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Baseball Team Returns To Action Wednesday Night at Louisiana Tech

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May 7, 2013

VISIT the Rice Baseball Ticket Page
PROMOTIONS this season at Reckling Park
LISTEN to all Rice games via the Internet audio home page
Rice University Baseball Parking Information
PDF of Rice's latest pregame release

May 8 (Wed.) 6 pm; Louisiana Tech at Rice
GameTracker (activates at game time)

May 10 (Fri.) 6:36 pm; Memphis at Rice
Game televised by FOX College Sports
GameTracker (activates at game time)

May 11 (Sat.) 2 pm; Memphis at Rice
Watch the game on the web
GameTracker (activates at game time)

May 12 (Sun.) 1 pm; Memphis at Rice
Watch the game on the web
GameTracker (activates at game time)

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

Rice Closes Out Road Swing Wednesday at LA Tech
The Rice baseball wraps up its four-game road swing on Wednesday (May 8). The Owls (31-15 overall) face former (and future) conference foe Louisiana Tech at 6 pm in Ruston, La. Earlier this season Rice won a pair of home games against LA Tech at Reckling Park, defeating the Bulldogs by the scores of 4-2 and 7-5 on March 12-13.

 

 

Owls Host Memphis in Key C-USA Series this Weekend
Conference USA league play resumes for Rice beginning Friday (May 10) with a three-game weekend home series against Memphis. Reckling Park start times against the Tigers are set for 6:30 pm on Friday, 2 pm on Saturday and 1 in Sunday's series finale. A year ago Memphis advanced to the Championship Final of the 2012 C-USA Tournament.

It's T.V. Time Friday on Fox College Sports
Friday's opening game of the Memphis series has been selected for a TV broadcast. Fox College Sports , a leader in televising collegiate competitions across the country, is bringing the Rice-Memphis clash to the nation. Broadcasters Darren Sutton (play-by-play) and former major leaguer Preston Wilson (commentary) have the TV call Friday night. Last month the same duo did the Rice-Texas Tech game from Reckling Park.

Watch C-USA Leaague Games On OwlVision All Access
Most home games at Reckling Park and C-USA league 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.

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 20 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 16 15
NCBWA 17 18
PerfectGame.com 17 20
Baseball America 17 19
USA Today/ESPN 18 21
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 26 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 1,891 - 1,504- 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 984-395 with the Owls (590-143 at home, 303-195 in road games and 91-57 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .714, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .714 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 116 games in a single year... Graham's record vs. this week's opponents is as follows: 26-2 vs. Louisiana Tech (16-1 home, 10-1 road), and 20-7 vs. Memphis (8-2 home, 9-3 road, 3-2 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.

1,558 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 984 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,558 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,558-508 in a 32-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Here's Who's Hot
Senior Michael Ratterree is 15-of-35 (.429) with seven home runs the last nine games. He's also drawn five walks for a .488 on-base percentage, recorded a team-best 15 RBI, scored 12 times and had a stolen base. Ratterree hit the 30th home run of his career Sunday at UAB... Steady sophomore shortstop Ford Stainback went 6-for-12 (.500) with a double and a walk in the three road games at UAB... Senior second baseman Christian Stringer is 8-for-his-last-17 (.471) with four doubles for a .706 slugging percentage. He also has drawn two walks and scored four times in the last four games... Keep an eye on junior third baseman Shane Hoelscher. In his last five games the Belton, Tex., native has hit .400 (8-for-20) with a .478 on-base percentage, scored five times and had stolen base... Senior Geoff Perrott is 11-for-his-last-28 (.393) with five doubles and seven RBI. The Kingwood, Tex., native hit a triple at UAB and has raised his average 11 points the last eight games.

Previous Outing: Owls Surge Past UAB To Claim Weekend Series
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Rice baseball team rallied for four late runs to surge past UAB and claim a 7-3 Conference USA road victory over the Blazers in the finale of a three-game series Sunday afternoon at Young Memorial Field in Birmingham, Ala. Rice won each of the final two games on the weekend to take the C-USA series, 2-1. The Owls improved to 31-15 on the year and 11-7 in C-USA league play. UAB dropped to 18-31 overall and 4-14 in conference. Upset-minded UAB put runs on the scoreboard with two outs in each of the first two innings. In the bottom of the first Harry Clark singled-home Ivan De Jesus after a leadoff walk and sacrifice. In the second De Jesus drove in Jeff Schalk after a leadoff single and sac bunt. Rice came right back with a run in the top of the third. Michael Aquino and Geoff Perrott stroked base hits to the left side. Both advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Skyler Ewing. Aquino trotted home on an RBI grounder by Leon Byrd to make it 2-1 UAB. The Owls tied the game in the fourth. Senior Michael Ratterree led off the frame with a towering home run to left field. The round-tripper was Ratterree's eighth homer of the season and the 30th of his collegiate career. The Blazers regained the advantage in their half of the fourth. Rice issued three walks and a Tyler Hamby base hit did the damage. UAB scored one run and was looking for more with the bases-loaded, but Owl relievers Chase McDowell and Blake Fox each did a part to work out of the jam and keep the deficit at just 3-2. McDowdell deflected a sharp comeback shot to the mound with his foot, gathered the ball and retired a Blazer runner with a force at home plate. Fox faced the next batter, a left-hander, and also fielded a come-back grounder to end the inning. Thwarting the Blazers' momentum was critical as Rice was able to tie the score in the top of the sixth. Aquino blasted a UAB pitch over the wall in left field for a solo homer. His sixth shot of the year knotted the contest up at 3-3. Fox proceeded to shut out UAB for the next 4.1 innings. The freshman left-hander scattered two hits and two walks while striking out three. The Rice defense turned double plays in the sixth and seventh before the offense came up big in the eighth. Shane Hoelscher and Aquino led off with consecutive hits and Perrott was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A fielder's choice by Leon Byrd scored one and a double to left-center by Christian Stringer plated two more. The Owls were in business with a 6-3 lead but didn't stop there. The Blue & Gray added one more insurance run in the ninth after a double by Hoelscher and two-out triple by Perrot. Owl reliever Zech Lemond made the 7-3 margin stand up with a scoreless ninth. Rice posted its second-straight win. The Owls finished with a total of 14 hits, including five that went for extra bases. Perrott and Aquino led all players with three hits each. Fox meanwhile improved to 5-0 on the mound.

Rice 14th In Average Home Attendance
Through 22 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 10,811
2. Arkansas 8,251
3. Ole Miss 7,840
4. South Carolina 7,385
5. Mississippi State 7,346
6. Texas 5,785
7. Clemson 4,739
8. Florida State 4,618
9. Texas A&M 4,478
10. Florida 3,585
11. TCU 3,500
12. Alabama 3,319
13. Hawaii 3,317
14. Rice 3,307

Rice Also 21st In Total Home Attendance
Rice baseball has drawn almost 73,000 fans for 22 home games. That's also the 21st 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.

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)

Owls In 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 (Nationals) and Joe Savery (Phillies).

Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion dynamo out there, Rice is 12-5 in its all-white uniforms, 4-3 in the pinstripes, 7-5 in all-gray, 5-1 in blue tops with white pants and 3-1 in blue tops with gray pants.

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