Apr. 13 (Fri.) 1:05 pm; Rice at Marshall Watch it on the web GameTracker (activates at game time)
Apr. 14 (Sat.) 1:05 pm; Rice at Marshall Watch it on the web GameTracker (activates at game time)
Apr. 15 (Sun.) 9:05 am; Rice at Marshall Watch it on the web GameTracker (activates at game time)
All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.
Owls Meet Marshall Friday In Charleston, West Virginia
The No. 9 ranked Rice baseball team, 24-11 overall and 6-3 in Conference USA, returns to C-USA league play with a three-game road series against Marshall April 13-15 in Charleston, West Virginia. Game times against the Thundering Herd (13-19, 1-5) are slated for 1:05 pm on both Friday and Saturday. Sunday's series finale begins at 9:05 am. All times listed are Central Time.
Watch Rice 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.
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.
Live Stats On GameTracker
Live play-by-play text and statistics from every game will be posted on RiceOwls.com. Look for the GameTracker links on the Rice Athletics front page, the weekly series preview, or the baseball schedule page.
National Ranking Update Rice No. 9
Rice was ranked in the Top 10 of a host of different polls to start the 2012 campaign. Here's a closer look at the latest rankings:
Rice University Centennial; 96th Season On The Baseball Field
Rice University is celebrating its centennial in 2012. Rice Owl baseball made its debut in the spring of 1913, just one semester after the school (then The Rice Institute) opened its doors for higher education in the fall of 1912. The 2012 season is, however, only the Owls' 96th season playing on the diamond. The school cancelled its baseball season in 1919 and did not field a team for three years (1933-35) during the Great Depression. Rice returned to the diamond in the spring of 1936 and has been playing ever since... The Rice baseball program's all-time record is 1,843 - 1,481- 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 936-372 with the Owls (565-132 at home, 281-188 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: 18-2 vs. Marshall (8-1 home, 8-1 away, 2-0 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.
1,510 Wins A Baseball Odyssey Wayne Graham owns 936 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,510 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,510-485 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 Pitchers Wayne Graham announced the first two probable starting Owl pitchers to face Marshall as the right-handed duo of senior Matthew Reckling (5-0, 1.87) and sophomore Austin Kubitza (3-3, 4.54), respectively. Coach Graham will announce the starting pitcher for Sunday's game 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 a brilliant complete game three-hit shutout effort at Memphis (March 23). He has now struck out 63 in 53.0 innings and held opposing batters to a composite .163 average. Reckling's next start would be his 29th as an Owl. His all-time Rice record in 56 career appearances is 12-4, and he is the career strikeouts leader among active players with 206.
There was a steady stream of preseason honors for Austin Kubitza, a third team 2012 preseason All-America selection by both Collegiate Baseball magazine and the College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). In nine appearances this season, including eight times as the starting pitcher, Kubitza is 3-3 with a 4.54 ERA. He's struck out 28 batters in 35.2 innings of work. The Colleyville, Tex., native has held all opposing hitters to a composite .222 batting average. So far in 2012 Kubitza has faced a rugged slate of opponents that includes four teams coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance, including Stanford, Texas, Florida International and Dallas Baptist.
Marshall announced its weekend rotation as sophomore right-hander Aaron Blair (1-5, 4.91) on Friday, and senior left-hander Mike Mason (3-4, 3.56) on Saturday. The Thundering Herd will announce Sunday's starting pitcher at a later time.
Previous Outing: Rice Rallies Past Texas State Tuesday Night At Reckling Park
HOUSTON - Junior Jeremy Rathjen knocked a bases-loaded triple to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning to help rally the Rice baseball team to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over visiting Texas State Tuesday night at Reckling Park in Houston... Texas State built a 5-1 lead early in the contest but the Owls whittled the margin down to two, 5-3, to start the seventh. Owl freshman Ford Stainback was safe at first when the Bobcats had trouble fielding the ball in the infield. J.T. Chargois drew a walk and Christian Stringer was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Rathjen, the Rice's clean-up hitter and homerun leader... The Houston native lined a Texas State pitch into right field to clear the bases and give the Owls their first lead of the night, 6-5. In the top of the eighth, Chargois moved from the starting designated hitter to reliever with the task of keeping the Bobcats in check for the next two frames. The Owls held on for the 6-5 final for their second-straight win heading into a C-USA series at Marshall this weekend... "It's about time we got a big hit, and Jeremy got a huge hit to drive in three runs," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "We still could do a better (batting) with runners in scoring position, but the relievers threw well, and obviously (Tyler) Duffey threw extremely well. Chargois got through his two innings. The bullpen won the game along with Jeremy. Winning a game like this against a good team will hopefully help your RPI (ratings power index) and keep some momentum going."... Texas State had some momentum early Tuesday night. The Bobcats moved in front 1-0 in the top of the first inning without a base hit. The Owls hit the leadoff batter who proceeded to move around the stations before finally scoring on a wild pitch... The Owls tied the game in the bottom of the second. Shane Hoelscher reached first on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on Ryan Lewis' single to right before scoring on the second of Stainback's three base hits... The Bobcats scored four runs on just one hit in the top of the third to take a 5-1 advantage. Rice walked in a run with the bases-loaded before Cody Lovejoy hit a two-out double to score three more... Rice continued to fight. Stainback singled-home Keenan Cook for a run in the fourth that made it 5-2. Christian Stringer led off the fifth with a double, moved to third on a Rathjen single and scored on a grounder to the right side that brought the margin to 5-3... The Owls regrouped at the top of the order to start the seventh. Rathjen had already collected two hits in the game at that point and he was simply looking for another chance to help the team... "I was just trying to hit the ball hard all game," Rathjen said. "We know we have good hitters on this team and we've all been working pretty hard on manufacturing some runs. We'll keep working and keep the focus up. All the games are very important."... When the Owls were on the comeback trail, Tyler Duffey was on the mound keeping Texas State within striking distance. The standout from Bellaire High School fired 3.0 scoreless frames, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out four to earn his first win of the season. Chargois notched his team-leading sixth save with 2.0 scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and a walk while striking out two... With the victory Rice improved to 23-11 on the season. Texas State is now 21-11 overall.
Here's Who's Hot
Not only is new second baseman Christian Stringer second on the team in hitting with a .382 average, the junior transfer is also batting a steady .438 (14-of-32) over the team's last 12 games. On April 3 Stringer saw his 17-game hitting streak come to an end, but he has bounced back to go 5-of-13 with four runs scored in the last three games. This season the Longview, Tex., native owns a .518 slugging percentage and a .461 on-base average (thanks to 21 walks). Stringer has also maintained a .984 fielding percentage and turned or started 22 of the Owls' 30 double plays. He has not made an error in the field in his last 143 defensive chances dating back to Feb. 25... Over the last 13 games freshman Ford Stainback is now 15-for-36 (.417) with 10 walks for a .543 on-base average. He's scored 11 times and made a total of nine starts (at two different positions) in the current 13-game stretch... Steady as ever, Jeremy Rathjen is batting .407 (24-for-59) over the last 15 games to raise his season average to a team-leading .382. Rathjen has eight doubles, a triple and home run in his last 15 games to go along with 12 RBI, 10 runs scored, seven walks and four stolen bases... Geoff Perrott has hit well coming off the bench and in spot starts the last two weeks. The junior catcher is now 4-for-his-last-9 with three doubles, four runs scored, and a pair of walks for a .545 on-base percentage... Designated hitter Michael Aquino has hit safely three times and drawn a walk in his last four at bats. He hit his first double of the season Friday night at Tulane.
Did You Know?
The Owls are 23-0 when leading after the seventh inning. Credit some solid late-inning work by the Rice bullpen, including relievers Tyler Duffey, John Simms, Taylor Wall and J.T. Chargois, as a few of the key contributors to the team's success.
Record At 35 Games
Rice is 24-11, the team's best record through 35 games since a 26-9 ledger in 2009. That 2009 Owl squad began the year 26-9 on the way to a 43-18 season that included the C-USA Tournament Championship and NCAA Regional Championship.
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
The C-USA Favorites
IRVING, Tex. - With four preseason all-conference honorees the Rice baseball team was picked to finish first in the league in the annual Conference USA head coaches' poll, the C-USA office announced on Jan. 26. Rice returns 22 experienced lettermen to the roster in 2012, including eight returning starters in the field and a host of veteran pitchers. The Owls have a highly-touted group of incoming freshmen players making their Division I debut this spring. The Owls were ranked sixth in Baseball America's preseason poll and seventh by Collegiate Baseball.
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Rice (8)
2. UCF (1)
3. East Carolina
4. Southern Miss
(first place votes in parentheses)
2012 CONFERENCE USA PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS
(as selected by C-USA's head coaches)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
D.J. Hicks, UCF (Junior, Designated Hitter/Pitcher)
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 rain, 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 11-3 in its all-white uniforms, 4-3 in the pinstripes, 1-0 in blue tops with white pants, 7-2 in all-gray and 1-3 in blue tops with gray pants.
The Owls are at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, West Virginia, but the stretch of road games doesn't end there. The road swing continues into the following week when Owls play at Texas A&M on April 17 (Tues.). First pitch with the Aggies is set for 6:35 pm in College Station.
2012 C-USA Championship Tickets Now On Sale
IRVING, Texas - 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.