Baseball

Owls Travel To Sam Houston State Tuesday Night

April 12, 2010

(All start times listed are CENTRAL TIME)

April 13 (Tues.) 6:30 pm; Rice at Sam Houston State
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April 14 (Wed.) 6:30 pm; Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Rice
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Home Game Promotion: $1 Hot Dog Night - What's better than Rice baseball and hot dogs? Come to Reckling Park to watch the Owls take on the Islanders on the final $1 Hot Dog Night of the 2010 season!

April 16 (Fri.) 5:30 pm; Rice at UCF
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April 17 (Sat.) 3 pm; Rice at UCF
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April 18 (Sun.) 11 am; Rice at UCF
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Owls Have Busy Five-Game Week!
Rice Plays At Sam Houston Tues.; Host A&M-Corpus Christi Wed.; Return To The Road For C-USA Weekend Series At UCF

The Rice baseball team, 19-14 overall and in sole possession of first place in the Conference USA standings with a 6-3 league record, plays on the road at longtime rival Sam Houston State on Tuesday (April 14). First pitch with the Bearkats (15-18 overall) is set for 6:30 pm at Sanders Stadium on the SHSU campus in Huntsville, Tex... The Owls then return home to host state-foe Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday (April 14). Start time with the Islanders is 6:30 pm at Reckling Park... The "homestand" is that one single game. Rice gets back on the road for a three-game weekend series at league foe UCF Friday through Sunday (April 16-18). Game times with the Knights (22-12 on the season and tied for second place in the conference with a 5-4 C-USA ledger) are set for 5:30 pm, 3 pm and 11 am, respectively. All start times listed are Central Time.

A Taxing Stretch Ahead
Rice has a busy five-game week in front of it, but that's only part of the story. The Owls are in a stretch of games where they are away from the friendly confines of Reckling Park for eight out of nine contests. The Blue & Gray is in fact in the midst of playing five games in six days. That grueling pace continues into the following week, where the Owls are scheduled to play nine games in 12 days - and all but one of which is on the road (this Wednesday vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi).

Audio Broadcasts
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. The Friday night game from Orlando 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.

Watch The Games On-Line
All the games this week are slated for a live on-line video broadcast. Access for this subscription-based service is available at the above links and activates at game time.

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 The National Top 20
Rice is ranked 17th in the country in the latest PINGBaseball.com poll. The Owls are receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN poll and National Collegiate Baseball Writer's poll. As of presstime, the current 2010 national rankings by the various baseball polls is as follows:
17th PINGBaseball.com
RV USA Today/ESPN
RV National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assoc.
Baseball America
Collegiate Baseball
Rivals.com
PGCrosschecker.com

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 849-331 with the Owls (517-113 at home, 254-172 in road games and 78-46 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .719, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .719 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 is as follows: 29-12 vs. Sam Houston State (20-5 at home, 9-7 road); 10-0 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (6-0 at home, 4-0 road); 14-3 vs. UCF (7-2 at home, 5-1 road, 2-0 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.

1,424 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 849 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,424 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,424-444 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 849 games. It's only taken Graham 18+ years to accomplish essentially what it took the program more than three-quarters of a century to do before he got here.

Did You Know?
Five Owls were on the Opening Day Rosters of major league teams last week. 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 pitcher for the Sam Houston State game as junior left-hander Tony Cingrani (1-0, 7.52). Cingrani is new to the Owls' staff in 2010 after transferring from South Suburban College in Illinois. All five of Cingrani's appearances this season have been starts and the New Lennox, Ill., native has worked a total of 20.1 innings. He's registered 12 strikeouts in this, his debut season at the Division I level... The Rice starters for the remaining games this week will be announced at a later time... Sam Houston State announced its starting pitcher as senior right-hander Jordan Westra.

Rathjen Named C-USA Hitter of the Week
IRVING, Tex. - Rice sophomore outfielder Jeremy Rathjen and East Carolina left-hander Kevin Brandt were named the Conference USA Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, the C-USA office announced from its league headquarters Monday (April 12) in Irving, Tex... Rathjen had three multiple-hit games last week and batted a composite .450 (9-for-20) to help Rice claim sole possession of first place in the C-USA standings. The local standout from Memorial High School in Houston slugged a home run and four doubles for a team-best 16 bases and an .800 slugging percentage. Rathjen led the Owls with nine RBI in four games and shared the team lead in runs scored with seven. He also maintained a .455 on-base percentage... This is Rathjen's first C-USA Hitter of the Week honor. He is the third Owl to earn the weekly league accolade. Taylor Wall was named the C-USA co-Pitcher of the Week on April 1 while Anthony Rendon earned the Hitter of the Week on March 15.

C-USA Ticket Packs Now Available
Fans don't wait any longer, Conference USA baseball ticket packs are now available on-line! With C-USA packs fans may purchase great tickets to each Rice home game against an upcoming C-USA home opponent: East Carolina (Apr. 23-25), Southern Miss (May 14-16), and 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 Defeat Tulane Sunday In New Orleans To Clinch Weekend Series
NEW ORLEANS - This was the Rice lineup everyone envisioned wreaking havoc on opposing pitching staffs when the season began, the collection of veteran hitters adept at slugging foes into submission while also executing the finer points of the game at the plate and on the bases... The Owls had shown flashes of such proficiency in recent weeks, but their weekend at Turchin Stadium featured an unrelenting onslaught of offensive prowess. Even the misstep on Friday night included a dozen base hits, so the carnage that unfolded on Sunday was hardly surprising. With eight starters enjoying multi-hit games, Rice blasted Tulane 19-1, claiming its first road series victory and first place in Conference USA... On the heels of a streak of 28 consecutive innings where they scored one or zero runs, the Owls (19-14, 6-3 C-USA) scored three runs in the second and fourth innings, two in the third, fifth and sixth, and seven in their final at-bat in the seventh inning to set the stage for their first run-rule victory since a 13-0 drubbing of Marshall on May 20, 2009. Everyone contributed to the demolition, and after stranding 14 base runners in a 6-5 loss in the series opener, the Owls hit with a purpose... "The team that we put on the field the last two games was good. We can work with that team," Owls senior catcher Diego Seastrunk said. "The first (game of the series) we had our mistakes, but when these guys get the confidence they've had the past couple of days, we can go as far as Omaha and win a national championship with that team."... The top half of the Owls' order appears to have taken shape. Leadoff hitter Chad Mozingo posted his second consecutive 4-for-5 effort while Seastrunk, batting fifth and finally healthy after battling oblique and heel injuries, finished 2-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs after going 3-for-5 with four RBIs on Saturday. Whether playing left field, center field or serving as the designated hitter, sophomore Jeremy Rathjen has found a home batting third ahead of slugging sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon. Rathjen scored seven runs in the three-game series... "We've progressed really well these past few weeks, especially getting Chad going," Seastrunk said. "He's a real aggressive hitter and sometimes he pays for that, and the same with me. We get too aggressive at times and start chasing balls, but ... everybody is swinging the bat good lately."... Added Rice coach Wayne Graham: "That's the way we feel like it ought to work. Chad has the potential to be a great leadoff man, and Diego has the potential to be a fine hitter behind Rendon. That's the lineup we want, and we think it should work. Today it did."... The Owls excelled throughout the series, producing 48 hits and 35 runs against Tulane (21-12, 5-4), which opened the weekend leading C-USA in ERA (4.18) and runs allowed (149). Rice showed a distinct edge in starting pitching, with senior righthander Jared Rogers (4-1) following excellent outings by Taylor Wall and Mike Ojala with one of his own... Rogers held Tulane without a hit through four innings and did not surrender a run until Green Wave third baseman Rob Segedin notched a two-out infield single that scored Brandon Boudreaux in the sixth. Rogers controlled his slider and rode his fastball in on the hands of Tulane's bevy of righthanders, allowing one run on just four singles... "The last couple of outings I had trouble locating the slider for strikes, so I wanted to do that early and establish that as a pitch," Rogers said. "I was getting ahead (in the count) and throwing everything for strikes."... Rogers, Ojala and Wall combined for an ERA of 1.45 and a WHIP of 0.80 while allowing the Green Wave to hit just .185. But splendid starting pitching deferred to an offensive attack that was so resoundingly dominant it almost made waiting for this overdue outburst worth it... "The talent is there - there's no doubt," Graham said. "It doesn't take a lot of improvement, it just takes a little improvement from a few guys." -- By 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 35-for-106 (.330) with 11 home runs and five doubles for a .689 slugging percentage. Surely Rendon has more than 106 official at bats in 33 games? No. The Owl slugger has already been walked an NCAA-leading 45 times and hit by a pitch twice for a .526 on-base percentage. He hit his eleventh homer of the season, and the 31st of his career (a grand slam in fact), in the finale of the Houston series (April 3). 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 the recent weekend series at Tulane, the preseason honors candidate went 4-for-9 (.444) with six walks (.667 OB%) and two steals on the way to scoring six times in three games. He also has been known to bring 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 31st round-tripper on April 3 vs. Houston, he moved closer to ninth 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. 33, Jacques Landry (1995-96)
9. 32, Enrique Cruz (2001-03)
10. 31, Anthony Rendon (2009-current)

Walk This Way
Here's a quick, but unofficial, look at how some of the NCAA Division I leaders for walks are shaping-up so far this season. At this rate, Anthony Rendon will walk away with the mythical walks crown.
Rank, Player, Team, BB
1. Anthony Rendon, Rice, 45
2. Michael Choice, Texas-Arlington, 39
3. A. J. Kirby-Jones, Tennessee Tech, 38
4. Corbin Smith, Texas Southern, 36
4. Chris Epps, Clemson, 36
6. Taylor Dugas, Alabama, 35
7. Logan Vick, Baylor, 34
8. Brad Miller, Clemson, 33
9. Dan Gulbransen, Jacksonville, 32
9. Brian Harris, Vanderbilt, 32
9. Kyle Roller, East Carolina, 32

The Fuda Fighter
Sophomore Michael Fuda is having a good year, batting .359 (46-for-128) with two home runs, three triples and five doubles for a .492 slugging percentage. Fuda has also walked 13 times, been hit by a pitch twice (.427 OB%), and is fourth on the team lead in runs scored (27). The former two-sport standout from Katy, Tex., began the year with a 13-game hitting streak that dated back to last season.

Here's Who's Hot
Sophomore outfielder Jeremy Rathjen is the C-USA Hitter of the Week, but he's even hotter than that over the last nine games. In that stretch Rathjen is 19-for-43 (.442) with two home runs and six doubles for a .721 slugging percentage. Rathjen's driven in 15 runs and scored 11 times in the Owls' last nine games... For as hot as Rathjen is, he's actually not the Owls' hottest hitter or even the team's hottest outfielder. Junior right fielder Chad Mozingo is 25-for-49 (.510) over the Owls' last 11 games. In addition to 12 runs scored in the current 11-game pace, Mozingo has clubbed five doubles and a triple for a .653 slugging percentage. He's drawn seven walks for a .569 on-base average, stolen five bases and driven in seven runs as the leadoff batter... Junior Rick Hague enters the week batting at a .412 pace thanks to a recent 14-for-34 stretch over his last eight games. The standout from Klein Collins High School has also knocked two home runs and four doubles for a .706 slugging percentage. The veteran shortstop has stolen three bases and scored eight times in the Owls' last nine games. Hague now needs only one more hit for 200 in his collegiate career... Freshman second baseman Michael Ratterree has stepped-up his offensive output as of late. Over the last nine games Ratterree is 15-for-38 (.395) with two doubles and a homer for a .526 slugging percentage. The local standout from Memorial High School has also scored 11 runs and maintained a .490 on-base percentage in the Owls' last nine games. Defensively he's started or turned eight of the team's 10 double plays in that span... Don't look now but senior first baseman Jimmy Comerota is hitting at a .450 clip (9-for-20) over the last six games. Comerota has belted two doubles (.550 slugging), drawn six walks and been hit twice (.607 OB%) on the way to scoring 10 times in the last six games... If you're looking for productive totals in the last two games, senior catcher/DH Diego Seastrunk went a combined 5-for-9 (.556) with two doubles in his last two starts at Tulane. He drove in seven runs and scored three times.

This & That
In his complete game victory over Tulane on Sunday, senior pitcher Jared Rogers did not walk a batter. It's the first time this season for the Owls not to issue any walks in a game. Rogers has issued just six walks in 43.1 innings this season, an average of 1.24 free passes per 9.0 innings of work... In the first game of the Tulane series Rice went 5-for-25 with runners on base and ended up stranding a total of 14, the most since the opening weekend. Two days later Rice went 15-for-27 (.556) with men on base and coasted to a 19-1 victory... Ten of the Owls' 14 losses have been by two runs or less... Rice stole a season-high five bases in the Friday night game at Tulane. The team then hit a season-high eight doubles in the Sunday finale... For the fashion Dynamo out there, Rice is 7-3 in its all-white uniforms, 5-1 in the pinstripes, 2-8 in all-gray, 1-0 when wearing a blue top with white pants, and 4-2 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 27 strikeouts in 24.2 innings.

At Bat Flex Packs Now 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.

Preseason All-America Accolades For Rendon & Hague
DURHAM, N.C.-- The left side of the Rice baseball team's infield, sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon and junior shortstop Rick Hague, were both named preseason All-America selections by Baseball America magazine, the publication announced Feb. 5 from its headquarters in Durham, NC... Rendon is on the preseason All-America first team while Hague is a second-team honoree. Baseball America polled major league scouting directors, who voted on the team and made their selections based on performance, talent and professional potential... Earning baseball accolades is nothing new for Rendon. He is also a preseason All-America from the NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball magazine and Rivals.com to name a few. In 2009 he was a national semifinalist for both the Dick Howser Trophy as the nation's top college player and the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top amateur player. The local standout from nearby Lamar High School became the first player in Conference USA history to be named both the Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season. The Owls' young slugger is one of only two sophomores on Baseball America's first team... Rendon led C-USA in batting average (.388), slugging percentage (.702) and home runs with a Rice freshman record of 20 round-trippers. He was also tops on the team and among the league's best in RBI (72). In addition to knocking 14 doubles and scoring 60 runs in 61 games, Rendon drew 31 walks for a .406 on-base average. He was named the C-USA Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading the Owls to the championship title... Hague caught the world's attention after a stellar summer of baseball representing his country and Rice playing for the United States National Team on its international goodwill tour. He shared the Team USA lead in hitting and earned the Best Hitter Award at the World Baseball Challenge held in Canada. Always a steady fielder, last season Hague was the Owls' shortstop for all but four of the team's 542.2 innings (99.3 percent)... Baseball America's preseason All-America team has proved to be an accurate predictor of both team and individual success. Eleven of the 15 college players drafted in the first round last June appeared on the magazine's preseason All-America list--eight of them on the first team. For the second year in a row, 11 of the 2009 preseason All-Americans played for teams that reached the College World Series.

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).

2010 PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS
(as selected by C-USA's head coaches)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Anthony Rendon
, Rice (Sophomore, 3B)

PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Todd McInnis, Southern Miss (Junior, rhp)

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
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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