to." ...Added Graham: "That was one of the best games I've ever seen a shortstop play. We don't have anybody that can come close to playing short that way. That was an incredible performance I thought."... Rendon, whose grand slam was his second this season, wasn't shabby at third. He made a diving, smothering stop of a grounder from Houston second baseman Travis Trial to open the seventh, and he gobbled up a sharply hit ground ball from Blake Kelso with two runners on in the 11th, stepping on the bag before firing to first for the inning-ending double play to support Boogie Anagnostou (2-2) and preserve the tie. -- By MOISEKAPENDA BOWER

    Crowded House
    The March 16 home crowd of 5,469 to see Rice host Texas was the second-largest in Reckling Park history. The attendance record of 6,193 was set against Texas on St. Patrick's Day last season.

    Rendon Delivers
    After being carried off the field with an ankle injury last season in the Baton Rouge Super Regional, sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon has the full attention of the opposition. Rendon is 31-for-92 (.337) with 11 home runs and four doubles for an .739 slugging percentage. Surely Rendon has more than 92 official at bats in 29 games?? Nope. The Owl slugger has already been walked 39 times and hit by a pitch twice for a .529 on-base percentage. On Mar. 3 at Texas State he batted leadoff for the first time in his Rice career and drew three walks with a run-scored. He hit his eleventh homer of the season, and the 31st of his career (a grand slam in fact), last weekend against Houston. He also has been known to bring the fans to their feet with some spectacular defensive plays. In the win over Nebraska he broke a 3-3 tie by delivering the game-winning RBI with a double in the bottom of the eighth inning.

    Career Longball Leaders
    It was only going to be a matter of time before Anthony Rendon broke into the Rice top ten for career home runs. With his 31st round-tripper on April 3 vs. Houston, he moved closer to ninth place on the Owls' all-time home run list. The sophomore standout from nearby Lamar High School has some reachable targets directly ahead of him, who also happen to be some of the most prominent players in Rice baseball history. Rice's top ten career sluggers are as follows:
    1. 67, Lance Berkman (1995-97)
    2. 59, Bubba Crosby (1996-98)
    3. 43, Jose Cruz Jr. (1993-95)
    4. 42, Eric Arnold (1999-2002)
    T 5. 39, Jay Knoblauh, (1985-88)
    T 5. 39, Aaron Luna (2006-2008)
    7. 37, Damon Thames (1998-99)
    8. 33, Jacques Landry (1995-96)
    9. 32, Enrique Cruz (2001-03)
    10. 31, Anthony Rendon (2009-current)

    Walk This Way
    Here's a quick, but unofficial, look at how some of the NCAA Division I leaders for walks are shaping-up so far this season. At this rate, Anthony Rendon will walk away with the mythical walks crown.
    Rank, Player, Team, BB
    1. Anthony Rendon, Rice, 39
    2. A. J. Kirby-Jones, Tennessee Tech, 33
    3. Michael Choice, Texas-Arlington, 31
    3. Corbin Smith, Texas Southern, 31
    5. Dan Gulbransen, Jacksonville, 30
    5. Kyle Roller, East Carolina, 30
    7. Christopher Auten, New Mexico State, 28
    7. Donnie Corsner, Old Dominion, 26
    7. Taylor Dugas, Alabama, 28
    7. Packy Elkins, Belmont, 28
    7. Chris Epps, Clemson, 28
    7. Brian Harris, Vanderbilt, 28

    Craig "The Man" Manuel
    You read in this space last week that sophomore catcher Craig Manuel has proved to be one of the team's hottest hitters the past few series. That's still the case. Since March 5, Manuel's .417 batting average (20-for-48) is the highest on the team and he's also tied for third in RBI (13). Not only does the receiver from Satellite Beach, Fla., share the second-highest doubles total (four) in the last 20 games, he also has a triple and a home run for a .604 slugging percentage. Manuel is one of the most dependable clutch hitters on the team. This season he is 8-for-20 when batting with runners in scoring position (.400), but now he doesn't need men in scoring position or even on base to win a game. On April 3 vs. Houston Manuel blasted a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift Rice to an 8-7 victory over its crosstown rival.

    The Fuda Fighter
    Sophomore Michael Fuda is also off to a great start, going 42-for-118 with two home runs, three triples and five doubles for a .500 slugging percentage. Fuda has also walked 13 times, been hit by a pitch twice (.429 OB%), and is third on the team lead in runs scored (25). The former two-sport standout from Katy, Tex., began the year with a 13-game hitting streak that dated back to last season.

    Here's Who's Hot
    Junior right fielder Chad Mozingo is 13-for-20 (.650) over the Owls' last five games and the team is 5-0 in that stretch. In addition to a team-leading seven runs scored in the current win streak, Mozingo has clubbed three doubles for an .800 hitting percentage and drawn six walks for a .731 on-base average. He's also driven in three runs and stolen a base... Sophomore outfielder Jeremy Rathjen is 10-for-27 recently (.370) with a home run and two doubles for a .556 slugging percentage. Rathjen's driven in six runs and scored four times in his last five games... Freshman second baseman Michael Ratterree has stepped-up his offensive output as of late. Since March 13 Ratterree is 18-for-52 (.346) with three doubles for a .404 slugging percentage. The local standout from Memorial High School has also scored 16 runs and maintained a .471 on-base percentage in the Owls' last 14 games. Defensively he's started or turned 11 of the team's 13 double plays in that span... Junior shortstop Rick Hague enters the week batting at a .333 pace thanks to hitting safely in 21 of his last 63 at bats. The standout from Klein Collins High School has also knocked two home runs and four doubles during the current stretch for a .492 slugging percentage. In addition to the hot hitting stroke, Hague has unselfishly executed a team-high three sacrifice bunts in the current stretch.

    This & That
    In the April 3 win over Houston, Rice offense matched their second-highest total for walks in a single game this season (11). The Owl hitters also posted their fewest strikeouts total in a game this year (2) - and keep in mind that game went 12 innings. Rice's previous low game total for strikeouts, three, was set the day before in the April 2 win over Houston... In the series finale against UH, senior first baseman Jimmy Comerota recorded a season-high 15 put outs while Rick Hague reached his season-high of seven defensive assists for the third time this year... In the first two games of the UH series, Rice pitchers allowed the Cougars' leadoff batter to reach base safely in only two of the 18 total innings... The Owls have now won the Silver Glove Trophy for their annual series with UH for the tenth year in a row... The Blue & Gray is 14-0 when leading after three innings... For the fashion Dynamo out there, Rice is 7-2 in its all-white uniforms, 5-1 in the pinstripes, 2-7 in all-gray, 1-0 when wearing a blue top with white pants, and 2-2 when wearing a blue top with gray pants.

    For The Record
    After two close losses to Cal to open the four-game series March 11-12, Rice turned the tide and defeated the Golden Bears by a score of 26-11 on March 13. The 26 runs tied for the fifth-highest single-game total in school history and players set a host of team and individual season-highs up and down the batting order. The Owls collected 24 hits on the day, one of the highest marks in school history. Sophomore Anthony Rendon finished with two home runs, including a grand slam, on the way to an eight-RBI afternoon - the most by an Owl since 2002. Shortstop Rick Hague reached base seven consecutive times in the game, a feat that has been accomplished at Rice only three other times. The impressive names on that All-America list includes eventual major leaguers Lance Berkman, Jose Cruz Jr., and Bubba Crosby.

    98th Season Since The Start; 95th Season On The Field
    The 2010 season marks the 98th year since Rice played baseball for the first time. Rice Owls baseball made its debut in the spring of 1913, just one semester after Rice opened its doors for higher education in the fall of 1912. The 2010 season is, however, only the Owls' 95th season on the diamond. The school did not field a baseball team for three years (1933-35) during the Great Depression. Rice returned to the diamond in the spring of 1936 and has been playing ever since.

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

    Owl Newcomers Abound
    Eight new Owls made their Division I debut on the road at Stanford and two more played for the first time in the first home weekend at Reckling Park. Another freshman made his debut against Cal making it 11 new faces who have seen action this year. One newcomer, second baseman Michael Ratterree, hit a home run in his first collegiate at bat and finished the Owls' home tournament with two round-trippers. Like Rendon, he quickly got on the Cardinal radar and was walked five times. Ratterree was the first Rice freshman to homer in his first at bat since Aaron Luna in 2006. One of the freshman pitchers of note is rookie Tyler Duffey, who has 21 strikeouts in 20.2 innings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Anthony Rendon
    , Rice (Sophomore, 3B)

    Todd McInnis, Southern Miss (Junior, rhp)

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

    Welcome Back Rice Baseball Alumni
    HOUSTON -- Over 100 Rice baseball lettermen, from as far back as the 1940s to the recent College World Series teams, were on hand Feb. 6 at Reckling Park as the Rice Owls baseball program celebrated its rich heritage with its biennial Alumni Game... A host of former players, many still playing professionally and some who were in the major leagues in 2009 like Paul Janish and Jeff Niemann, came home to Reckling Park to renew friendships and see old teammates. In an exhibition game between two alumni teams, the former players showed they were still able to bring the heat and swing for the fences like they did when they wore the Blue & Gray... After the alumni had their exhibition game, some of the heavy-hitting pros took on the Owls' young varsity in home run derby. San Diego Padres farmhand Adam Zornes stormed past his alumni teammates Mark Quinn and Jake Baker for the right to meet current all-America slugger Anthony Rendon in the derby's championship round. In the prelims Zornes put on an impressive display with eight homers, including one that sailed over the top of the centerfield screen. It was more of the same in the derby's championship final as Zornes defeated Rendon by a HR count of 7 to 2... After the home run derby, the varsity gave the attending fans a sneak peak at the 2010 Owls with a Blue-Gray scrimmage. It was a fun day for all.
    Baseball Alumni Day Photo Gallery

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