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Owls Return To Action Wednesday Night vs. Lamar

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April 30, 2013

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The Last Meeting
Rice9
Lamar8
April 9, 2013
Beaumont
Owls Top Lamar on the Road Tuesday, 9-8
The Rice baseball overcame a 24-win Lamar squad on the road, as well as a 19-mph swirling wind and 72-minute lightning delay, for a late 9-8 victory over the Cardinals Tuesday evening at Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont, Tex.


May 1 (Wed.) 6:30 pm; Lamar at Rice
Watch the game on the web
GameTracker (activates at game time)

May 3 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Rice at UAB
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GameTracker (activates at game time)

May 4 (Sat.) 2 pm; Rice at UAB
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GameTracker (activates at game time)

May 5 (Sun.) 12 Noon; Rice at UAB
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All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.

Rice Returns To Action Wednesday vs. Lamar
After ten days off while the University concludes its final exams period of the spring semester, the Rice baseball team returns to action on Wednesday (May 1). The Owls (28-14 overall) host longtime state rival Lamar at Reckling Park at 6:30 pm. The Cardinals (33-11) are one of the hottest teams in the country riding an eight-game win streak.

Owls Play Key C-USA Series this Weekend at UAB
Conference USA league play resumes for Rice beginning Friday (May 3) with a three-game weekend series against UAB on the road in Birmingham, Ala. Start times against the Blazers, which a year ago won the 2012 C-USA Tournament title and advanced to an NCAA Regional, are set for 6:30 pm on Friday, 2 pm on Saturday and 12 noon in Sunday's series finale.

Watch C-USA Games On OwlVision All Access
Home games at Reckling Park and 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 15 14
NCBWA 18 20
Baseball America 19 19
PerfectGame.com 20 20
USA Today/ESPN 21 20
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 27 27

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 1,888 - 1,503- 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 981-394 with the Owls (589-143 at home, 301-194 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 opponents is as follows: 30-16 vs. Lamar (18-8 home, 12-8 road), and 17-8 vs. UAB (11-2 home, 5-4 road, 1-2 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.

1,555 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 981 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,555 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,555-507 in a 32-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Probable Rice Pitcher
Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitcher for the Lamar game would be freshman left-hander Blake Fox (4-0, 4.07). Rice's weekend rotation for the UAB series will be announced by coach Graham at a later time.
Blake Fox has worked his way into a second career start. He is undefeated at 4-0 and owns a 4.07 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. The rookie made his first collegiate start at Lamar on April 9 where he pitched a career-long 3.1 innings in a game the Owls went on to win 9-8 after a 72-minute rain delay. Fox was called to a starter's role after a series of steady outings from the Owl bullpen. Where he made his Rice debut at first base in the opening weekend of the season against Stanford and later started as a left-handed hitting DH against Dallas Baptist, Fox did not make his collegiate pitching debut until the road series at Hawaii (Feb. 25). The Houston native fired 3.0 scoreless innings for a save in his mound debut against the Rainbows. He's pitched 2.0 or more innings in eight of his 14 appearances, which is the most appearances on the mound by an Owl freshman this season. A Rice-legacy player with a long family tradition at the school, Fox was the winning pitcher against Southern Miss and UCF, the top two teams in the current C-USA standings. He posted a career-high five strikeouts in 3.0 innings against La Tech on March 13.
• Lamar announced its starting pitcher as junior left-hander Lance Warren (1-1, 2.45).

Here's Who's Hot
In his last five games senior Michael Ratterree is 10-of-18 for a .556 batting average. He's also drawn three walks for a .591 on-base percentage, recorded a team-best ten RBI, scored eight times and had a sacrifice fly. Ratterree hit the 27th home run of his career in the finale of the Houston series (April 21) while on his way to earning the Most Outstanding Player honors of the Silver Glove Series... Junior Keenan Cook has raised his average 13 points thanks to his recent 8-for-22 stretch (.364). He also has a triple and a double for a .500 slugging percentage, scored eight times and stolen a base... 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. He has since hit safely in seven-straight games, going 8-for-22 (.364) with a .462 on-base percentage, six RBI and six runs scored... Sophomore shortstop Ford Stainback is batting .316 (6-for-19) over the last five games with four RBI and a .409 on-base average... In the finale of the Houston series the duo of junior designated hitter Michael Aquino and freshman leadoff batter Leon Byrd both went 2-for-4 while combining for three runs and two RBI.

Previous Outing: Owls Retain Silver Glove Trophy with 11-1 Victory over Houston (April 21)
HOUSTON - Senior Michael Ratterree went 2-for-3 with his second home run in as many days, and junior pitcher John Simms allowed just one run in a seven-inning complete game effort, as the Rice baseball team notched an 11-1 Conference USA run-rule victory over crosstown rival Houston on April 21 at UH's Cougar Field... With Sunday's win Rice improved to 28-14 on the season and 9-6 in C-USA action. The Owls moved into sole possession of second place in the league standings, one game behind leader Southern Miss (10-5 in C-USA)... Paired with a the Owls' 4-0 victory in game two on Saturday, Rice claimed the weekend series over the Cougars two games to one. By taking two of the only three regular season games between the crosstown rivals this year, the Owls have retained the Silver Glove Trophy - the coveted yearly prize that's on the line for the city's baseball rivals like the big showdowns in college football. Rice has won 15 of the 16 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 13 years in a row (2001 to 2013)... Rice went right to work for the lead in the top of the first. Leon Byrd singled up the middle and Christian Stringer followed with a walk. Both runners advanced on Ford Stainback's sacrifice bunt, and Byrd trotted home on Ratterree's RBI one-out single to right field... Fresh-off holding a narrow 1-0 advantage for the better part of five nail-biting innings in Saturday's tight pitcher's duel, the Rice offense struck for substantially more breathing room earlier in Sunday's contest. In the top of the third the Blue & Gray sent 11 men to the plate for a seven-run outburst, the team's biggest inning of the year. Byrd led off with a double to the gap in left-center and Stringer was hit by a pitch. Ratterree was walked with one away to load the bases and Keenan Cook followed with a single to left that scored two. Shane Hoelscher and Michael Aquino followed with RBI singles and Geoff Perrott laced a double down the left field line that plated two more. Skyler Ewing then collected the fifth-straight hit of the inning to score Perrot. Rice had stretched the lead to 8-0 on six hits in the inning... Houston struck back for a run in the fourth. With one away Justin Montemayor singled and Jonathan Davis doubled to left. Montemayor scored on a ground out to make it 8-1... The run was the first allowed by the Owls pitching staff in 13-consecutive innings of the series dating back to Friday's game. It was the only run off Simms in a sound and solid start. The veteran right-hander worked all 7.0 frames, surrendering the one run on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts... Simms was able to register his team-leading second complete game because the offense came alive again in the top of the seventh. Ratterree started it off with a deep blast over the left field wall. The homer was his fifth of the season and the 27th of his collegiate career. Rice scored twice more for a ten-run lead, 11-1. Simms closed out the Cougars in the bottom of the inning to end the game via the C-USA's Sunday 10-run rule. One of the best Houston teams in years is now 27-13 overall and 7-5 in conference... Four Owls finished with two hits on the day in a 12-hit attack. The offensive explosion helped Rice's representation on the annual all-series team, including Ratteree as the Most Outstanding Player. Not only did Ratterree hit .545 and lead all series players with six hits and five RBI, the two round-trippers gave him eye-opening 1.091 slugging percentage for the weekend. Ratterre was also named the Outstanding Player in his sophomore season of 2011. The 2013 all-series honorees included: Ratterree (Rice, Most Outstanding Player), Byrd (Rice), Jonathan Davis (UH), Austin Kubitza (Rice), Justin Montemayor (UH), Perrott (Rice), Austin Pruitt (UH), Frankie Ratcliffe (UH), Simms (Rice), Stainback (Rice), Kyle Survance (UH) and Josh Viddles (UH).

Rice 14th In Average Home Attendance
Through 21 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 10,824
2. Arkansas 8,254
3. Ole Miss 7,894
4. Mississippi State 7,385
5. South Carolina 7,332
6. Texas 5,813
7. Clemson 4,761
8. Florida State 4,668
9. Texas A&M 4,509
10. Florida 3,585
11. TCU 3,523
12. Alabama 3,319
13. Hawaii 3,317
14. Rice 3,294

Rice Also 20th In Total Home Attendance
Rice baseball has drawn more than 69,000 fans for 21 home games. That's also the 20th 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
4. UCF
5. Tulane (1)
6. Memphis
7. Houston
8. UAB
9. Marshall
(first place votes in parentheses)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Christian Stringer, Rice (Senior, Infielder)

PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Austin Kubitza, Rice (Junior, Right-hander)

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
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), Anthony Rendon and Joe Savery.

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, 6-4 in all-gray, 4-1 in blue tops with white pants and 3-1 in blue tops with gray pants.

GAMEDAY CENTRAL
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