Owls Host Memphis Friday In Three-Game C-USA Weekend Series
First Pitch Friday Is Set For 6:30 PM
May 12, 2011
(All start times listed are CENTRAL TIME)
May 13 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Rice vs. Memphis
Title Sponsor: Integrity Bank
Special Pregame: Presentation marking Wayne Graham's 900th Rice victory! (6:15 pm). For a sample of what's in store: click here.
Special Promotion: $1 Hot Dogs (While supplies last. Limit two hot dogs per concession stand visit.)
Watch it on the web.
GameTracker (activates at game time)
May 14 (Sat.) 2 pm; Rice vs. Memphis
Title Sponsor: Bulldog Postal
Special Promotion: Rice Baseball Trading Card Strips, courtesy of Fidelity Investments. Featured on Strip 5 are Anthony Rendon, Doug Simmons and Taylor Wall.
Watch it on the web.
GameTracker (activates at game time)
May 15 (Sun.) 1 pm; Rice vs. Memphis
Title Sponsor: Houston Community Newspapers
Pregame Special: Join us as we send our Rice seniors out in style in their final home conference game.
Special Promotion: Free Bags from Southwest Dairy Farms
Kids get to take the field for the National Anthem and run the bases post-game!
Watch it on the web.
GameTracker (activates at game time)
Internet features activate at game time.
Owls Host Memphis In Three-Game C-USA Weekend Series
The Rice Owls baseball team, 33-16 this season and in second place in the Conference USA standings with a 12-6 league record, is back home at Reckling Park for a critical three-game C-USA weekend series vs. the University of Memphis on May 13-15. Start times against the Tigers (26-21, 9-9) are set for 6:30 pm on Friday, 2 pm on Saturday, and 1 pm in Sunday's series finale.
Watch The Games On OwlVision All Access
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 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 Every Rice Baseball Game On The Web
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 home page. The Rice broadcasting tag-team this season is primarily David Brady and J.P. Heath, with help from some of our Rice broadcasting friends. 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. When at Reckling Park, tune-in to the Rice broadcast on 99.7 FM for all three games this weekend.
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 the Rice Athletics front page, the weekly series preview or the baseball schedule page.
National Ranking Update Rice Now 19th In The Polls
Heading into the home stretch of the regular season, the Owls are 19th in the nation according to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). Consider that Rice had not played in 10 days, but has since won five games in a row. Not only has the Blue & Gray won games over powerhouse teams Texas A&M (twice), Arizona and Stanford, other opponents that weren't ranked when the Owls played them (California, Baylor and UCF) have also spent some time in the polls this season. Here's a closer look at the current polls:
|Poll||This Week||Last week|
|Collegiate Baseball Magazine||27||29|
99th Season Since The Start; 95th Season On The Field
The 2011 season marks the 99th year since Rice played baseball for the first time. Rice Owls baseball made its debut in the spring of 1913, just one semester after the school (The Rice Institute) opened its doors for higher education in the fall of 1912. The 2011 season is, however, only the Owls' 95th season on the diamond. The school cancelled its 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 1,810 - 1,465 - 9.
Celebrating No. 900
Friday's game vs. Memphis is Rice's first home game since Wayne Graham recorded his 900th career win at the helm of the Owls' program on May 6. The Rice Athletics Department will make a special presentation to the head coach to commemorate the milestone victory. A sneak peak of the presentation is available at the above link.
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 20th season at Rice. The 2011 campaign marks his 31st year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 903-356 with the Owls (546-124 at home, 272-182 in road games and 85-50 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 week's opponent is: 15-4 vs. Memphis (6-1 at home, 7-2 road, 2-1 neutral)... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2010, making 16-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. 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 C-USA regular season crowns in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 as well as the C-USA tournament championships in `06, `07 and `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, `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; 11th year), David Pierce (Houston, 1988; ninth year), Patrick Hallmark (Rice, 1995, Brown College; sixth year)... Taylor coaches at third base this year while Hallmark coaches at first base.
Apples To Apples
Using coach Graham's first Rice season of 1992 as the starting point, here are the active Division I national leaders for coaching victories heading into the 2011 season.
1. Mike Martin, Florida State - 961
2. Gene Stephenson, Wichita State - 932
3. Wayne Graham, Rice - 870
4. Jim Morris, Miami (Fla.) - 868
5. Ray Tanner, South Carolina - 853
6. Augie Garrido, Texas - 847
1,478 Wins A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 903 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,477 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,477-469 in a 30-year career that began in 1981.
19-Straight 30-Win Seasons
Rice has reached the 30-win plateau for the 19th-straight season. Only five other schools in the country have longer active streaks of having won at least 30 games: Arizona State (49 years), Miami-Fla. (41 years), Clemson and Cal State Fullerton (both 37 years), and Georgia Tech (29).
Tune-in Monday's To The Wayne Graham Radio Show
Listen Here (Monday's 7 PM Central Time)
The live, weekly Rice baseball radio show featuring the Owls' legendary head coach Wayne Graham made its debut on Mar. 7, and is scheduled for a total of nine shows through the remainder of the regular season. The Wayne Graham Radio Show presented by Waste Management, originates live from Prince's Restaurant at the Southwest Freeway near Wesleyan and is broadcast in the Houston area on 1560 AM The Game (KGOW). Coach Graham, with Rice baseball broadcaster David Brady, will review games from the previous weekend and preview upcoming games and series. In addition to discussions on college baseball's national rankings and chase for the Conference USA championship, each week's show will include current members of the team, former Owl players and special guests. There will be some Rice give-away items at the show and a segment for fans to ask Coach Graham a question. It's a unique opportunity for baseball enthusiasts to get direct insight from one of the college game's most successful icons.
Seven For The Show
Seven former Rice players have either played in major league games or been on MLB rosters this season. The former Owls who have been in The Show this year are Lance Berkman (Cardinals), Tim Byrdak (Mets), Philip Humber (White Sox), Paul Janish (Reds), Jeff Niemann (Rays), Lance Pendleton (Yankees) and Josh Rodriguez (Pirates). David Aardsma began the season on the Mariners' disabled list.
Probable Rice Pitcher
Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable starting pitching rotation for the Memphis series as freshman right-hander Austin Kubitza (4-3, 1.85), junior right-hander Matthew Reckling (4-1, 2.66) and freshman right-hander John Simms (3-1, 2.63).
Previous Outing: Rice Wins At Louisiana 2-1
LAFAYETTE, La. - Rice rallied for the game-tying score in the seventh inning and sophomore first baseman J.T. Chargois, a Louisiana native from nearby Sulphur, La., blasted a solo homer in the the eighth to lift the Owls' baseball team to a 2-1 road victory over the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Tuesday evening before a vocal crowd of 3,899 at "Tigue" Moore Field in Lafayette, La... The win was the Owls' fifth in a row and fourth-straight away from home at Reckling Park. Rice had not trailed in any of its last four games heading into Lafayette, but Louisiana scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the third. Alex Fuselier singled and moved to second on Greg Fontenot's sacrifice bunt. Fuselier went to third on a ground out by Mike Petello and came home on a base hit to right by Jordan Poirrier... When these same teams met at Reckling Park a month ago Rice had no trouble getting baserunners that game, but the Owls did not get a run home and the Ragin' Cajuns claimed a 2-0 shutout win. Louisiana continued the scoreless streak Tuesday until the Blue & Gray rallied to tie the game in the top of the seventh. Another one of the Owls' Louisiana natives, Ryan Lewis of Baton Rouge, La., led off with double that went into foul territory on the right side. He advanced to third base on a long fly out to center by Michael Fuda and hustled home on a Ragin' Cajun wild pitch to make it 1-1... In the eighth the Owls surged into the lead behind Chargois' blast. He led off the top of the frame by driving a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right field. The round-tripper was the first of his career and put Rice in front 2-1... The Ragin' Cajuns came out ready to respond in the bottom of the eighth, with a leadoff single to left-center. However, when ULL tried for an extra 90-feet on the on the play to stretch hit into a would-be double, Daniel Gonzales-Luna corralled and fired the ball into a waiting Michael Ratterre at second base to erase the threat... Five more consecutive outs by closer Tony Cingrani and the Rice defense and the Owls were in the winner's column for a fifth-straight time since returning from the University's final exams break. The Blue & Gray moved to 33-16 on the season. The Ragin' Cajuns are now 27-22 overall... Sophomore right-hander Tyler Duffey made his first collegiate start and pitched a predetermined 3.0 innings. He allowed one run on four hits and walk while striking out two. Jeremy Fant followed and was sharp in his 3.1 innings of work. The sophomore right-hander from Cypress, Tex., did not allow any hits nor walks and fanned a pair. Abe Gonzales pitched two-thirds of an inning that set up for his fourth win of the season. Senior Tony Cingrani came on in the eighth and earned his team-leading eighth save. Cingrani finished with 2.0 innings, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out one.
Tony Cingrani On Watch List For College Baseball's Stopper of the Year Award
Senior Tony Cingrani was one of 45 players named to the midseason watch list for the seventh annual Stopper of the Year Award, the postseason honor given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) announced... Cingrani, who notched his team-leading eighth save in Rice's dramatic 2-1 victory over the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns on Tuesday night (May 10), is having a sensational senior season for the Owls. The left-hander from New Lennox, Ill., is 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 45.1 innings of work. Originally a starter for the Blue & Gray, he unselfishly moved to the bullpen in March and has since been one of the top relievers in Conference USA. Cingrani has held opposing hitters to an austere .228 batting average and frustrated the opposition with pinpoint control. Since moving to the Owl bullpen full-time, the former Lincoln-Way Central High School product has walked only five batters in 37.1 innings and maintained a 1.02 ERA... At the conclusion of the 2011 college regular season, the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as finalists for the Stopper of the Year Award and announced on Wednesday, June 1, prior to start of NCAA regional tournament competition. The NCBWA's All-America Committee then will select the winner, with this year's recipient to be announced on the opening day of the College World Series on June 18.
Rice 14th In Total Home Attendance (May 8)
Through the first 28 home games of the season Rice has drawn more than 96,000 fans to Reckling Park (through May 8). The Owls are 14th in the nation in total home attendance. Here are the early national attendance leaders (by home total) through that date.
1. LSU 349,886
1. LSU 369,278
2. Ole Miss 228,840
3. South Carolina 214,865
4. Arkansas 211,477
5. Texas 199,267
6. Mississippi State 164,402
7. Florida State 137,670
8. Clemson 133,020
9. TCU 118,447
10. Florida 117,759
11. Alabama 117,622
12. Texas A&M 110,914
13. Hawaii 103,790
14. Rice 96,115
Rice Tied For 15th In Average Home Attendance (May 8)
Rice baseball is averaging a steady 3,432 fans for 28 home games. That's tied for the 14th highest total in the country as of May 8.
Best Opening Weekend In Reckling Park History
The Stanford series proved to be the best-attended opening weekend in Reckling Park history. Here's how some other opening weekends have added-up. (Many of the previous opening weekends were in a tournament format against three different opponents.)
Year, 1st Weekend Total (Average)
1. 2011 - 12,182 (4,060)
2. 2009 - 10,950 (3,650)
3. 2004 - 10,117 (3,372)
4. 2010 - 9,198 (3,066)
5. 2001 - 8,885 (2,961)
Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion Dynamo out there, Rice is 14-6 in its all-white uniforms, 8-3 in the pinstripes, 7-6 in the all-gray, 3-1 in blue jerseys and gray pants, and 1-0 in blue jerseys with white pants.
Did You Know?
At 33-16 Rice's record through 49 games is a full three games better this same point one year ago. In 2010 the 30-19 Owls ended up putting together another dynamic 40-win season on the way to a conference championship and NCAA Regional appearance. A closer look at the team's 16 losses this season is in order. In addition to playing eight games against nationally-ranked teams Stanford, Arizona, Texas A&M, and California, the Owls have 4 one-run losses and 4 two-run losses. Also note that four of the team's losses have been in extra innings.
Here's Who's Hot
Sophomore second baseman Michael Ratterree enters the weekend with an 18-game hitting streak that is the team's longest of the season and three times as long than his previous career-best streak from last season. Since April 10 (the finale at East Carolina) Ratterree is 26-for-his-last-61 (.426) with team-bests in hits, RBI (18), runs (15), and doubles (8). He's also hit two home runs and stolen a pair of bases... In his last 12 games, freshman third baseman Shane Hoelscher is 18-of-44 (.409) with four doubles and home run for a .568 slugging percentage. Hoelscher is also third o nthe team with nine RBI and he has two sac flys and sac bunt to go along with seven runs scored... Sophomore right-fielder Ryan Lewis has come-in under the radar the last few weeks, but he is now 13-for-his-last-39 (.333). In this span Lewis has also drawn six walks for a .404 on-base percentage and stolen three bases... Don't look now, but junior outfielder Daniel GonzalesLuna is officially now 4-for-his-last-8. "DGL" also has a .600 on-base percentage and scored three runs over the last few games...More recently, outfielder Michael Fuda is now 5-for-12 (.417) over the last four games. He's drawn three walks and a hit by a pitch for a .529 on-base percentage.
Anthony Rendon is seventh on Rice's all-time list for career RBI with (186), and now needs just one more RBI to tie Owl great Damon Thames (1998-1999) for sixth place. The Houston native is also tenth on the school's career runs scored list with 190 and needs just one more to tie for ninth place.
Walk This Way
Opposing teams have been very careful with Rendon at the plate, issuing him an eye-opening 66 walks for a .530 on-base percentage. Rendon's 66 free passes in the highest total in the nation.
Now Walk This Way
Anthony Rendon has drawn a lot of walks, but there's more than one way to "walk" on a college campus. Rice Baseball and the Athletics Department would like to acknowledge some special seniors who will take part in a walk of a different kind on May 14. Three seniors in the baseball program, Abe Gonzales (1B), Doug Simmons and Samuel Wu, (student athletic trainer/equipment manager) are scheduled to participate in the University's graduation festivities that morning. The 2011 commencement ceremony is the 98th in school history.
The K Train
The Owls had 18 strikeouts in the April 8 win at East Carolina, the most by an Owl staff since striking out 19 at Louisiana Tech in 2005. Rice also had a masterful 21 strikeouts in a single game that year (vs. Central Missouri State on Opening Day).
Conference Championship Streak Reaches 15-Straight Years
Rice has won or shared a total of 15-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 five Conference USA titles in as many years.
We Remember 0-3 In `05
The Owls lost their C-USA opening series of the season to UCF (March 27), two games to one. Rice did the same to Memphis last season, but went on to win 16 of its next 21 league games to claim the C-USA regular season title. In 2005 not only did Rice lose its Western Athletic Conference opener at San Jose State, the Owls were swept by the Spartans to start league play that season. The Blue & Gray was able to rebound from its 0-3 start and win the 2005 WAC title. Rice baseball is 128-34 in the 162 league games (WAC & C-USA) since the San Jose State series in 2005.
For The Record
The 18 runners the Owls left on base in the Apr. 5 game vs. Louisiana tied for the most in a single game in school history. Rice left 18 men on base one other time, 58 years ago in a home game against the University of Texas (March 31, 1953). A little more recently, but still not very recently per se, the Blue & Gray left 17 men on base in a home non-conference game against Tulane in 1996. Rice's previous 2011 season-high for runners left on base was 12, which the Owls did three times (vs. Arizona, UC Santa Barbara and the second meeting with Houston). During the 2000 season, visiting McNeese State left 18 men on base in a home game the Owls went on to win 4-1.
The Long & Short of It
The Owls played one of the longest games of the college baseball season this year with a 15-inning affair on March 12 against California at AT&T Park, home of the world champion San Francisco Giants. The extra-inning marathon was the Owls' longest game by innings dating back to Wayne Graham's first Rice season in 1992. It was also the program's longest game by time (four hours, 33 minutes) dating back to 1996. The note within in the note is that the Owls have also already had the shortest game by time in the Wayne Graham era: a one-hour, 45-minute (1:45) game against Texas A&M on March 5 that beat a 1:49 game in 1997 by four minutes.
If you need any insight into Pac-10 baseball just ask Rice. The Owls have already played three games against Stanford and USC, two at Arizona and one on the road against Cal. Rice owns a winning 5-4 ledger against the rugged Pac-10 conference.
Career Longball Leaders
As the 2010 national player of the year and a unanimous 2011 preseason All-America selection, junior third baseman Anthony Rendon has both the eye of the media covering college baseball, and the full-attention opposition. It seemed it was only going to be a matter of time before he broke into the Rice top ten for career home runs, and he enters his junior year already in the top three. The junior standout from nearby Lamar High School has two players in front 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. 50, Anthony Rendon (2009-current)
4. 43, Jose Cruz Jr. (1993-95)
5. 42, Eric Arnold (1999-2002)
T 6. 39, Jay Knoblauh, (1985-88)
T 6. 39, Aaron Luna (2006-2008)
8. 37, Damon Thames (1998-99)
9. 33, Jacques Landry (1995-96)
10. 32, Enrique Cruz (2001-03)
Winningest Teams of The 2000's
(Since the beginning of the 2000 season)
Team Yrs. Won Lost Tied Pct.
1. Florida State 11 552 194 1 .740
2. Rice 11 534 185 0 .743
3. Texas 11 529 202 1 .723
4. South Carolina 11 521 217 0 .706
5. Wichita State 11 500 236 0 .679
6. North Carolina 11 497 212 1 .701
7. Cal St. Fullerton 11 488 213 0 .696
8. Coastal Carolina 11 487 200 0 .709
9. Georgia Tech 11 484 201 1 .699
10. LSU 11 481 232 4 .674
11. Clemson 11 481 241 1 .666
12. Miami (Fla.) 11 477 210 3 .693
13. Oral Roberts 11 476 187 0 .716
14. Nebraska 11 455 225 2 .662
15. Tulane 11 454 231 2 .662
16. Arizona State 11 449 186 2 .706
17. East Carolina 11 447 232 2 .658
18. Notre Dame 11 443 224 4 .663
19. Stanford 11 442 237 2 .651
20 Mississippi 11 434 252 1 .632
21. Florida 11 433 256 2 .628
22. TCU 11 424 247 0 .625
23. Southern Miss 11 421 237 2 .639
24. Virginia 11 421 248 1 .629
25. Florida Atlantic 11 420 256 0 .621
Postseason Streak Now 16-Straight; Lookin' For 17!
A year ago the Rice baseball program made its 16th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Baseball Championship, which ranks as the fourth-longest active streak in the country. Miami (Fla.) made the field for the 38th consecutive year, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (33) and Cal State Fullerton (19).