April 18, 2013
All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.
Silver Glove Trophy on the Line as Owls Return To C-USA Action Friday At UH
The Rice baseball team (26-13, 7-5) returns to Conference USA league play on Friday (April 19) with one of the longest road trips of the year! Rice visits crosstown rival Houston (26-11 overall and in first place in the C-USA standings at 6-3) 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.
It's T.V. Time Saturday on Fox Sports Net
Saturday's second game of the Houston series has been selected for a TV broadcast. Fox Sports Net , a broadcasting leader in televising collegiate competitions across the country, is bringing the Rice-Houston crosstown clash to the nation. Broadcasters Bruce Howard (play-by-play) and former major leaguer Pat Combs (commentary) have the TV call Saturday afternoon. Last month the same duo did the opener of the Rice-Tulane series from Reckling Park.
Watch C-USA Games On OwlVision All Access
Most C-USA games, home or away, 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|
|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 1,886 - 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 979-393 with the Owls (589-143 at home, 299-193 in road games and 91-57 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .714, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .714 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: 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.
1,553 Wins A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 979 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,553 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,553-506 in a 32-year coaching career that began in 1981.
Probable Rice Pitchers
Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitching rotation for the Houston series as the right-handed duo of sophomore Jordan Stephens (4-2, 2.57) and junior Austin Kubitza (5-2, 1.36). Sunday's starter will be announced by coach Graham at a later time.
Houston announced its first two starting pitchers of the weekend as right-handers Daniel Poncedeleon (4-3, 4.28) and Austin Pruitt (7-2, 1.99), respectively.
Here's Who's Hot
In the month of April (nine games) senior Michael Ratterree is 12-of-28 for a .429 batting average. He's also drawn 12 walks for a .558 on-base percentage, recorded a team-best 11 RBI, scored ten times, stolen two bases, had three sacrifice bunts and three sac flies. Ratterree hit the 25th home run of his career Tuesday night in the win over Texas Tech... Junior designated hitter Michael Aquino has gone 11-for-his-last-26 (.423) with three doubles and a triple for a .615 slugging percentage. He also has five RBI and four runs scored in the last six games... Keep an eye on junior third baseman Shane Hoelscher. On April 9 the Belton, Tex., native returned to the starting lineup for the first time in six weeks. In his last four games he's hit .400 (6-for-15) with a .471 on-base percentage, driven in four runs, scored three times and had a sac bunt... The Owls are 2-0 with freshman leadoff batter Leon Byrd going 3-for-7 (.429) and getting on base a .600 clip over the last two games... Junior Keenan Cook has raised his average ten points thanks to his recent 5-for-13 stretch (.385) where he slugged a triple and had a stolen base... Freshman Connor Teykl made a spot start at first base Tuesday night against Texas Tech and promptly went 3-for-3 with a walk. He's officially 4-for-his-last-6 (.667) with a double, an RBI and run scored.
Previous Outing: Owls Thump Texas Tech 11-2 Tuesday Night at Home
HOUSTON - Senior Michael Ratterree drove in three runs with a double and a home run in a 13-hit attack, and five Owl pitchers combined to hold visiting Texas Tech to just two hits as the Rice baseball team coasted to an 11-2 win over the Red Raiders Tuesday night at Reckling Park in Houston... The Rice was firing on all cylinders for both hitting and pitching. The offense notched the team's second-highest run total of the season on double-digit hits. The Owls got in-gear quickly with three runs in the bottom of the second inning and kept the pressure coming by scoring in four-straight innings during one stretch... The Owl pitchers were just as sharp where, by design, five pitchers got to work in the team's lone midweek game before returning to Conference USA league play on Friday night (April 19). Junior Austin Kubitza started on the mound and faced 12 Texas Tech batters in 4.0 scoreless innings... He and freshman Kevin McCanna, who pitched the next two innings, had held the Red Raiders hitless for the first 6.0 frames. It was the kind of performance Rice head coach Wayne Graham had wanted to see at a critical stage of the season... "We had a very good day with the bat and I was really happy with how we pitched," coach Graham said. "Tonight I thought we hit and pitched like we're capable of doing, and it was good to see it in the same game."... "Mike really stood out," Graham added. "He had a big two-run home run in his second at bat after he had already had a double in his first. I love the way he has been driving the ball the last few weeks... "Austin did exactly what we wanted," the head coach said. "He threw strikes and was able to throw four hitless innings in less than 50 pitches. We knew going in we wanted to use a number of different pitchers. We did, and they were fine. We played a lot of hitters too, so we had a lot of guys get in the game tonight. It was a very good game for us."... Things started looking good as early as the second inning. After Keenan Cook tripled with one away and scored on a ground out, the Blue & Gray strung together a two-out rally. Ratterree and Geoff Perrott knocked back-to-back doubles, and Connor Teykl followed with the first of his three hits for an RBI and a 3-0 Owl lead... In the fourth Shane Hoelscher walked and Ratterree connected with a homer to left field. His third round-tripper of the season, and second in as many games, stretched the margin to 5-0. The Owls then proceeded to add three more in the fifth, one in the sixth and two more in the seventh for the team's largest scoring output since March 20 (11 runs vs. UTSA). Ratterree went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Teykl was 3-for-3 with a walk while Perrott and Michael Aquino both had two hits each... After Kubitza and McCanna accounted for Rice's first 6.0 innings on the mound, the final three were pitched by Evan Rutter, Chase McDowell and Matt Ditman, respectively. Texas Tech had two hits, but scored both its runs in the top of sixth without getting any hits... Eric Gutierrez led off with a walk and advanced to second on a Rice wild pitch. He went to third on a ground out to the right side, and scored when Brett Bell reached on a two-base Owl fielding error that would have ended the inning. Bell then stole third and scored on a Rice throwing error on the steal attempt - the Owls' second error of the inning... Rice improved to 26-13 on the season. The Red Raiders dropped to 17-20 overall.
Solid In C-USA Action
Since its first Conference USA baseball campaign in the spring of 2006, Rice's regular-season record in C-USA league games is 140-42 (.769).
The Silver Glove Trophy Series - 2013 Edition
Like the big rivalries in college football, the city of Houston's top two college baseball programs play for a coveted prize (the Silver Glove Trophy) as part of their annual series. Rice has won 14 of the 15 series with Houston since play for The Glove began in 1998. The Owls won the trophy in its first two years and have held the hardware now for 12 years in a row (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012).
Recap of 2012 Silver Glove Series
The 2012 edition of the Silver Glove Trophy series had a familiar intensity. In the opening game played across town at Cougar Field (Feb. 28), the No. 4 ranked Owls pushed across four unanswered runs in the middle innings for a 4-1 victory. With that win the Owls improved to 9-0... Fast forward to May 4 where UH coasted to an 11-6 win in the first of three C-USA games at Reckling Park... In Saturday's second game the Owls rallied from behind to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, and then overcame another deficit again in the tenth, on the way to a 4-3 victory... The series finale on Sunday featured seven Owls combining for 12 hits in an 8-2 Rice win... The Blue & Gray was well-represented on the all-series team, including versatile junior J.T. Chargois as the Most Outstanding Player. Not only did Chargois hit .375 and lead all series players with six hits, as well as four RBI and a .474 on-base percentage, he also pitched 3.0 innings where he allowed just three hits while striking out five. Other 2012 all-series honorees included: C-John Cannon (UH), INF-Landon Appling (UH), Christian Stringer (Rice), Ford Stainback (Rice), Shane Hoelscher (Rice), OF-Michael Pyeatt (UH), Michael Ratterree (Rice), Jeremy Rathjen (Rice), P- Jordan Lewis (UH), John Simms (Rice), Andrew Benak (Rice), Wild Card (tie)- Austin Pruitt (UH) and Tyler Duffey (Rice)... The C-USA Tournament game held in Pearl, Miss., (May 23) last season was not a `glove game'.
Rice-Houston Series History
The Silver Glove has only been around for 15 years. The Owls and Cougars have a long-standing rivalry that dates back to 1948. In 168 games played since the first meeting between the two schools in 1948, Rice leads the all-time series with Houston 98-70. The Owls have won 15-of-the-last-16 games of the series dating back to 2009. The teams became Southwest Conference rivals when UH joined that league in the 1970s. The teams renewed the conference rivalry in 2006 as C-USA foes. There have been 48 one-run games in the series. In 2003 the city rivals played each other a record eight times.
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.) Fox College Sports; (Rice def. Texas Tech 11-2)
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)
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Rice (7)
2. Southern Miss (1)
3. East Carolina
5. Tulane (1)
(first place votes in parentheses)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Christian Stringer, Rice (Senior, Infielder)
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
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)
Six For The Show
The Owls' list of major league players for 2013 includes Lance Berkman (Rangers), Tony Cingrani (Reds), 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 11-5 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.