Owls Host Houston Friday Night At Reckling Park

The Silver Glove Trophy is on the line this weekend.

May 3, 2012

  • PDF of Rice's latest pregame release
  • VISIT the Rice Baseball Ticket Page
  • GREAT Promotions this season at Reckling Park
  • LISTEN to all Rice games via the Internet audio home page

    May 4 (Fri.) 6:37 pm; Rice vs. Houston
    Title Sponsor: Methodist Hospital
    The Roost Special: The Frankie B. Mandola Italian Sub
    Carey Cup - Contestant 2 of 3: Josh Innes of SportsRadio 610 will sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
    Game televised by FOX College Sports (There is no webcast during this TV game.)
    GameTracker (activates at game time)

    May 5 (Sat.) 1:37 pm; Rice vs. Houston
    Title Sponsor: Houston Community Newspaper
    Promotion: Cinco De Mayo
    Special Giveaway: Sports Authority Coupons
    The Roost Special: Beef tacos (three for $5), 12 oz margaritas for $4, 16 oz draft Mexican beer for $4;
    Carey Cup - Contestant 3 of 3: Sean Pendergast of 1560 The Game will sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
    Game televised by FOX Sports Net (There is no webcast during this TV game.)
    GameTracker (activates at game time)

    May 6 (Sun.) 1:05 pm; Rice vs. Houston
    Title Sponsor: The Houston Chronicle
    Special Promotion: Houston Zoo Kids Day! At every Sunday home game all kids 14 and under get to take the field for the National Anthem and run the bases post-game.
    Special Giveaway: Rice trading card strip (# 4) to the first 500 fans
    Concession Specials: $2 ice cream sundaes
    Game televised by Comcast Sports Southwest
    Watch it on the web
    GameTracker (activates at game time)



    All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.

    Owls Continue Homestand With C-USA Weekend Series vs. Houston
    The No. 6 ranked Rice baseball team, 31-12 overall and in first place in Conference USA with an 11-4 league record, returns to C-USA action with a three-game weekend home series against the University of Houston on May 4-6. Game times at Reckling Park against the crosstown Cougars (14-26-1 and 3-11-1) are slated for 6:37 pm on Friday, 1:37 pm on Saturday and 1:05 pm on Sunday. All three home games are scheduled for a television broadcast (on two different networks). The first two games of the weekend set will be on FOX Sports Net. Sunday's series finale will be televised by Comcast Sports Southwest. The Owls' current 11-game homestand lasts until May 13.

    Back From Final Exams
    All the Rice student-athletes were off for 10 days while the University underwent its final exams period for the spring semester.

    Watch Rice Games On OwlVision All Access
    Most home baseball games are slated for a live on-line video broadcast by OwlVision All Access. OwlVision is a subscription-based service which matches the play-by-play audio with a video feed to create a television-like broadcast on the Internet (either live or in an archived format). The service has been growing in popularity the last few years. Information about the service and subscription prices are available here. Access the service on game day at the above links. Fans! Note there will be no webcast of Friday's and Saturday's games vs. Houston due a television broadcast by FOX Sports Net.

    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 30 minutes before each game's first pitch. Fans attending the games can now listen to the Rice broadcast at the stadium where the team plays via an FM proximity transmitter. The frequency for in-stadium broadcast at Reckling Park is 99.7 FM.

    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 • Five Top 10s; As High As No. 6
    Rice was ranked in the Top 10 of a host of different polls to start the 2012 campaign. Coming out of final exams the Owls are holding as a consensus Top 10 team and as high as sixth in two polls. Here's a closer look at the latest rankings:

    Poll This Week Last Week
    Baseball America 6 6
    PerfectGame.com 6 7
    USA Today/ESPN 8 8
    NCBWA 8 9
    Collegiate Baseball Magazine 9 8

    Rice University Centennial; 96th Season On The Baseball Field
    Rice University is celebrating its centennial in 2012. 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 2012 season is, however, only the Owls' 96th 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 1,850 - 1,482- 9.

    Head Coach Wayne Graham
    Four-time national coach of the year and soon-to-be 2012 College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Graham (Texas, 1970) is in his 21st season at Rice. The 2012 campaign marks his 32nd year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 943-373 with the Owls (568-133 at home, 285-188 in road games and 90-52 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .717, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .717 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 weekend's opponent is: 74-25 vs. Houston (41-7 home, 30-18 away, 2-0 neutral)... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2011, making 17-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. 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 and 2011 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 and `10... 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; 12th year), Patrick Hallmark (Rice, 1995, Brown College; seventh year), and Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; first year)... On game days Hallmark coaches at third base while Van Hook coaches at first base.

    1,517 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
    Wayne Graham owns 943 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,517 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,517-486 in a 31-year career that began in 1981.

    Wayne Graham To Be Inducted Into College Baseball Hall of Fame
    HOUSTON - Only a few hours before the nationally-ranked Rice baseball team was to take the field against the University of Texas in Friday's final game of the College Classic Tournament (March 2), Owl head coach Wayne Graham was announced as one of seven inductees into College Baseball Hall of Fame later this summer... Coach Graham is part of an impressive class of inductees who will officially join the College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Tex., on June 29-30. The 2012 inductees include Lou Brock, a Major League Hall of Famer who was a collegiate star at Southern University in 1958-60; Ed Cheff, who won 16 NAIA national championships coaching at Lewis Clark State from 1977-2010; Nomar Garciaparra, a three-time All-America selection at Georgia Tech who went on to make six all-star games during a 14-year major league career; Tim Jorgensen, a two-time Division III National Player of the Year and All-American at Wisconsin-Oshkosh; Brad Wilkerson, a three-time All-America selection and 1998 National Player of the Year from the University of Florida; and the late Frank Sancet, who coached at Arizona for 23 seasons where he led the Wildcats to the College World Series ten times... The Owls' head coach is already a member of three other Halls of Fame. Currently in his 21st year at the helm of the Rice program, and his 32nd as a collegiate head coach, Graham has already been inducted into the Junior College Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Col. (1995), the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in Fort Worth (2003) and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco (2005)... At Rice, Graham has led the Blue & Gray to an NCAA Regional for each of the last 17 years. Not only has the baseball program won at least 40 games in each of the last 17 seasons, Rice has won or shared 16-consecutive conference championships (including regular season and/or conference tournament titles). Rice has maintained the nation's best composite Division I baseball win-percentage (.742) since 1999, a comprehensive 13-year span that marks the first year the NCAA adopted its current 64-team/Super Regional format for the NCAA Tournament... "It's a unique event and I appreciate the honor very much," said coach Graham. "At a time like this you think about who helped get you there. The players who have performed well to allow you to have some success, but also my wife and family who have had to make a lot of sacrifices to make it possible for this to happen. I'm very grateful for everyone who has been involved... "It's a great honor to be associated with the other members of this Hall of Fame class," coach Graham added. "They are great baseball-people with a love and talent for the game."... Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan said Graham's induction is well-deserved... "Wayne Graham's accomplishments throughout his career are obviously worthy of a place in the College Baseball Hall of Fame," Greenspan said. "His accomplishments at San Jacinto were legendary on their own merits and in his 21 seasons at Rice, he has created an exemplary program that has been dominant on the field and in the classroom." A National Board Member of the College Baseball Foundation, Greenspan noted that Graham's legacy continues to grow. "The 2012 Rice Owls are again among the best teams in the nation, adding yet another chapter to an amazing career."... Graham has long-been an example of coaching excellence, but he's far from finished.

    Probable Rice Pitchers
    Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitchers to face Houston are the right-handed trio of senior Matthew Reckling (7-0, 1.44), sophomore Austin Kubitza (4-3, 3.65) and sophomore John Simms (2-0, 2.79), respectively.

  • A year ago veteran Matthew Reckling was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 2011 June draft, but the 6-foot-4 right-hander returned to Rice for his senior season. The Owls are glad he did because he has been lights-out in 2012. This year Reckling is an undefeated 7-0 with a 1.44 ERA. He has struck out 80 in 68.2 innings and held opposing hitters to an austere .151 batting average. Reckling averages 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings. The former Kinkaid star has already been named the C-USA Pitcher of the Week three times, including a brilliant complete game one-hit shutout effort in his previous appearance two weeks ago against East Carolina (April 20). Reckling has in fact not allowed any runs in his last 15.2 consecutive innings, which mirrored his streak of 15.1 consecutive scoreless innings to begin the 2012 season. Reckling's next start would be his 31st as an Owl. His all-time Rice record in 58 career appearances is 14-4, and he is the career strikeouts leader among active players with 223.
  • There was a steady stream of preseason honors for Austin Kubitza, a third team 2012 preseason All-America selection by both Collegiate Baseball magazine and the College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). In 11 appearances this season, including 10 times as the starting pitcher, Kubitza is 4-3 with a 3.65 ERA. He's struck out 38 batters in 49.1 innings of work. The Colleyville, Tex., native has held all opposing hitters to a composite .224 batting average. So far in 2012 Kubitza has faced a rugged slate of opponents that includes four teams coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance, including Stanford, Texas, East Carolina, Florida International and Dallas Baptist. In his last five starts the right-hander has maintained a 1.30 ERA, held hitters to a .185 average and struck out 18 batters in 27.2 innings.
  • John Simms has been named to make his first start of the season after a series of quality relief outings. All 20 of Simms' appearances this year have been in relief. He is 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA and has held all opposing hitters to a composite .213 batting average. The Woodlands, Tex., native owns 41 strikeouts in 38.2 innings. He enters the starting assignment without having allowed any runs in his last 9.1 innings over a four-game span. Simms pitched twice in the Owls' most-recent series against East Carolina and he was sensational with season-long 6.0 innings of three-hit relief on the road against No. 2 ranked Texas A&M (Apr. 17)... A start Sunday would be his first of the year, but he's not new to the role. A year ago the standout from College Park HS was in fact the first Owl freshman to start on the mound on Opening Day since eventual first round major league draft pick Joe Savery earned the honor in 2005. Among a host of steady freshman starts was his 7.0 innings against Houston on May 8 where he allowed four hits and a walk while striking out four on the way to his third win of the season... Simms earned high school All-America honors at College Park and he was selected in the 2010 Major League draft by the Washington Nationals. He declined the pro offer and went on to pitch for the United States 18 & Under National Team over the summer of 2010. He enrolled at Rice in August and proved to be one of the top pitchers during the fall practices.
  • Houston announced its weekend starters as junior left-hander Austin Pruitt (2-3, 3.28) on Friday and senior left-hander Jordan Lewis (3-6, 6.28) on Saturday. Sunday's starter will be announced at a later time.

    20-Straight 30-Win Seasons
    Rice has reached the 30-win plateau for 20-straight seasons. Only four other schools in the country have longer active streaks of having won at least 30 games: Miami-Fla. (41 years), Clemson and Cal State Fullerton (both 37 years), and Georgia Tech (29). Rice was the first of those teams to 30 wins in 2012.

    Previous Outing: Rice Defeats TSU 6-5 Tuesday In 11 Innings
    HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team rallied for six unanswered runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the 11th-inning, to help the Owls claim a 6-5 victory over visiting crosstown foe Texas Southern University Wednesday night at Reckling Park in Houston... Texas Southern jumped out to a big 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The upset-minded Tigers collected three hits and took advantage of three Rice fielding errors in the Owls' first game since April 22, a 10-day break due to the University's final exams of the spring semester... "(The defense) was very disappointing," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "Reliable guys made errors, and they weren't that difficult plays either. It was an incredibly bad inning."... Down but not out, Rice chipped away for a solo home run by Michael Ratterree in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 5-1. The Blue & Gray added three more in the sixth. Ratterree drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the first run and Ryan Lewis followed with a clutch base bases-loaded hit into right field to cut the margin to one, 5-4... Owls senior Michael Fuda led off the bottom of the eighth with a single through the left side and he advanced to scoring position on a sacrifice by Shane Hoelscher. Ratterree then tied the game 5-5 with an RBI single to left, but the Houston native still had one more part to play in the game's final outcome... Ratterree led off the bottom of the 11th with a walk, as did both of the next two Owl hitters (Ryan Lewis and Christian Stringer) to load the bases with no outs. It was the Owls who then took advantage of a TSU fielding error on a play at home plate. The error allowed Ratterree to sprint home with the winning run and a 6-5 final score. He finished the day with a pair of runs scored, three RBI and two hits, including his fourth home run of the season... Almost lost in the late-inning excitement was a sensational staff-effort by the Owls' bullpen. Five Rice relievers, Taylor Wall, Zech Lemond, Tyler Duffey, J.T. Chargois and John Simms all combined to hold the Tigers scoreless over the final 10.1 innings. The five relievers allowed seven hits and three walks while striking out an eye-opening 14. After the first inning the Owl bullpen made TSU strand six runners in scoring position while the Rice offense worked to make the comeback... "It wasn't a fluke, they pitched well," coach Graham said of his bullpen Wednesday. "Everyone pitched well to shut them down. We came back, but pitching was one of the things that won the game for us."... The Owls improved to 31-12 on the season. The Tigers dropped to 23-24 overall.

    The Silver Glove Trophy Series - 2012 Edition
    Like the big rivalries in college football, the city of Houston's top two college baseball programs play for a coveted prize (the Silver Glove Trophy) as part of their annual series. Rice has won 13 of the 14 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 11 years in a row (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011)... In the opening game of the 2012 Silver Glove Series played across town at Cougar Field (Feb. 28), the No. 4 ranked Owls pushed across four unanswered runs in the middle innings for a 4-1 victory. At the time of that win, the Owls remained undefeated on the young season and improved to 9-0.

    Recap of 2011 Silver Glove Series
    The 2011 edition of the Silver Glove Trophy series had a familiar intensity. In game one (Mar. 23), Rice claimed a 7-2 victory on the strength of a 14-hit attack and some solid relief work by the Owl bullpen. In game two (Mar. 29) sophomore Tyler Spurlin fired a sterling 6.0 shutout innings, allowing just two hits with no walks while striking out four in his first collegiate start on the way to a 7-0 victory. The Owls then claimed wins in all three C-USA/Silver Glove games May 6-8 by the scores of 8-2, 12-6 and 5-2, respectively. The C-USA Championship Final held in Pearl, Miss., (May 28) last season was not a `glove game'... Michael Ratterree was sensational all-series long. He finished the five games against Houston batting .542 (13-of-24) with eight RBI, eight runs scored, four doubles, and stolen base. He maintained an .833 slugging percentage and a .560 on-base average to be named the series Most Outstanding Player. A total of ten Owls were named to the annual All-Silver Glove Series team. The 2011 honorees were Craig Manuel, Rice (C), M.P. Cokinos, UH (1B), Ryan Still, UH (2B), Derek Hamilton, Rice (SS), Shane Hoelscher, Rice (3B), Keenan Cook, Rice (OF), Michael Fuda, Rice (OF), Daniel Gonzales-Luna, Rice (OF), Matt Creel, UH (DH), Tyler Spurlin, Rice (P), Austin Kubitza, Rice (P), John Simms, Rice (P), and John Cannon, UH (Wild Card).

    Rice-Houston Series History
    The Silver Glove has only been around for 14 years. The Owls and Cougars have a long-standing rivalry that dates back to 1948. In 164 games played since the first meeting between the two schools in 1948, Rice leads the all-time series with Houston 95-69. The Owls have won each of the last 16 games of the series dating back to 2009. The teams became Southwest Conference rivals when UH joined that league in the 1970s. The teams renewed the conference rivalry in 2006 as C-USA foes. There have been 47 one-run games in the series. In 2003 the city rivals played each other a record eight times.

    The Inaugural Caray Cup Competition Is Under Way
    Rice fans will make the final call when members of the local media compete for the first annual Caray Cup by singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch at three games this week. The competition began on Wednesday, May 2 when KHOU-TV's Dan Gotera led the park in the traditional baseball song from atop the Owl dugout. Gotera will be followed by SportsRadio 610's Josh Innes on May 4 and 1560 The Game's Sean Pedergast on May 5... Each performance will be recorded and posted on the Rice Athletics YouTube page. Once the performance schedule concludes, Rice Athletics will post the videos on the Rice Owls Athletics Facebook page for fan voting. The performer with the most "likes" during the voting period will be crowned the 2012 Caray Cup champion. The champion will be presented the first annual Caray Cup trophy after he throws out the ceremonial pitch before the Owls take on UAB set for Saturday, May 12 at Reckling Park. Then, during the 7th inning, the champion will sing his winning rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Along with the winner, one lucky voter of the winning performance will win four tickets to a suite at Reckling to enjoy the game with the Caray Cup winner. Voting will take place on the Rice Owls Athletics Facebook page from Monday, May 7 through Thursday, May 10. Winner will be announced on Friday, May 11

    Chargois Named To Watch List For National Stopper of the Year
    WICHITA, Kan. - Rice junior J.T. Chargois has been named to the midseason watch list for the annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, presented to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball, the NCBWA announced... Chargois notched his Conference USA-leading eighth save of the season with a dramatic shutout inning of work to close out Rice's thrilling 5-4 upset of No. 2 ranked Texas A&M on April 17 on the road in College Station. The right-hander from Sulphur, La., struck out both of the final two batters of the game to stop an Aggie rally with two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth inning. Chargois has also posted saves against Stanford, Tulane, Texas State, Marshall, New Mexico State and Dallas Baptist (twice). He has maintained a 2.28 ERA in a total of 27.2 innings over 20 appearances and held all opposing hitters to a composite .191 batting average... Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relation contacts and more than 90 nominations were received. At the conclusion of the regular season, the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as finalists and released June 6 prior to start of NCAA Super Regional tournament competition. The NCBWA's All-America Committee will select the winner, with this year's recipient to be announced during the 2012 College World Series... Texas hurler J. Brent Cox won the inaugural Stopper of the Year Award in 2005, with Don Czyz of Kansas claiming the honor in 2006, Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State winning it in 2007, Georgia's Joshua Fields topping the field in 2008, San Diego State's Addison Reed grabbing the honor in 2009, Texas' Chance Ruffin earning the honor in 2010 and Texas freshman Corey Knebel winning it last season... The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player. It also selects All-America Teams for all Divisions, a Division I Freshman All-American team, Division I and III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year. For more information on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, contact Tami Cutler at Wichita State at 316-978-5559 or Russ Anderson at Conference USA at 214-774-1300.

    Here's Who's Hot
    Over the last three games junior outfielder Michael Ratterree is a combined 5-for-9 (.556) with three runs scored, a stolen base, and a home run for an .889 slugging percentage. The Houston native has also drawn three walks and been hit by a pitch for a .692 on-base average... Not only is J.T. Chargois a candidate for the Stopper of the Year, he has provided a key offensive presence at the plate. Chargois is 7-for-15 (.467) with a double, two RBI, two runs scored, a sacrifice fly and a pair of walks for a .500 on-base percentage... Keep an eye on senior outfielder Michael Fuda. The veteran has a three-game hitting streak and is now 3-for-his-last-8 with a double, a walk and two runs scored... Geoff Perrott has hit well coming off the bench and in spot starts the last few weeks. Put it all together and the junior catcher is now 6-for-his-last-15 (.400) with three doubles, four runs scored and three walks for a .500 on-base percentage.

    Did You Know?
    The Owls are 27-0 when leading after the seventh inning. Credit some solid late-inning work by the Rice bullpen, including relievers Tyler Duffey, John Simms, Taylor Wall and J.T. Chargois, as a few of the key contributors to the team's success.

    Record At 43 Games
    Rice is 31-12, the team's best record through 43games since an identical 32-11 ledger in 2009. That 2009 Owl squad began the year 32-11 on the way to a 43-18 season that included the C-USA Tournament Championship and NCAA Regional Championship.

    Solid In C-USA Games
    Since its first Conference USA baseball campaign in the spring of 2006, Rice's regular-season record in C-USA league games is now 125-34 (.786).

    Seven For The Show
    Seven former Rice players began this season on major league rosters. The 2012 list includes Lance Berkman (Cardinals), Tim Byrdak (Mets), Philip Humber (White Sox), Lucas Luetge (Mariners), Jeff Niemann (Rays), Joe Savery (Phillies) and David Aardsma (on the Yankees' disabled list).

    Rice's Televised Games In 2012
    HOUSTON - Rice Athletics has announced its preliminary lineup of Owl baseball games that will be televised in the upcoming 2012 season. There are 11 Rice games tabbed for a television broadcast by a host of national networks. The number of televised games could still increase during the course of the year, including games in the C-USA Championship where the May 27 Final is set for a broadcast on CBS College Sports... Rice's televised games begin in March. All three Rice games from the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park were broadcast by either ESPN 3 (vs. Texas Tech and Tennessee) and/or The Longhorn Network (vs. Texas). Eight regular season home games from Reckling Park will be televised beginning on March 13. Note there will be a new start time on four of the home games to accommodate the broadcast of contests with Arizona (Mar. 13), Texas State (April 10), and Stephen F. Austin (May 8) - all of which are now 6 pm starts... Rice's May 5 game vs. crosstown rival Houston now begins at 1:30 pm. All three C-USA league games against UH in May will be televised. Rice baseball returns to play on familiar networks with games on CSS Sports, Fox Sports Net, and Fox College Sports. The full 2012 TV lineup for Rice baseball is listed below.

    Rice's 2012 Games Selected For Television Broadcast
    March 2 vs. Texas - 7 pm Longhorn Network
    March 3 vs. Texas Tech - 7 pm ESPN 3
    March 4 vs. Tennessee - 6 pm ESPN 3
    March 13 vs. Arizona - 6 pm* CSS Sports
    March 14 vs. Arizona - 6:30 pm CSS Sports
    April 1 vs. Southern Miss - 1 pm FOX Sports Net
    April 10 vs. Texas State - 6 pm* CSS Sports
    May 4 vs. Houston - 6:30 pm FOX College Sports
    May 5 vs. Houston - 1:30 pm FOX Sports Net
    May 6 vs. Houston - 1 pm CSS Sports
    May 8 vs. Stephen F. Austin - 6 pm* CSS Sports
    (May 27 C-USA Championship - 1 pm) CBS College Sports
    * - denotes a new starting time

    Get a printable Rice Baseball Schedule here Get Acrobat Reader

    The C-USA Favorites
    IRVING, Tex. - With four preseason all-conference honorees 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 on Jan. 26. Rice returns 22 experienced lettermen to the roster in 2012, including eight returning starters in the field and a host of veteran pitchers. The Owls have a highly-touted group of incoming freshmen players making their Division I debut this spring. The Owls were ranked sixth in Baseball America's preseason poll and seventh by Collegiate Baseball.

    1. Rice (8)

    2. UCF (1)
    3. East Carolina
    4. Southern Miss
    5. Houston
    6. Tulane
    7. Memphis
    8. UAB
    9. Marshall
    (first place votes in parentheses)

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

    D.J. Hicks, UCF (Junior, Designated Hitter/Pitcher)

    Austin Kubitza, Rice (Sophomore, Right-hander)

    P Kevin Brandt Sr. East Carolina
    P Austin Kubitza So. Rice
    P Dillon Napoleon Sr. UAB
    RP Tyler Duffey Jr. Rice
    C Jeremy Schaffer Sr. Tulane
    C Zach Wright Sr. East Carolina
    IF Chase Jensen Jr. Houston
    IF Darnell Sweeney Jr. UCF
    IF Corey Thompson Sr. East Carolina
    IF Jacob Wilson Sr. Memphis
    OF Kameron Brunty Sr. Southern Miss
    OF Jeremy Rathjen Jr. Rice
    OF Michael Ratterree Jr. Rice

    OF Ronnie Richardson Jr. UCF
    DH/UT D.J. Hicks Jr. UCF

    Nation's Top Win Percentage From 1999 To 2011
    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 the nation's top win percentage. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999 to 2011: (This list does not include any 2012 results.)
    Team, Wins-Loses-Ties (Pct.)
    Rice, 635-221-0 (.742)
    Florida State, 651-227-1 (.741)
    Oral Roberts, 561-224-0 (.715)
    Texas, 614-247-1 (.713)
    Coastal Carolina, 573-234-0 (.710)
    North Carolina, 589-246-1 (.705)
    Cal State Fullerton, 579-244-0 (.704)
    Arizona State, 531-224-1 (.703)
    South Carolina, 612-261-0 (.701)
    Miami, 565-246-3 (.696)
    Wichita State, 598-276-0 (.684)
    Georgia Tech, 551-255-1 (.683)
    LSU, 558-276-5 (.668)
    Clemson, 566-288-1 (.663)
    Nebraska, 527-268-2 (.662)
    Tulane, 532-275-2 (.659)
    Stanford, 527-274-2 (.658)
    East Carolina, 519-271-0 (.657)
    Notre Dame, 511-271-5 (.652)
    Coll. of Charleston, 487-279-0 (.636)
    Florida, 517-300-2 (.632)
    TCU, 498-290-0 (.632)
    Southern Miss, 503-296-0 (.630)
    Alabama, 508-300-0 (.629)
    Virginia, 498-294-2 (.628)

    Postseason Streak At 17-Straight, Looking For 18
    The Rice baseball program has made 17-consecutive appearances in the NCAA Baseball Championship, which ranks as the fourth-longest active streak in the country. Miami (Fla.) made the field for the 39 consecutive years, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (34) and Cal State Fullerton (20). Rice's 17-straight NCAA Tournament appearances is tied for the seventh-longest national postseason streak in Division I history (with LSU, 1989-2005).

    Conference Championship Streak At 16-Straight, Looking For 17
    Rice has won or shared a total of 16-straight conference championships (including either regular season or conference tournament titles) dating back to 1996. The streak covers the Owls' membership in three different leagues beginning with the Southwest Conference, to nine seasons in the Western Athletic Conference (1997-2005) and six Conference USA titles in as many years. In 2011 the Blue & Gray tied for the C-USA regular season co-championship (with Southern Miss) before winning the tournament title in late May.

    17-Straight 40-Win Seasons
    Rice has clinched 17th-straight seasons with at least 40 wins. `Forty' wins actually short-changes the feat a little. The Owls have secured at least 42 wins in 16 of the last 17 years.

    Welcome Back Rice Baseball Alumni
    Over 100 Rice baseball lettermen, from as far back as the 1940s to the recent College World Series teams, were on hand Feb. 4 at Reckling Park as the Rice Owls baseball program celebrated its rich heritage with its biennial Alumni Weekend... A host of former players, many still playing professionally and some who were in the major leagues in 2011 like Joe Savery and Lance Pendleton, came home to Reckling Park to renew friendships and see old teammates. There may have been a little rain, but it was a fun day for all.
    Check out the video of the Baseball Alumni Fan Fest here

    Winning Is Always In Fashion
    For the fashion dynamo out there, Rice is 13-4 in its all-white uniforms, 5-3 in the pinstripes, 2-0 in blue tops with white pants, 9-2 in all-gray and 2-3 in blue tops with gray pants.

    On Deck
    Rice continues its lengthy 11-game homestand through next weekend. After hosting the Cougars, Rice welcomes state-foe Stephen F. Austin to Reckling Park on May 8 (Tues.). Start time against the Lumberjacks is set for 6:05 pm in a game that will be televised by CSS Sports.

    2012 C-USA Championship Tickets Now On Sale
    IRVING, Texas - Tickets for the 2012 Conference USA Baseball Championship presented by Trustmark are on sale now. The eight-team tournament will be held Wed., May 23-Sun., May 27 at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., the home of the Mississippi Braves, class AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves in suburban Jackson, Miss. This will be the second-straight year that the C-USA Baseball Championship will be held at the neutral site... Tournament ticket packages include seats for all 13 games and are available in four different price ranges. Club seating is $120, dugout level seating is $100, field level seating is $80 and general admission seats are just $60. Tickets can be ordered through C-USA school ticket offices or by calling 1-888-BRAVES4. For complete details on the championship, please visit ConferenceUSA.com.... Trustmark Park, which opened April 18, 2005, has capacity for nearly 7,500 fans. There are 5,500 chair-back seats in the reserved seating areas. The grass berm beyond the outfield walls has room for an additional 2,000 general admission customers... The Farm Bureau Grill, beyond the right-field wall, is a full-service restaurant and there are nine baseball-themed concession stands that offer a wide variety of ballpark treats. Twenty-two luxury suites that seat between 16 and 20 fans are equipped with hardwood floors, a bar, flat screen TVs, refrigerator and sliding doors that open up to two rows of outdoor seats. The ballpark also includes a picnic pavilion in left field, 150 closed-circuit monitors positioned around the park televising the game and two merchandise shops... The 2012 Conference USA Championship will feature the top eight teams in regular-season league play. Those eight will be split into two four-team pools (or pods), with the winner of each pod playing in a single championship game. Teams will be assigned pods based on seed, which will be determined by the order of finish in regular-season conference play... Each team will be guaranteed to play three games. Teams in each pod will play two teams in its pod and one team outside its pod. The team with the best composite record in each pod will advance to the championship game. Two-way ties in a pod will be broken by head-to-head play. In case of a three-way tie, the highest seed will advance... Game times are 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the championship game slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The championship game will be nationally-televised by CBS Sports Network.

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