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Owls Return To The Road For C-USA Weekend Series At Tulane

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April 7, 2010

(All times listed are Central)

April 9 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Rice at Tulane
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April 10 (Sat.) 2 pm; Rice at Tulane
KTRU (91.7 FM) & Internet audio Listen Here
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April 11 (Sun.) 1 pm; Rice at Tulane
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Internet features activate at game time.

Owls Return To The Road For C-USA Weekend Series At Tulane
The Rice baseball team, 17-13 overall and tied for first place in the Conference USA standings with a 4-2 league record, returns to the road for a three-game weekend series at league foe Tulane Friday through Sunday (April 9-11). Game times with the Green Wave (20-10, 4-2 C-USA) are set for 6:30 pm, 2 pm and 1 pm, respectively.

A Taxing Stretch Ahead
Rice is on the road this weekend (facing a Green Wave team that just took two-of-three from nationally-ranked East Carolina), but that's only part of the story. The Owls are away from the friendly confines of Reckling Park for eight of their next nine games. The Blue & Gray is in fact coming up on a stretch of the schedule where the team is slated to play five games in six days. That grueling pace continues into the following week where the Owls play nine games in 12 days - all but one of which will be on the road.

 

 

Friday & Saturday Games on KTRU Radio (91.7 FM)
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 on the radio in the Houston area on campus station KTRU (91.7 FM). The Rice broadcasting tag-team this season is J.P. Heath and David Brady.

Watch The Games On-Line
All the games this weekend are slated for a live on-line video broadcast. Access for this subscription-based service is available at the above links and activates at game time..

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
PGCrosschecker.com
Rivals.com

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 847-330 with the Owls (517-113 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. Tulane is 18-3 (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 1,422-443 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 pitching rotation for the Tulane series as sophomore Taylor Wall (lhp, 1-4, 4.43) on Friday and senior Mike Ojala (rhp, 1-0, 7.20) on Saturday. Rice's third starter of the series will be announced at a later time.

  • In 2009 Taylor Wall went 7-6 with a 3.72 ERA while in his first season of Division I baseball. The 6-foot-2 left-hander from Houston (Westside High School) had worked his way into a regular spot in the Owls' weekend rotation and eventually led the staff in starts (15), innings pitched (94.1) and strikeouts (77). He was particularly strong in the postseason where he maintained a 2.05 ERA and a .167 opponents' batting average in four appearances. Wall was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Houston Regional after firing a sensational three-hit, complete game shutout to defeat Kansas State and setup a one-game final for the Regional championship. He also blanked Marshall with a 7.0-inning shutout to earn selection to the C-USA All-Tournament team... Wall was tabbed as the starting pitcher on Opening Day at Stanford and struck out three in 3.0 innings of work. He also battled No. 3 ranked Texas in a start at the Houston College Classic on Mar. 5, scattering just five hits while striking out a season-high eight Longhorns in a season-long 7.1 innings... Last week Wall started the opening game of the Houston series and fired the program's first complete game one-hit shutout since 2001. For his effort Wall shared the C-USA Pitcher of the Week honors. He has 109 career strikeouts in 137.0 collegiate innings.
  • Veteran Mike Ojala has worked hard to come back from an injury last summer to help his teammates in this, his senior season. The standout from Kingwood, Tex., is 1-0 in four appearances this season, including starting assignments in a road game at Lamar (Mar. 30) and against crosstown rival Houston last Saturday (April 3). In 2010 he's allowed seven hits and struck out four in 5.0 innings. Each of "O's" appearances have been limited to a specific number of pitches. Ojala's been brilliant in his Rice career. In 40 collegiate appearances he's 13-0 with a 3.65 ERA. Ojala's registered 151 career strikeouts in 138.0 innings of work.
  • Tulane announced its rotation as Conrad Flynn (rhp, 3-2, 3.14), Robby Broach (rhp, 5-0, 3.40) and Gunner Wright (rhp, 2-1, 3.19), respectively.

    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: Owls Fall To Dallas Baptist 7-6 Tuesday Night At Reckling Park
    Rice coach Wayne Graham, who turned 74 on Tuesday, is fond of telling a joke that represents one core philosophy of his exceptional program. Graham has instructed his players on numerous occasions that if they are rounding third base on a hit to the outfield and they do not see a stop sign from whoever is coaching in the third-base box, they are to proceed. Even if Graham has a heart attack and dies on the field, the runner should continue unabated to home plate for when Graham greets Saint Peter at the gates of heaven, he'll ask if that runner scored... Graham attempted to insert some levity into the proceedings following an unfortunate 7-6 loss to Dallas Baptist at Reckling Park, a setback that featured a woeful start to the game, several odd approaches at the plate, and a base-running gaffe that went against a fundamental tenet of the program... Owls freshman second baseman Michael Ratterree, who produced a brilliant effort at the plate despite shoulder discomfort, hesitated and stumbled while rounding third in the seventh and was thrown out at home trying to score from first base on a RBI double by Jeremy Rathjen. Ratterree (3-for-4 with a walk, two runs and an RBI single) appeared unsure of the situation even as he received the green light from Owls assistant Mike Taylor, and he was retired for the final out of the frame... "The rule is no matter what happens, if you're not stopped by the third-base coach you keep running, even if he doesn't wave you home," Graham said. "As long as he doesn't stop you, you run. I just told the joke again."... That miscue was but one of several, and Ratterree can rest comfortably knowing that he contributed disproportionately to the offensive output. Rice (17-13) not only opened the game flat, it couldn't muster more than one run in any inning despite the shaky pitching posted by the Patriots (17-12) prior to the contest. Dallas Baptist sported an ERA of 6.47 and opponents were hitting a robust .295 against its staff, but the Owls managed a multi-hit frame just twice - the first and ninth innings... In a most unusual turn of events, the Owls' most prolific hitter, sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon, didn't deliver with runners in scoring position on either occasion. He rolled a ground ball to Patriots shortstop Austin Elkins with Rathjen on second in the first, and with Jimmy Comerota representing the tying run at second and Rathjen the winning run at first, Rendon hit a soft liner to Dallas Baptist first baseman Ryan Behmanesh to close the game. Rendon finished 0-for-5, marking the second time in 30 games he failed to reach via a hit or walk... Want more statistical oddities? Owls right fielder Chad Mozingo entered the game on a 16-for-29 tear over the last seven games, but finished 0-for-5 including two puzzling attempts to bunt his way on in the first and fifth. When the Owls needed Mozingo to bunt Comerota into scoring position in the ninth, he fouled off a changeup before later striking out... Ratterree and Rathjen (3-for-5, three RBIs) essentially supplied the offense. Shortstop Rick Hague smacked a solo homer off Patriots closer Jared Stafford, who notched his third save, in the eighth and Comerota had an RBI single in the ninth that scored pinch runner Michael Fuda, but Rice was largely quiet at the plate on the heels of a sizzling streak... "We came out flat," Rathjen said. "We battled back but it wasn't enough... You've definitely got to give a lot of credit to Dallas Baptist - they pitched well. But I think we could have hit much better."... The Owls' pitching in the first inning left plenty to be desired. Sophomore righthander Matthew Reckling (1-1) failed to retired any of the four batters he faced, walking the bases loaded before plunking Ryan Enos to force home the first run. Freshman lefthander Holt McNair started warming in the bullpen after Reckling walked the first hitter he faced, but McNair was greeted rudely upon his entrance when Behmanesh lined the first pitch from McNair over the wall in left for a grand slam and a 5-0 lead with zero outs. Chris Haney tacked on a two-run double off senior righthander Mark Haynes in the third, but from that point the Owls' pitchers held the line and awaited the comeback... Alas, with a riveting sweep of rival Houston fresh in their memories and a critical Conference USA series at Tulane upcoming, the Owls easily played the role of victims to this trap game. Even still, they almost won... "We had our opportunities, despite ourselves," Graham said. "We had a chance to win the game late." -- 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.

    Eyes On Rendon
    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-97 (.320) with 11 home runs and four doubles for a .701 slugging percentage. Surely Rendon has more than 97 official at bats in 30 games? No. The Owl slugger has already been walked 39 times and hit by a pitch twice for a .511 on-base percentage. He hit his eleventh homer of the season, and the 31st of his career (a grand slam in fact), last weekend against Houston. On Mar. 3 at Texas State Rendon batted leadoff for the first time in his Rice career and drew three walks with a run-scored. 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. He also has been known to bring fans to their feet with some spectacular defensive plays.

    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 home run hitters 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. Corbin Smith, Texas Southern, 35
    3. A. J. Kirby-Jones, Tennessee Tech, 33
    4. Michael Choice, Texas-Arlington, 32
    5. Dan Gulbransen, Jacksonville, 31
    5. Brian Harris, Vanderbilt, 31
    7. Kyle Roller, East Carolina, 30
    7. Taylor Dugas, Alabama, 30
    9. Packy Elkins, Belmont, 28
    9. Logan Vick, Baylor, 28
    9. Christopher Auten, New Mexico State, 28
    9. Donnie Corsner, Old Dominion, 26
    9. Chris Epps, Clemson, 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 month. That's still the case. Since March 5, Manuel's .385 batting average (20-for-52) is the highest on the team and he's also tied for fourth in RBI (13). Not only does the receiver from Satellite Beach, Fla., share the third-highest doubles total (four) in the last 21 games, he also has a triple and a home run for a .558 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 (26). 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
    Sophomore outfielder Jeremy Rathjen is 13-for-28 recently (.464) with a home run and four doubles for a .714 slugging percentage. Rathjen's driven in nine runs and scored four times in his last six games... Junior Rick Hague enters the weekend batting at a .381 pace thanks to a recent 8-for-21 stretch. The standout from Klein Collins High School has also knocked a home run and a double for a .571 slugging percentage. The veteran shortstop has stolen two bases and scored six times in the Owls' last six games... Junior right fielder Chad Mozingo is 13-for-25 (.520) over the Owls' last six games and the team is 5-1 in that stretch. In addition to seven runs scored in the current stretch, Mozingo has clubbed three doubles for an .640 hitting percentage and drawn six walks for a .613 on-base average. He's also driven in three runs and stolen a base... Freshman second baseman Michael Ratterree has stepped-up his offensive output as of late. Since March 13 Ratterree is 21-for-56 (.375) with four doubles for a .446 slugging percentage. The local standout from Memorial High School has also scored 18 runs and maintained a .493 on-base percentage in the Owls' last 15 games. Defensively he's started or turned 13 of the team's 15 double plays in that span... Don't look now but senior first baseman Jimmy Comerota is hitting at a .320 clip (16-for-50) the last three weeks. Comerota has knocked a home run, two triples and a double (.480 slugging) and he's drawn 11 walks (.446 OB%) while scoring 15 times in the last 15 games.

    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 7-3 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 23 strikeouts in 21.2 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).

    2010 PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS
    (as selected by C-USA's head coaches)

    PLAYER OF THE YEAR
    Anthony Rendon
    , Rice (Sophomore, 3B)

    PITCHER OF THE YEAR
    Todd McInnis, Southern Miss (Junior, rhp)

    ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
    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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