May 29, 2014
TUCSON, Ariz. - On the eve of the Rice baseball team's opening game of the home NCAA Regional, Rice's Blake Fox and Shane Hoelscher have earned All-America honors from the Collegiate Baseball News, the publication announced on Thursday, May 29.
Fox was named to CBN's All-America second team as a starting pitcher, while Hoelscher was tabbed as a third team All-America at third base. Fox responded to his new role in the weekend rotation with aplomb, winning 12 of his 14 "Saturday starts" while maintaining a steady 1.38 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. On the way to first team all-Conference USA honors, he posted wins over nationally ranked Stanford on the road, No. 10 ranked TCU at Minute Maid Park, No. 19 FIU on the road, Southern Miss, East Carolina, UTSA, FAU, Tulane, LA Tech, Purdue and Middle Tennessee (twice). Fox pitched into the ninth inning for the first time in his career at FIU (March 22), holding the Panthers' explosive lineup to just two runs. He fanned a career-best eight against East Carolina (April 5) and matched that a week later at Tulane. This year the Houston native has held all opponents to a .229 batting average. He is the first Owl to win 12 games in a single season since 2006, but his sophomore campaign is only part of the story. Fox is undefeated in Rice collegiate career, posting a perfect 18-0 record in a total of 34 appearances dating back to 2013.
Hoelscher has started 54 of the team's 55 games at third base, where he is among the NCAA's and C-USA leaders with 21 doubles. The Belton, Texas, native is also among the league leaders in hitting (.332) and on-base percentage (.395). He is third on the team with 20 multi-hit games, including a season-best four hits vs. Florida Atlantic (where three of the four hits were doubles). Hoelscher has proved to be one of the best defensive third basemen in the conference, maintaining .936 fielding percentage with 120 assists, while starting seven double plays. This year he as recorded season-high five assists in a game three different times.
Under the direction of head coach Wayne Graham, Rice baseball has at least one all-America selection from a national organization (on either a first, second or third team) every year since 1993. In 2014 the Owls are 41-18 while serving as a host school for the Regional round of the NCAA Tournament. Rice also extended its streak of winning or sharing a conference championship (from either the regular season or postseason tournament title) for the 19th straight season. Rice next hosts Atlantic 10 Conference champion George Mason University in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 30, at Reckling Park. Start time is set for 7 pm.