Rice Closes-Out Current Road Swing Tuesday Night At Texas A&M
Listen To The Game On KTRU Radio (91.7 FM)
April 19, 2010
(All start times listed are CENTRAL TIME)
April 24 (Sat.) 2:07 pm; East Carolina at Rice
Game to be televised live on CBS College Sports. Check your local cable TV listings. (Note there is no live video stream for this game due to the CBSC broadcast)
KTRU (91.7 FM) & Internet audio Listen Here
Special Home Game Promotion: Rice fans--get a keepsake of your favorite Rice baseball players! Fans will receive the 2nd of 5 strips of baseball trading cards courtesy of Fidelity Investments. Featured on Strip 2: Matt Evers, Jimmy Comerota, Tony Cingrani, and Boogie Anagnostou
April 25 (Sun.) 1 pm; East Carolina at Rice
KTRU (91.7 FM) & Internet audio Listen Here
Watch it on the web.
Special Home Game Promotion: Rice fans--get a keepsake of your favorite Rice baseball players! Fans will receive the 3rd of 5 strips of baseball trading cards courtesy of Fidelity Investments. Featured on Strip 3: Taylor Wall, Steven Sultzbaugh, Doug Simmons, and Head Coach Wayne Graham.
Internet features activate at game time.
Rice Closes-Out Current Road Swing Tuesday Night At Texas A&M
The Rice baseball team, 23-15 overall and holding a share of first place in the Conference USA standings with an 8-4 league record, wraps-up its current stretch of four-straight road games on Tuesday (April 20) at longtime rival Texas A&M. First pitch with the Aggies (20-14-1 overall) is set for 6:30 pm at Olsen Field in College Station, Tex.
First Place In Conference USA On The Line When Owls Host East Carolina This Weekend
Rice is currently tied for first place in the current C-USA standings with East Carolina. The co-leading Owls and ECU Pirates (24-12, 6-3) meet in a three-game league series this weekend (April 23-25) at Reckling Park where the winner will have the inside track (or at least the head-to-head tie-breaker) to the C-USA regular season crown. Game times with East Carolina are set for 6:30 pm, 2:07 pm and 1 pm, respectively.
Owls Ready To File Taxing Stretch of the Schedule
Rice will be happy to return home for a series. The Blue & Gray is winding down a positively rugged stretch on the schedule where the team will have played nine games in 12 days and eight-of-nine games on the road. Since April 9 Rice has had only one home game, but been on the road for clashes at Tulane, UCF and Sam Houston State (with the final roadie at Texas A&M this Tuesday for a total of eight road games overall).
Audio Broadcasts - Three Games On KTRU This Week
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. A total of threegames this week will be broadcast live on the radio in the Houston area on campus station KTRU (91.7 FM). This week's KTRU broadcasts are the Texas A&M game and both the second and third games of the East Carolina series (April 24-25). The Rice broadcasting tag-team this season is J.P. Heath and David Brady. Note that for Friday's game vs. East Carolina (April 23), the Internet-only broadcast welcomes back an Owl baseball voice from the past. David Saltzman, the current broadcaster for Owl football and basketball, returns to the Reckling Park microphone Friday for a special one-time baseball call.
It's Prime T.V. Time Saturday on CBS College Sports
As if a weekend showdown with C-USA co-leader East Carolina wasn't big enough, Saturday's game with the Pirates will be broadcast on cable television. CBS College Sports, a broadcasting leader in televising collegiate sports across the country, will air the game. Broadcasters Tom Hart (play-by-play) and former major leaguer Kevin Stocker (commentary) will call Saturday's televised action at Reckling Park.
Watch The Friday & Sunday Games On OwlVision All Access
The Friday (April 23) and Sunday (April 25) games vs. East Carolina are slated for a live on-line video broadcast by OwlVision (Friday and Sunday only). OwlVision is a subscription-based service which matches the play-by-play audio with a video feed to create a television-like broadcast on the Internet (either live or in an archived format). The service has proved to be very popular with fans and alumni living throughout the world. Information about the service and subscription prices are available here. Access the service on game day at the above links.
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 Two National Top 25 Polls
Rice is ranked 16th in the country in the latest PINGBaseball.com poll and 23rd in the latest Rivals.com poll. The Owls are receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN poll and National Collegiate Baseball Writer's poll. As of presstime, the current 2010 national rankings by the various baseball polls is as follows:
RV USA Today/ESPN
RV National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assoc.
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 853-332 with the Owls (518-113 at home, 257-173 in road games and 78-46 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .720, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .720 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 117 games in a single year... Graham's record vs. this week's opponents is as follows: 30-16 vs. Texas A&M (17-4 at home, 7-10 road, 6-2 neutral); 11-3 vs East Carolina (5-1 home, 6-1 road, 0-1 neutral)... 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.
1,428 Wins A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 853 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,428 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,428-445 in a 30-year career that began in 1981.
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 853 games. It's only taken Graham 18+ years to accomplish and surpass essentially what it took the program more than three-quarters of a century to do before he got here.
Did You Know?
Five Owls were on the Opening Day Rosters of major league teams in 2010. Congratulations to former Owls David Aardsma (Mariners), Lance Berkman (Astros, D.L.), Tim Byrdak (Astros), Jeff Niemann (Rays) and Paul Janish (Reds).
Probable Rice Pitchers
Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitcher for the Texas A&M game as junior right-hander Boogie Anagnostou (2-2, 4.39 ERA). The Rice starters for the remaining games this week will be announced at a later time.
Rendon Named C-USA Hitter of the Week
IRVING, Tex. - Rice sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon and Memphis right-hander Ryan Fraser were named the Conference USA Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, the C-USA office announced from its league headquarters Monday (April 19) in Irving, Tex... Last week Rendon batted a composite .619 (13-for-21) to help Rice win four games and hold a share of first place in the C-USA standings. In addition to extending his current hitting streak to eight games, Rendon slugged two home runs and two doubles for a team-best 21 bases and a 1.000 slugging percentage. The Houston native from nearby Lamar High School shared the team lead with eight runs scored to go along with eight RBI. He also drew two walks and was hit twice for a team-best .680 on-base percentage. Rendon stole one base and defensively he recorded 15 assists in four games at the hot corner while starting four of the team's six double plays... This is the second time this season that Rendon has been named C-USA Hitter of the Week. He was also Hitter of the Week on March 15 and he is now the second-straight Owl to earn the honor after Jeremy Rathjen was the C-USA recipient on April 12. Rice sophomore pitcher Taylor Wall was named the C-USA co-Pitcher of the Week on April 1... Memphis' Ryan Fraser played a substantial role in a pair of Tigers' wins this past week, going 1-0 with a save in two appearances. He notched nine strikeouts in 10 innings of work, including a save at No. 14 Mississippi and a C-USA road victory at Houston.
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 Top UCF 13-8 Sunday On The Road In Orlando
ORLANDO, FLA. - Rice sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon works from the heart of the Owls' batting order, so his central role in the middle of the Owls' comeback Sunday afternoon was hardly surprising... Initiate a crucial double play with the game-tying run just 90 feet from home plate in the seventh inning? Check. Deliver the only base hit to drive in multiple runs for a grinding offense? Check. Have a hand in the final three outs of this hotly contested Conference USA series? Check... It wasn't a virtuoso performance for Rendon, but rather one of several clutch efforts for the Owls, who outslugged UCF 13-8 at Jay Bergman Field and maintained a share of first place in the C-USA standings... Rendon drove home Chad Mozingo and Michael Ratterree with his two-run single off the glove of UCF shortstop Darnell Sweeney, capping the Owls' five-run, two-out rally in the eighth and breaking the backs of the feisty Knights (24-14, 6-6 C-USA). Those runs scored at the top of the order were the first for Rice (23-15, 8-4), as the bottom of the lineup did the heavy lifting, most notably senior first baseman Jimmy Comerota... "That's the sign of a good team when you know that you have a bunch of different guys that can all contribute," said Comerota, who finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs batting eighth. "The key for us is to get as many people on the same page as we can, and to stay consistent and string (hits) together."... Comerota teamed with designated hitter Michael Fuda and third-base coach Mike Taylor to strike the biggest blow in the eighth. With two outs and Fuda in motion from first base, Comerota bounced a single to left field that UCF senior Chris Duffy lackadaisically approached. Fuda was barreling to third as Duffy prepared to scoop the ball, but the second Taylor realized that Duffy was content to toss the ball back to the middle of the infield, he waved Fuda home. The Knights were caught completely flat-footed, and Fuda scored to extend the Owls' lead to 9-7... "That was pretty cool," Comerota said of Fuda scoring from first on a routine hit through the hole. "I had my head down and was running, and that's what Fuda's speed can do. That was definitely a game-changer."... Added Fuda, who reached base four times in six plate appearances batting seventh: "I was running hard into third and I saw (Taylor) waving me, and I didn't know what was going on. I trusted Coach that I could make it... "I was a little surprised. I saw the ball go right in front of me so I knew it wasn't in the gap or anything. I guess you're always looking to take advantage of any mistake they make."... That was the miscue the Owls needed to blow the game open. Impatient at the plate while dropping the middle game of this series, the Owls displayed the patience of Job while working bases-loaded walks to expand their lead. Ratterree and Jeremy Rathjen showed keen batting eyes to draw walks off UCF righthander Matt Manning, the Knights' seventh of eight pitchers on the afternoon, before Rendon produced... The bottom of the order was masterful. Junior shortstop Rick Hague, batting sixth, opened the contest 3-for-3 with a double, a solo homer and a single, and scored all three times. Center fielder Steven Sultzbaugh batted ninth for the first time, reached base four times and scored twice. After UCF scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 7-5 lead, Fuda, Comerota and Sultzbaugh scored in succession one half-inning later, with Fuda and Sultzbaugh scoring on wild pitches from Nick Cicio... The production was sorely needed. Rice coach Wayne Graham had to piecemeal his pitching staff, juggling last-minute starter Abel Gonzales, Jared Rogers, who was originally set to start before Gonzales got the nod, Holt McNair and Doug Simmons (2-0) before turning an 8-7 lead over to freshman righthander Tyler Duffey with a runner on and no outs in the seventh. Duffey allowed a one-out single to UCF center fielder Ronnie Richardson to put runners at the corners for UCF senior right fielder Shane Brown, who followed by scorching a line drive to Rendon at third. Richardson, attempting to avert a ground-ball double play was on the move and standing near second when Rendon caught the ball. Rendon casually made a throw across the diamond to snuff the threat... After Duffey surrendered a run in the eighth, Rendon waved off Seastrunk to nab a foul popup from Chris Taladay and recorded assists on groundouts from Austin Johnston and Richardson in the ninth. With that, Rice finally put away the Knights, whose energized fan base and manic head coach did everything possible to lift the club to a series win. While the Owls weren't perfect on the mound or in the field, their will on offense and unrelenting toughness proved a potent enough combo... "I thought we had a good offensive game," Graham said. "Guys were fighting their butt off for nine innings offensively. That's what won." -- By MOISEKAPENDA BOWER
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 batting a team-leading .378 (48-of-127) with 13 home runs and seven doubles for a .740 slugging percentage. Surely Rendon has more than 127 official at bats in 38 games? No. The Owl slugger has already been walked an NCAA-leading 47 times and hit by a pitch four times for a .547 on-base percentage. He hit his 13th homer of the season, and the 33rd of his career April 14 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He already has two grand slams this season. 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. In his last six games, Rendon is 15-for-24 (.625) with three doubles and two home runs for a 1.000 slugging percentage. 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 33rd round-tripper on April 14 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, he moved into a tie for eighth 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)
T 8. 33, Jacques Landry (1995-96)
T 8. 33, Anthony Rendon (2009-current)
10. 32, Enrique Cruz (2001-03)
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 may walk away with the mythical walks crown.
Rank, Player, Team, BB
1. Anthony Rendon, Rice, 47
2. Michael Choice, Texas-Arlington, 46
3. A. J. Kirby-Jones, Tennessee Tech, 43
4. Taylor Dugas, Alabama, 40
5. Logan Vick, Baylor, 39
6. Chris Epps, Clemson, 38
6. Corbin Smith, Texas Southern, 38
8. Kyle Roller, East Carolina, 37
8. Pratt Maynard, North Carolina State, 37
9. Donnie Corsner, Old Dominion, 35
Here's Who's Hot
You've already read Anthony Rendon is 15-for-his-last-24 (.625), but he's not the only Owl swinging a hot bat right now... Senior first baseman Jimmy Comerota is hitting at a .513 clip (20-for-39) over the last 11 games. Comerota has belted two doubles and a home run (.641 slugging), drawn seven walks and been hit four times (.608 OB%) on the way to scoring 17 times in the last 11 games. His hot streak included a six-RBI night vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on April... Junior right fielder Chad Mozingo is 28-for-60 (.467) over the Owls' last 14 games. In addition to 20 runs scored in the current 14-game pace, Mozingo has clubbed five doubles and a triple for a .583 slugging percentage. He's drawn 11 walks for a .533 on-base average, stolen six bases and driven-in 11 runs as the leadoff batter... If you're looking for productive totals in the last seven games, senior catcher/DH Diego Seastrunk is a combined 13-for-30 (.433) with three doubles and a home run that essentially won the game for the Owls on April 13 at Sam Houston State. He driven-in 10 runs and scored seven times in the last seven games... Sophomore outfielder Jeremy Rathjen has been on a hot streak the last 14 games. In that stretch Rathjen is 26-for-63 (.413) with three home runs and seven doubles for a .760 slugging percentage. Rathjen's driven in 27 runs and scored 15 times in the Owls' last 14 games... Junior Rick Hague enters the week batting at a .350 pace thanks to a recent 21-for-60 stretch over his last ten games. The standout from Klein Collins High School has also knocked three home runs and six doubles for a .600 slugging percentage. The veteran shortstop has stolen three bases and scored 15 times in the Owls' last 13 games. Hague recently eclipsed the 200-hit plateau for his collegiate career...
This & That
At 23-15 Rice has matched the same record through 38 games that 2005 Owl squad that came within three outs making it to the College World Series and the 1996 team that won the last-ever Southwest Conference Championship... Eleven of the Owls' 15 losses this season have been by two runs or less... Rice has won 11 of its last 15 games and all three losses in that span were by a single run ad the other was by just two runs at UCF on Saturday... In a busy five-game week last week, Rice rose to the challenge and hit a composite .349 with seven home runs from six different players to out-score its opponents by a combined margin of 57-24... The Owls turned a season-high three double plays in Friday's 9-2 C-USA win over UCF. The team then logged a season-high three sacrifice bunts in Sunday's 13-8 victory over the Knights... After 12 C-USA games junior right fielder Chad Mozingo is batting an eye-opening .519 against the league. Mozingo has 27 hits in the 12 games, scored 14 times, driven-in 12 runs and stole six bases... In Sunday's win over UCF, sophomore outfielder/designated hitter Michael Fuda, a former two-sport athlete who was a member of the Owls' football team his freshman year, scored from first base on single to left-center field by Comerota... Earlier in the week senior catcher/designated hitter Diego Seastrunk moved into sole possession of fourth place on the Owls' all-time list for games played. The senior from Channelview, Tex., now has 215 career games under his belt and could move into a tie for third place on the games-played list with four more games on the schedule this week. That's only part of the story, however. On Sunday Seastrunk simultaneously moved up on two more of the school's all-time offensive lists (for career hits and career doubles) and he caught the same Owl player on each of the respective lists in both instances. Seastrunk's sixth-inning double at UCF was the 251st base hit of his collegiate career, tying him with Owl great Jay Knoblauh (Rice 1985-88) for eighth on the school's career list. It was also Seastrunk's 51st career double, moving him into a tie for seventh place with Knoblauh on Rice's all-time doubles list... For the fashion Dynamo out there, Rice is 7-3 in its all-white uniforms, 6-1 in the pinstripes, 3-8 in all-gray, 1-0 when wearing a blue top with white pants, and 6-3 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 a save and 32 strikeouts in 30 innings.
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)
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