Owls Return To The Diamond Tuesday vs. Texas State at 3 PM; Five-Game Week Ahead

May 3, 2010

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    (All start times listed are CENTRAL TIME)

    May 4 (Tues.) 3 pm; Texas State at Rice
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    May 5 (Wed.) 6:30 pm; Texas Southern at Rice
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    Special Home Game Promotion: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with $2 nachos and $3 margaritas on the rocks!

    May 7 (Fri.) 1:05 pm; Rice at Marshall
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    May 8 (Sat.) 1:05 pm; Rice at Marshall
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    May 9 (Sun.) 9:35 am; Rice at Marshall
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    Owls Return To The Diamond Tuesday vs. Texas State at 3 PM; Busy Five-Game Week Ahead
    The Rice baseball team returns to the diamond this week after an eight day break while the University wraps-up its Final Exams period for the spring semester. The Owls, 26-16 overall and in sole possession of first place in the Conference USA standings with an 11-4 league record, jump back into action with a busy five-game week... Rice hosts longtime opponent Texas State at 3 pm on Tuesday (May 4) at Reckling Park. This is a make-up of the Feb. 23 contest that was postponed due to weather conditions... The Blue & Gray then host crosstown foe Texas Southern at 6:30 pm on Wednesday to close-out the brief two-game homestand... The Owls return to C-USA play with a three-game weekend series at league foe Marshall Friday through Sunday (May 7-9). The Marshall games will be played at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, West Virginia.

    Now These Are Some Tough Tests Coming Up
    The final exams of Rice's accelerated curriculum are a challenge, but the Owls' baseball team also has some tough tests ahead with its five games this week. Texas State is 28-14 and leading the Southland Conference. The Texas Southern Tigers are leading the Southwestern Athletic Conference with a 13-5 league record and 23-20 mark overall. Marshall is tied for second place in Conference USA with a 10-8 record and has chance to overtake Rice for the top spot in the league this weekend in Charleston.

    Watch The Home Games On OwlVision All Access
    Both the home games this week (Tues. & Wed.) are slated for a live on-line video broadcast by OwlVision. 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.

    Audio Broadcasts - Catch Four Games This Week KTRU Radio
    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. With the exception of the Texas Southern game, (May 5) all Rice baseball games for the remainder of the season will be broadcast live on the radio in the Houston area on campus station KTRU (91.7 FM). The Rice broadcasting tag-team this season is J.P. Heath and David Brady.

    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 Four National Top 25 Polls
    Rice is ranked 20th in the country in the latest PINGBaseball.com poll, 23rd according to Rivals.com and 25th by both Baseball America and the USA Today/ESPN. As of presstime, the current 2010 national rankings by the various baseball polls is as follows:
    20th PINGBaseball.com
    23rd Rivals.com
    25th Baseball America
    25th USA Today/ESPN
    25th PGCrosschecker.com
    27th National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assoc.
    28th Collegiate Baseball

    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 856-333 with the Owls (521-113 at home, 257-174 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 are as follows: 39-9 vs. Texas State (27-6 home, 11-3 road, 1-0 neutral), 9-1 vs. Texas Southern (8-1 home, 1-0 road), and 12-1 vs. Marshall (5-1 home, 6-0 road, 1-0 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.

    1,431 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
    Wayne Graham owns 856 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,431 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,431-446 in a 30-year career that began in 1981.

    Consider This
    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 856 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.

    Five For The Show
    Five former Rice players 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 pitchers as senior right-hander Jared Rogers (4-1, 4.62 ERA) for the Texas State game and freshman right-hander J.T. Chargois (1-0, 3.38) for Texas Southern... Texas State announced its starter as junior right-hander Brian Borski. Texas Southern announced its probable starting pitcher as junior Dakota Laufenberg. The Rice starters for the remaining games this weekend will be announced at a later time.

  • Veteran Jared Rogers was new to the Rice staff in 2009 as a junior transfer from Navarro College. Last year with the Owls he went 4-1 with a 6.15 ERA in 19 appearance, but was at his best in the run through the NCAA Tournament where he maintained a 3.46 ERA and held opponents to a .205 batting average. In addition to a seven-strikeout, complete game NCAA Regional victory over A-10 champion Xavier, the 6-foot-6 right-hander also fired four shutout frames against eventual national champion LSU in the NCAA Super Regional... Rogers made his 2010 debut in the middle game in the opening series of the season (Stanford) and allowed two runs in 3.1 innings of a no-decision. He was particularly sharp in a March 2 start vs. crosstown rival Houston, firing 6.0 steady innings for his first win of the year. Against the Cougars Rogers allowed just one run on five hits without any walks and three strikeouts... Rogers' most recent appearance was a C-USA start against East Carolina on April 25. He worked 2.2 frames, scattering five hits and striking out one. He was outstanding in a win at Tulane (Apr. 11) where he allowed just one run (unearned) on four singles and pitched a seven-inning complete game after the Owls coasted to a 19-1 travel-rule victory. Rogers' season-long outing was a victory in the Memphis finale where he pitched 7.1 innings and struck out four. Rogers has only eight walks in 50.2 innings.
  • J.T. Chargois is a true freshman in his first year at the Division I level. The versatile standout from Sulphur, La., has both pitched and hit for the Owls this season. He's made eight relief appearances on the mound for Rice, and a start Wednesday would be the first of his career. Chargois owns a 3.38 ERA in 10.2 total innings. He last outing was 0.1 innings at UCF on April 17 where he allowed a run on a hit with two hit batsmen. Chargois earned a win in relief with a shutout inning against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on April 14. He has struck out a career-high two batters in a game three different times. His longest outing was 2.2 frames in a non-conference outing against Houston on Mar. 2.

    C-USA Ticket Packs Now Available
    Fans don't wait any longer, Conference USA baseball ticket packs are still available on-line! With C-USA packs fans may purchase great tickets to each Rice home game against an upcoming C-USA home opponent: Southern Miss (May 14-16) or 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 Complete Three-Game Sweep of East Carolina (April 25)
    HOUSTON - All the elements of sublime offensive execution culminated for Rice on Sunday (April 25) at Reckling Park, and considering how frequently the Owls were victimized by poor timing earlier this season, no one could have taken umbrage with the fortuitous orchestration of this wondrous display... Excelling in areas great and small, the Owls completed a sweep of No. 21 East Carolina with an 11-9 victory that extended their lead over the Pirates to 3 ½ games in the race for the top seed in Conference USA... The Owls (26-16, 11-4 C-USA) bashed three home runs and executed two sacrifice flies. Senior first baseman Jimmy Comerota delivered a bases-clearing double in the fourth inning that erased a four-run deficit, but he later scored the go-ahead run after Michael Ratterree advanced him to third base with a groundout to the right side of the infield and Michael Fuda, who homered in the seventh and eighth, added the first of the aforementioned sac flies. The Owls stranded just one base runner... On an afternoon where the wind was whipping out to left field and their pitching, stout all weekend, wobbled throughout, the Owls' stellar offensive production was as welcome as much as it was sorely needed... "Jimmy Comerota needs a lot of credit because he's been giving us everything we needed all the time," Rice coach Wayne Graham said. "Other guys stepped up today obviously, but Jimmy has been a leader with the bat and getting the job done. That double where he cleaned the bases was huge."... Huge might be too modest a description, especially considering how dismissively East Carolina (24-17, 6-6) put the Owls into the ropes a half-inning earlier. The Pirates had already chased Rice starter Jared Rogers with back-to-back two-out singles in the third while holding a 2-1 lead. Junior righthander Boogie Anagnostou relieved Rogers and escaped further damage that inning, but he surrendered a double to Cameron Freeman and walked Trent Whitehead prior to facing Corey Thompson. That confrontation went to Thompson, who crushed a three-run home run to straightaway center to extend the Pirates' lead to 5-1... East Carolina starter Kevin Brandt (3-5) appeared to have regained his footing after surrendering an opposite-field, run-scoring single to Jeremy Rathjen in the bottom of the first. He faced the minimum in the second and third before the Owls went into attack mode in the fourth... Rick Hague, back at shortstop after spending Friday and Saturday as the designated hitter, singled to center. Rathjen singled through the left side. Third baseman Anthony Rendon completed the spray chart with an opposite-field single to right that scored Hague. Sensing an opportunity to pounce after Diego Seastrunk worked a walk, Comerota roped the first pitch from Brandt into the left-center gap, scoring Rathjen, Rendon and the hustling Seastrunk to fashion a 5-all deadlock with no outs... "It's awesome to see what he's been able to do," Owls right fielder Chad Mozingo said of Comerota, who was 1-for-4. "It's hard to believe your own eyes seeing him just square up every single ball. He's done some great things, and we couldn't have won as many games without him."... Comerota closed March batting .257, and his averaged dropped 10 points with an 0-for-3 effort against Houston on April 1. He has raised his average 101 points over the 15 games since, recording eight multi-hit games despite being inserted in multiple spots in the batting order... His at-bat against Brandt, who exited following the Comerota double, exemplified the Owls' tenacity of late, primarily in clutch situations.... "There's a much more relentless attitude on the team," Graham said. "That's a good word for it and that's what you've got to be is relentless. The teams that get to Omaha and win in Omaha are that way."... Said Mozingo: "Coach called us together and said, `We can make it rain with hits, guys. We can make it rain with hits and get this guy out quick.' He tried to stay positive, and it worked. We made it rain with hits immediately."... The Owls added what they assumed was gratuitous precipitation when Fuda slugged a two-run home run off Shawn Armstrong in the seventh and Rathjen added a solo shot off Jake Harris four at-bats later. Before Rathjen smacked his ninth home run on the season, all nine members of the Rice batting order had scored exactly one run. Rathjen and Fuda, whose solo home run in the eighth bumped the lead to 11-5, were the only Owls to score twice and joined Comerota with multi-RBI games... "Slowly everyone has been incorporated into the offense," Fuda said. "It makes us really hard to stop when all nine of us are getting on base."... The Owls are 12-4 in April, and their reward for methodically grinding their way to the top of the league standings is some rest in advance of their next game on May 5 against Texas Southern at Reckling Park. Over the next nine days the Owls can reflect on their bumpy ride thus far and recharge their batteries for what they hope is a strong finishing kick... "This was a huge series for us," Fuda said. "After our slow start we've been slowly getting better and better, and knew we had to come out and take three from these guys to be in good position for the rest of the year." MOISEKAPENDA BOWER

    Crowded House
    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 (54-of-143) with 14 home runs, a triple and nine doubles for a .748 slugging percentage. Surely Rendon has more than 143 official at bats in 42 games? No. The Owl slugger has already been walked an eye-opening 48 times and hit by a pitch four times for a .535 on-base percentage. He hit his 14th homer of the season, and the 34th of his career, on April 25 to lift the Owls over East Carolina in the bottom of the eighth inning. 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 10 games, Rendon is 21-for-40 (.525) with five doubles and three home runs for a .925 slugging percentage. He also brings 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 dramatic 34th round-tripper on April 25 vs. East Carolina, he moved into sole possession of 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)
    8. 34, Anthony Rendon (2009-current)
    9. 33, Jacques Landry (1995-96)
    10. 32, Enrique Cruz (2001-03)

    Walk This Way
    Anthony Rendon dropped into a tie for third in the nation for base-on-balls, but here's a quick (unofficial) look at how some of the NCAA Division I leaders for walks are shaping-up so far this season. Rendon could still walk away with the mythical walks crown.
    Rank, Player, Team, BB
    1. Michael Choice, Texas-Arlington, 59
    2. Kyle Roller, East Carolina, 49
    3. Anthony Rendon, Rice, 48
    3. A. J. Kirby-Jones, Tennessee Tech, 48
    5. Taylor Dugas, Alabama, 46
    5. Pratt Maynard, North Carolina State, 46
    7. Logan Vick, Baylor, 45
    8. Corbin Smith, Texas Southern, 38
    9. Yasmani Grandal, Miami-Fla., 43
    9. John Schultz, Pittsburgh, 43

    Career Climber
    enior catcher/designated hitter Diego Seastrunk continues to climb in a number of categories on the Rice career lists. The senior from Channelview, Tex., now has 219 career games under his belt to tie Donald Allen's career games from 1989-92. That's only part of the story, however. Seastrunk is among the school's all-time leaders for at bats, hits, RBI and doubles.
    Seastrunk's Career Targets
    241, Austin Davis (2001-2004)
    234, Eric Arnold (1999-2002)
    219, Donald Allen (1989-1992)
    219, Diego Seastrunk (2007-2010)
    At Bats
    924, Austin Davis (2001-2004)
    891, Eric Arnold (1999-2002)
    804, Diego Seastrunk (2007-2010)
    309, Austin Davis (2001-2004)
    291, Eric Arnold (1999-2002)
    285, Lance Berkman (1995-97)
    266, Chris Kolkhorst (2002-2004)
    261, Joe Savery (2005-2007)
    256, Jacob Baker (1996-99)
    253, Diego Seastrunk (2007-2010)
    272, Lance Berkman (1995-97)
    243, Bubba Crosby (1996-98)
    217, Eric Arnold (1999-2002)
    203, Jose Cruz Jr. (1993-95)
    187, Damon Thames (1998-99)
    185, Jay Knoblauh (1985-88)
    179, Will Ford (1996-99)
    172, Diego Seastrunk (2007-2010)
    65, Austin Davis (2001-2004)
    64, Eric Arnold (1999-2002)
    64, Lance Berkman (1995-97)
    60, Damon Thames (1998-99)
    56, Joe Savery (2005-2007)
    55, Brian Friday (2005-2007)
    52, Diego Seastrunk (2007-2010)

    Here's Who's Hot
    You've already read Anthony Rendon is 25-for-his-last-40 (.525), but he's not the only Owl swinging a hot bat right now... Senior first baseman Jimmy Comerota is hitting at a .521 clip (25-for-48) over the last 13 games. In that span he has belted two home runs and four doubles (.729 slugging). Comerota has also drawn four walks and been hit four times (.579 OB%) on the way to scoring 19 times in the last 13 games. His hot streak included a six-RBI night vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on April 14... Junior right fielder Chad Mozingo is 20-for-47 (.426) over the Owls' last 11 games. In addition to 15 runs scored in the current 11-game pace, Mozingo has clubbed three doubles for a .489 slugging percentage. He's drawn five walks for a .446 on-base average, stolen six bases and driven-in 13 runs, all while batting leadoff... Junior Rick Hague enters the week batting at a .429 pace thanks to a 9-for-21 stretch. The standout from Klein Collins High School also has two homers and double in the last five games. Hague recently eclipsed the 200-hit plateau for his collegiate career.

    This & That
    Eleven of the Owls' 16 losses this season have been by two runs or less... Rice has won 14 of its last 19 games and three losses in that span were by a single run and another was by just two runs at UCF... Owl pitchers combined to record a season-high 12 strikeouts in the April 24 win over East Carolina. The Rice hitters slugged a season-best two triples against the Pirates in the series finale the next day... After 15 C-USA games junior right fielder Chad Mozingo is batting an eye-opening .492 against the league. Mozingo has 32 hits in the 15 games, scored 17 times, driven-in 17 runs and stole seven bases... In the final win over East Carolina, sophomore outfielder/designated hitter Michael Fuda, a former two-sport athlete who was a member of the Owls' football team his freshman year, knocked two home runs in one game... For the fashion Dynamo out there, Rice is 10-3 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 6-4 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 33 strikeouts in 31.2 innings.

    At Bat Flex Packs Available
    HOUSTON -- Single game tickets for the 2010 Rice baseball season are now available through the At Bat Flex Packs, the Rice Ticket office announced... The Flex Packs are a convenient and economic way for fans to purchase tickets of their choice, including on-line purchases. The Flex Packs are available in four options; the single, double, triple and home run. Here's what they deliver:
    Single - eight tickets for $60
    Double - 12 tickets for $80
    Triple - 16 tickets for $100
    Home Run - 20 tickets for $120
    Flex Pack fans will be sent vouchers that can be redeemed for printed tickets at the Rice ticket office or at the Reckling Park ticket window the day of the game. The vouchers may be used all at one game, or spread out over several games. For example, with the Single Pack, a fan and a friend can go to four games, bring a group of eight to one game, or get one ticket to eight different games, etc.... Fans are encouraged to specify the games they would like to attend when they order online or by phone. Otherwise, fans will receive vouchers that can be redeemed during ticket office business hours or at Reckling Park on the day of a game while supplies last... Tickets purchased with the Flex Packs will be in Concourse 2 at Reckling Park, with the exception of games against Texas (March 16) and the University of Houston (March 2 & April 1-3), which will be general admission... For more information, call the Rice Ticket Office at 713-522-OWLS. Link directly to Rice Ticket Page.

    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.

    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).

    (as selected by C-USA's head coaches)

    Anthony Rendon
    , Rice (Sophomore, 3B)

    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

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