Owls Host Texas Tech Tuesday Night in Televised Game

April 15, 2013

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The Last Meeting
Texas Tech2
March 3, 2012
Minute Maid Park
Baseball Team Tops Texas Tech 6-2 Saturday Night At College Classic
The No. 4 ranked Rice baseball team rallied from an early deficit to claim a 6-2 victory over longtime state rival Texas Tech in Saturday's late game of the annual Houston College Classic downtown at Minute Maid Park.

Apr. 16 (Tues.) 6:30 pm; Texas Tech at Rice, televised by Fox College Sports
GameTracker (activates at game time)

Apr. 19 (Fri.) 6:36 pm; Rice at Houston
Watch the game on the web
GameTracker (activates at game time)

Apr. 20 (Sat.) 12:30 pm; Rice at Houston, televised by Fox Sports Net
Watch the game on the web
GameTracker (activates at game time)

Apr. 21 (Sun.) 1 pm; Rice at Houston
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All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.

Owls Continue Homestand With TV Game Against Texas Tech
The Rice baseball team (25-13) continues its current homestand with one (1) midweek game against longtime rival Texas Tech on Tuesday (6:30 pm) at Reckling Park.

It's Prime T.V. Time Tuesday on Fox College Sports
Tuesday's showdown with the Red Raiders has been selected for a TV broadcast. Fox College Sports , a broadcasting leader in televising collegiate competitions across the country, is bringing the Rice-Texas Tech midweek clash to the nation. Broadcasters Daron Sutton (play-by-play) and former major leaguer Preston Wilson (commentary) have the TV call Tuesday night. Last week the same duo did the opener of the Rice-UCF series Friday from Reckling Park.

Rice Returns To C-USA Action Friday at U.H.
The Owls return to Conference USA league play on Friday (April 19) with one of the longest road trips of the year! Rice visits crosstown rival Houston (25-11 overall, 6-3 C-USA) for three games thru Sunday (Apr. 21). Start times at Cougar Field are set for 6:30 pm on Friday, 12:30 pm on Saturday and 1 pm in Sunday's series finale.

Watch Rice Home Games On OwlVision All Access
Reckling Park home games, and non-televised C-USA 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 15 minutes before each game's first pitch. Fans attending the games, home or away, can now listen to the Rice broadcast at the stadium where the team plays via an FM proximity transmitter. The FM frequencies for the in-stadium broadcasts at Reckling Park will be 99.7 FM. Proximity broadcasts for away games will be announced prior to that game. J.P. Heath returns as the voice of the Owls this season. For some selected home games he will be joined in the Rice broadcast booth by either 2003 national champion letterman Enrique Cruz or Jimmy Baseball, aka letterman and "R" Association Director Jimmy Comerota.



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 • In The Top 25 of Five Different Polls
The Owls are represented in a host of different polls across the country. Here's a closer look at the latest national rankings:

Poll This Week Last Week
College Sports Madness 18 18
Baseball America 22 14
PerfectGame.com 22 15
NCBWA 23 18
USA Today/ESPN 23 20
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 27 21

Rice Baseball's 97th Season On The Field
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 2013 season is, however, only the Owls' 97th 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 1,885 - 1,502- 9.

Head Coach Wayne Graham
Four-time national coach of the year and 2012 College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Graham (Texas, 1970) is in his 22nd season at Rice. The 2013 campaign marks his 33rd year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 978-393 with the Owls (588-143 at home, 299-193 in road games and 91-57 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .713, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .713 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 as follows: 20-16 vs. Texas Tech (6-4 home, 4-8 road, 10-4 neutral)... 77-26 vs. Houston (43-8 home, 31-18 road, 3-0 neutral)... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2012, making 18-straight seasons for Rice to earn an NCAA appearance. The Blue & Gray has advanced into the NCAA tournament in 1995-96-97-98-99-00-01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09-10-11-12. 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, 2011 and 2012 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, `10 and `11... 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 Patrick Hallmark (Rice, 1995, Brown College; eighth year), Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; second year) and Scott Shepperd (Concordia, 2007; first year)... On game days Van Hook coaches at third base while Shepperd coaches at first base.

1,552 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 978 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,552 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,552-506 in a 32-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Probable Rice Pitcher
Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitcher for Tuesday's game against Texas Tech as junior right-hander Austin Kubitza (4-2, 1.46). The remaining pitcher(s) for the Texas Tech series, as well as the weekend games against the University of Houston, will be announced by Coach Graham at a later time.

Here's Who's Hot
In the month of April (eight games) senior Michael Ratterree is 10-of-24 for a .417 batting average. He's also drawn 12 walks for a .579 on-base percentage, recorded a team-best eight RBI, scored eight times, stolen two bases, had three sacrifice bunts and two sac flies. Ratterree hit the 24th home run of his career Sunday in the win over UCF... April has also been pretty good for Christian Stringer. The senior second baseman is 12-for-35 (.343) with seven walks for a .442 on-base percentage. He also has three doubles and a team-high nine runs scored in eight games... Junior designated hitter Michael Aquino has gone 9-for-his-last-23 (.391) with three doubles and a triple for a .609 slugging percentage. He also has five RBI and four runs scored in the last five games... Keep an eye on junior third baseman Shane Hoelscher. On April 9 he returned to the starting lineup for the first time in six weeks and promptly hit .357 (5-for-14) while recording a pair of sac bunts and scoring three times.

Previous Outing: Owls Defeat UCF Sunday In series Finale, 7-6
HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team made the game-saving play at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 7-6 Conference USA victory over visiting UCF Sunday in the finale of the three-game weekend series Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park in Houston... The Owls had rallied from a 4-0 deficit to take a 7-4 lead into the final two frames. UCF chipped away for one run in the eighth and was staging a two-out rally of its own in the top of the ninth. JoMarcos Woods hit a two-out single to left-center and James Vasquez doubled down the right field line to put men on second and third... Erik Hempe followed with a ground-ball up the middle of the field that was just too far for a lunging Rice shortstop Ford Stainback to field. Woods was able to score easily and Hempe reached first safely, but the play wasn't quite finished... Stainback deflected the ball to his teammate at second base, Christian Stringer, who was instinctively charging to his right for the ground ball up the middle. Stringer alertly fielded the Stainback deflection, and rifled a throw to the plate where the Knights were hustling home in an attempt to tie the game by scoring a second run... Stringer's throw was on-target and Rice freshman catcher Hunter Kopycinski applied the tag on the sliding UCF runner for the final out of the game and a 7-6 final score. The Owls improved to 25-13 overall and 7-5 in C-USA league play. UCF is now 20-17 on the year and 6-6 in C-USA action... "It was a saving play," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "UCF had already won the first two (games of the series) and they had the mindset to win another one. They played hard and played well all weekend."... "Of course it's critical to get a conference win, and it was good to have that big-inning to come-back and take the lead," coach Graham added. "We have got to be able to take advantage of (offensive) opportunities earlier in the game. We will have to pitch better than what we showed this weekend, no question."... UCF was first on the scoreboard in the top of the third. The Knights had a hit and took advantage of a Rice fielding miscue for a 1-0 advantage... The Knights used the longball to build a 4-0 advantage midway thru the sixth. In the top of the fourth, Chris Taladay led off with a base hit and scored on a one-out home run to left field by Jeramy Matos. Erik Hempe then led off the sixth with a solo home run to left-center field... Rice followed suit. In the bottom of the sixth senior Michael Ratterree led off with a solo home run to left-center field. His second round-tripper of the season cut the margin to 4-1... The Blue & Gray then batted around to erupt for six runs on four hits in the bottom of the seventh and move in front 7-4. The big blows were a bases-loaded single up the middle by Shane Hoelscher that scored two, and a base hit to the right side by Keenan Cook that drove in two more... UCF continued to battle, and chipped away with another run in the eighth. With two away, Matos connected on a pitch for his second home run of the day that made the score 7-5.

Rice 12th In Average Home Attendance
Through 20 home games Rice has averaged close to 3,300 fans at Reckling Park. The Owls are 12th in the nation in average home attendance. Here are the latest national attendance leaders (by home average).
1. LSU 10,754
2. Arkansas 8,061
3. Ole Miss 7,853
4. South Carolina 7,251
5. Mississippi State 6,946
6. Texas 5,848
7. Clemson 4,780
8. Florida State 4,612
9. Texas A&M 4,509
10. Florida 3,536
11. TCU 3,477
12. Rice 3,299

Rice Also 15th In Total Home Attendance
Rice baseball has drawn almost 66,000 fans for 20 home games. That's also the 15th highest attendance total in the country.

Postseason Streak At 18-Straight, Looking For 19
The Rice baseball program's 18-straight appearances in the NCAA Baseball Championship is the fourth-longest active streak in the country. Miami (Fla.) has made the field for the 40 consecutive years, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (35) and Cal State Fullerton (21). Rice's 18-straight NCAA Tournament appearances is the sixth-longest national postseason streak in Division I history.

Conference Championship Streak At 17-Straight
Rice has won or shared a total of 17-straight conference championships (including either regular season and/or conference tournament titles) dating back to 1996. The streak covers the Owls' membership in three different leagues beginning with the Southwest Conference (1996), to nine seasons in the Western Athletic Conference (1997-2005) and seven Conference USA titles in as many years... In 2012 Rice won the C-USA regular season championship on the last day of the league's 24-game schedule. The Owls and UCF were tied for first in the C-USA standings heading into the final game of the season. The Blue & Gray clipped the Knights 5-2 to welcome the program's 17th championship to the family.

18-Straight 40-Win Seasons
Rice has clinched 18-straight seasons with at least 40 wins. `Forty' wins actually short-changes the feat a little. The Owls have secured at least 41 wins in 17 of the last 18 years.

Six TV Games This Season
HOUSTON - Four additional Rice baseball home games have been picked up for a television broadcast by Fox College Sports, the Rice Athletics Department announced, bringing remaining season total TV games to six... Fox College Sports (FCN), a leader in televising some of the nation's top collegiate events, added Rice baseball games vs. UCF, Texas Tech, Memphis and Marshall to its spring broadcast slate. All are Owl home games at Reckling Park, a venue that hosted no less than eight nationally-televised games last season. There will be no significant changes to the start time for any of the four games on FCN... Rice baseball has already a number of its games on TV this season. All three games from the Astros Foundation Classic at Minute Maid Park were televised taped-delayed. In February three of the Owls' games played at Hawaii were televised lived throughout the 50th state. The Conference USA opener against Tulane, and an upcoming one against Houston, are on Fox Sports Net. Rice's six TV games are as follows:
March 28 (Thur.) Fox Sports Net; (Rice def. Tulane 4-2)
April 12 (Fri.) Fox College Sports; (UCF def. Rice 5-1)
April 16 (Tue.) Texas Tech at Rice, 6:30 pm - Fox College Sports
April 20 (Sat.) Rice at Houston, 12:30 pm - Fox Sports Net
May 10 (Fri.) Memphis at Rice, 6:30 pm - Fox College Sports
May 16 (Thur.) Marshall at Rice, 6:30 pm - Fox College Sports

Kubitza & Stringer Garner National Preseason Honors
WICHITA, Kan. - The veteran Rice duo of junior Austin Kubitza and senior Christian Stringer have been tabbed as 2013 preseason All-America selections by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association of America (NCBWA), the organization announced from its headquarters in Wichita Kan... Kubitza and Stringer were both named to the NCBWA's preseason All-America second team as a starting pitcher and second baseman, respectively. The Owl duo helped Rice go 41-19 last season, claim the Conference USA regular season championship and host an NCAA Regional at Reckling Park... In his first season of Division I baseball after transferring from Navarro College, Stringer took C-USA by storm. The junior second baseman batted a team-leading .343 in 59 starts, and he maintained a .389 average in C-USA league games. Stringer also led the team and ranked among the conference leaders in hits (81), runs (58) and on-base percentage (.448). The Longview, Tex., native was second in walks (38) and steals (6), but his defense might have made the biggest impact to the Owls. Stringer maintained a .978 fielding percentage at second base where he turned or started 35 of the Owls' 46 double plays... A year ago Kubitza finished with a 6-5 record and he was second on the staff in ERA (2.69), innings pitched (80.1) and strikeouts (73). The right-hander from Colleyville, Tex., shared the team lead in starts (15) and he held all opposing hitters to an austere .211 batting average. He was named the C-USA Freshman of the Year after his first Division I season in 2011.

The C-USA Favorites
IRVING, Tex. - With three preseason all-conference players, including the duo of junior Austin Kubitza and Christian Stringer as the 2013 Preseason Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively, 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... Stringer and Kubitza (season info provided above) are joined by fellow Owl Michael Ratterree on the preseason All-Conference USA team, giving Rice a league-high-tying three selections. Ratterree posted a .407 slugging percentage last season with 20 extra-base hits (13 doubles, one triple and six home runs). The local standout from Memorial High School drew a team-high 42 walks, giving him a .378 on-base percentage. He also drove in 33 runs and unselfishly moved to a new defensive position in the outfield to better-help the team... Under the direction of head coach Wayne Graham Rice returns four of the nine starters in the batting order and a host of veteran pitchers from a year ago. The Owls also have a highly-touted group of incoming freshmen players making their Division I debut this spring. •

2013 PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS (as selected by C-USA's head coaches)
1. Rice
2. Southern Miss (1)
3. East Carolina
4. UCF
5. Tulane (1)
6. Memphis
7. Houston
8. UAB
9. Marshall
(first place votes in parentheses)

Christian Stringer, Rice (Senior, Infielder)

Austin Kubitza, Rice (Junior, Right-hander)

P Austin Kubitza, Jr., Rice
P Sam Moll, Jr. Memphis
P Andrew Pierce, Sr., Southern Miss
RP Bradley Roney, So., Southern Miss
C Ryan Breen, Sr. UCF
IF Garrett Cannizaro, Sr., Tulane
IF Brennan Middleton, Sr., Tulane
IF Jack Reinheimer, Jr., East Carolina
IF Christian Stringer, Sr., Rice
IF Chris Taladay, Sr., UCF
OF Landon Appling, Jr., Houston
OF Brandon Boudreaux, Sr., Tulane
OF Michael Ratterree, Sr., Rice
OF Mason Robbins, So., Southern Miss
DH/UT Drew Reynolds, Jr., East Carolina

Rice Since 1999
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 one of the nation's top win percentages over the last 14 years. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999 to 2012: (These totals do NOT include games played in 2013).
Team, Wins-Loses-Ties (Pct.)
Florida State, 701-244-1 (.742)
Rice, 676-240-0 (.738)
Coastal Carolina, 615-253-0 (.709)
North Carolina, 635-262-1 (.708)
Oral Roberts, 599-249-0 (.706)
Texas, 644-269-1 (.705)
South Carolina, 661-281-0 (.702)
Arizona State, 567-244-1 (.699)
Cal State Fullerton, 615-265-0 (.699)
Miami, 601-269-3 (.690)
Wichita State, 633-301-0 (.678)
Georgia Tech, 589-281-1 (.677)
LSU, 605-294-5 (.672)
Stanford, 568-292-2 (.660)
Tulane, 570-295-2 (.659)
Nebraska, 562-291-2 (.658)
Clemson, 601-316-1 (.655)
East Carolina, 555-295-1 (.653)
Notre Dame, 542-298-5 (.644)
Florida, 564-320-2 (.638)

Five For The Show
The Owls' list of major league players for 2013 includes Lance Berkman (Rangers), Philip Humber (Astros), Paul Janish (Braves), Lucas Luetge (Mariners) and Jeff Niemann (Rays).

Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion dynamo out there, Rice is 10-5 in its all-white uniforms, 4-3 in the pinstripes, 6-3 in all-gray, 4-1 in blue tops with white pants and 1-1 in blue tops with gray pants.



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