Owls Wrap-Up Homestand Wednesday Night vs. Islanders

April 19, 2011

(All start times listed are CENTRAL TIME)
Apr. 20 (Wed.) 6:36 pm; Rice vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Title Sponsor: Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Medical Center
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Apr. 22 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Rice at UAB
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Apr. 23 (Sat.) 1 pm; Rice at UAB (Game 1)
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Apr. 23 (Sat.) 4:30 pm; Rice at UAB (Game 2)
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Owls Wrap-Up Homestand Wednesday Night vs. Islanders
The Rice Owls baseball team, 26-14 this season and tied for the lead in the Conference USA standings with an 8-4 league record, wraps-up its current homestand on Wednesday (April 20). Rice hosts state foe Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (22-18 overall) at 6:30 pm at Reckling Park... The Owls then hit the road for a three-game Conference USA weekend series at UAB on April 22-23, which includes the team's first double-header of the season on Saturday. Start times for the games against the Blazers are set for 6:30 pm on Friday, with game one of the twin-bill scheduled to begin at 1 pm. The earliest the second game of the double-header would start would be 4:30 pm.

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 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.

Live Stats On GameTracker
Live play-by-play text and statistics from every Rice game will be posted on 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 17th In The Polls
Full-steam ahead into April, the Owls are 17th in the nation according to 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) have also spent some time in the polls this season. Here's a closer look at the current polls:

PollThis WeekLast week
USA Today/ESPN22r.v.
Baseball America22n.r.
Collegiate Baseball Magazine2526

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 1,803 - 1,463 - 9.

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 896-354 with the Owls (544-124 at home, 267-180 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 opponents is: 11-0 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (7-0 at home, 4-0 road); 14-4 vs. UAB (9-1 at home, 4-2 road, 1-1 road)... 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

Four to 900
Coach Graham now only needs four more wins to reach 900 in his Rice career.

1,471 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 896 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,471 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall collegiate record is 1,471-467 in a 30-year career that began in 1981.

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.

It's Now Seven For The Show
Six former Rice players were on the official Opening Day Rosters of major league teams in 2011, but there has since been a new Rice Owl to make it to the Bigs in the last week. Congratulations to former Owl Lance Pendleton (Yankees) for joining fellow Rice players Lance Berkman (Cardinals), Tim Byrdak (Mets), Philip Humber (White Sox), Paul Janish (Reds), Jeff Niemann (Rays) and rookie Josh Rodriguez (Pirates) in The Show. *Also, David Aardsma began the season on the Mariners' disabled list.

Probable Rice Pitcher
Wayne Graham announced the Owls' probable pitcher for the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi game as sophomore right-hander Tyler Spurlin (2-0, 1.32).

  • Tyler Spurlin is in his second year with the program after joining the Owls out of The Woodlands High School in 2010. The 6-foot-2 right-hander has been sound and solid this season, maintaining a 1.32 ERA in 13.2 innings over eight appearances... A starting assignment Wednesday would be the second of his collegiate career. His first career start, on March 29 in the second meeting with crosstown rival Houston, was a memorable one. Against the Cougars Spurlin worked a career-long 6.0 innings, scattering two singles with no walks while striking out a career-high four. He was also the winning pitcher in relief in the finale of the Marshall series... The right-hander has allowed two earned runs this year, but that was in his first appearance of the season back on Feb. 22. Since that debut outing, Spurlin has not allowed an earned run in 12.2 consecutive innings and he's held opposing hitters to an austere .122 batting average... The former prep standout is a versatile player who has helped the team in a variety of roles. In addition to making seven appearances out of the bullpen, he has also pinch-hit and played as a defensive sub at first base. In the March 23 contest against Houston he pitched, hit and played first base all in the same game.
  • Texas A&M-Corpus Christi announced its probable starting pitcher as senior right-hander Trenton Irwin (0-1, 6.75).

Simms & Ratterre Sweep Conference USA Weekly Honors
IRVING, Tex. - A pair of Rice Owls, sophomore second baseman Michael Ratterree and freshman pitcher John Simms, have posted a sweep of the Conference USA awards for Hitter & Pitcher the week, the league office announced Monday (Apr. 18) from its headquarters in Irving, Tex... Simms started and struck out a career-high 11 batters in the Owls' 2-0 shutout victory over No. 5 Texas A&M on Tuesday, April 12. He also worked a career-long 7.2 innings on the way to getting his first collegiate win, allowing just three hits and not walking a batter. The rookie right-hander also came out of the bullpen on Sunday vs. C-USA foe Tulane and posted 1.2 more shutout innings to earn his second career win over a five-day span. In that outing the standout from The Woodlands (College Park HS) struck out two and allowed a pair of singles. For the full week he went 2-0, did not allow any runs in 9.1 total innings, scattering five singles and one walk, while holding opposing teams to a composite .156 batting average... In the Owls' four games last week Ratterree batted a composite .438 (7-for-16) with a home run and a double for a .688 slugging percentage. He also led the team in RBI (six) and runs scored (four) and stole a base in his only attempt. Not only did the Houston native (Memorial HS) hit safely and score a run in every game, he was also error-free in 21 total chances defensively at second base. Ratterree turned or started four of the Owls' five double plays, including a game-saving catch of a line drive for a double-play in the ninth inning vs. No. 5 Texas A&M... Ratterree and Simms join their Owl teammates Austin Kubitza and Matthew Reckling as C-USA honorees this season. Kubitza was named the C-USA Pitcher of the Week on March 7 and Reckling was the league's Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 21.

Previous Outing: Rice Tops Tulane 11-1 In Seven Innings Sunday
HOUSTON - Sophomore Michael Ratterree went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, a stolen base and six RBI to lead the Rice baseball team to an 11-1 victory in seven innings over visiting Conference USA foe Tulane in the finale of a three-game league series Saturday afternoon at Reckling Park... With the win Rice claimed the weekend series two-games-to-one, and improved to 26-14 on the season overall. At 8-4 in conference, the Owls share the lead in the C-USA standings (determined by league win percentage). Tulane moved to 21-15 overall and 4-8 in conference... Rice quickly jumped on the scoreboard for a run in the bottom of the first inning. Anthony Rendon reached on a two-out infield single. He stole second to move into scoring position and came home on Craig Manuel's RBI single to right-center... After four scoreless frames the Green Wave tied the game in the top of the sixth. Nick Boullosa and Matt Ryan drew walks to start it off. Blake Crohan singled to left to score Boullosa and make it 1-1. With two men still on base the Owls worked out of the jam with a play at the plate and a fielder's choice ground out... The Owls came right back and answered Tulane's run with four of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Rendon led off with a single up the middle and advanced two more stations on Manuel's sacrifice bunt and a ground out to the right side. Geoff Perrott walked, but a wild pitch on ball-four allowed Rendon to dash for the plate. He was safe with a head first slide on a play at the plate and just like that the Blue & Gray had moved back in front, 2-1... Rice had regained the the lead, but the offense wasn't quite finished. With Perrott still on first base, Michael Fuda followed with a single up the middle that put two men on base. Ratterree then connected for his team-leading fourth homer of the season. His blast into the wind in left field stretched the margin to 5-1... The Blue & Gray got in some danger to start the seventh, then worked out of it just as quickly to keep the Green Wave in check. Tulane loaded the bases with consecutive singles and a walk, but reliever John Simms notched back-to-back strikeouts and a fly out that ended the inning... With the lift the Owls erupted for six runs in the bottom of the seventh to bring C-USA's travel-rule into effect (were a league series ends if one team is ahead by 10-or-more runs after seven innings). Keenan Cook and Rendon walked. Both runners took two bases on Michael Aquino's one-out RBI single to left field, and Aquino alertly hustled for second on the throw back into the infield. Rendon and Aquino both scored on a base hit through the left side by Shane Hoelscher that made the score 8-1. Perrott and Fuda drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Ratterree drove all his teammates home with a double to left-center to make it a game-ending double-digit lead, 11-1... The extra-base hit was Ratterree's third of the day to tie a season-high. The Houston native from Memorial High School tied his career-high with six RBI. Seven different Owls hit safely in a 10-hit attack. Simms earned his second win of the season, and his second of the week, with 1.2 innings of shutout relief. Junior left-hander Taylor Wall made his first C-USA start of the season on the mound and pitched a season-long 5.1 innings, allowing a run on four hits while striking out one.

Toughest Losses of the Season
The Owls have lost two key starters, junior outfielder Jeremy Rathjen and sophomore pitcher/outfielder Chase McDowell, for the remainder of the season due to injury.

Rice 13th In Total Home Attendance (Apr. 18)
Through the first 26 home games of the season Rice has drawn more than 89,000 fans to Reckling Park (through April 18). The Owls are 13th in the nation in total home attendance. Here are the early national attendance leaders (by home total) through that date.
1. LSU 309,744
2. Ole Miss 204,341
3. South Carolina 184,183
4. Arkansas 172,568
5. Texas 160,173
6. Mississippi State 134,210
7. TCU 101,807
8. Florida State 101,518
9. Alabama 99,805
10. Clemson 95,992
11. Florida 92,011
12. Hawaii 90,478
13. Rice 89,306

Rice Tied For 13th In Average Home Attendance (Apr. 18)
Rice baseball is averaging a steady 3,434 fans for 26 home games. That's tied for the 13th highest total in the country as of April 18.

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 12-6 in its all-white uniforms, 8-3 in the pinstripes, 4-5 in the all-gray, and 2-0 in blue jerseys and gray pants.

Did You Know?
At 26-14 Rice's record through 40 games is two games better than this same point one year ago (24-16 record in 2010). A year ago the Owls ended up putting together another dynamic 40-win season on the way to a conference championship and NCAA Regional appearance. Rice has won 5-of-its-last-7, but a closer look at the team's 14 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 3 one-run losses and 4 two-run losses. Three of the team's losses have been in extra innings.

Here's Who's Hot
True, sophomore second baseman Michael Ratterree was the C-USA Hitter of the Week based on his last four games, but he's actually been slightly better over the last five games. Including the Sunday finale at East Carolina (April 10), Ratterree is 8-for-his-last-19 (.421) with team-bests in hits, RBI (six), runs scored (four) and one double during that span. He's also stolen a base and played solid defense. He enters the week with a nine-game hitting streak, his longest of the season and tied for the team's second-longest streak this year... Over the last 15 games junior catcher Craig Manuel is 15-for-40 (.375) with a home run, three doubles and a total of 12 RBI that is second-best on the team. He's also walked twice and been hit by a pitch twice for a .422 on-base percentage during the current stretch... Some Owl freshmen have been making some noise at the plate as of late. In his last five games third baseman Shane Hoelscher is 6-of-19 (.316) with a pair of home runs. Hoelscher also has a seven-game hitting streak dating back to April 8... Freshman outfielder Keenan Cook is a steady 8-for-26 (.308) with three walks and a sacrifice bunt over the last seven games. He's also 3-for-3 on stolen base attempts during this stretch... Sophomore right-fielder Ryan Lewis has come-in under the radar the last few weeks, but he is now 10-for-his-last-34 (.294) over the team's last 15 games. In this span Lewis has also drawn nine walks and been hit by a pitch twice for an excellent .457 on-base percentage.

This & That
Opposing teams have been very careful with Anthony Rendon at the plate, issuing him an eye-opening 57 walks for a .553 on-base percentage. Rendon's 57 free passes in the highest total in the nation. He is also ninth on Rice's all-time list for RBI with 178, and needs one more to tie Will Ford (1996-1999) for eighth... Rice tied a season-high Sunday with four stolen bases in one game against Tulane... For only the third time this season the Owls hit two home runs in a single game, but the Blue & Gray lost the Saturday game to Tulane 7-4... The Owls had 18 strikeouts in the Friday 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)... This season the Owls are 19-1 when leading after seven innings.

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 125-31 in the 156 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 Louisiana game (Apr. 5) 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.

Pac-10 East
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. 49, 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)

Sign Up For "Dollars For Dingers"
Owl fans are encouraged to support Rice Athletics by signing up for the 2011 edition of the Dollars for Dingers program. Signing up on-line at this link is easy and secure... 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 $30,000 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 96. 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 Rice 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!

Kubitza Named Most Outstanding Player of College Classic
HOUSTON - With freshman right-hander Austin Kubitza leading the way as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 Houston College Classic, four Owls were named to the All-Tournament team it was announced on the final day of the tournament at Minute Maid Park on March 6. Joining Kubitza as Owls to earn All-Tournament honors are freshman Shane Hoelscher (3B), sophomore Michael Ratterree (2B) and junior Anthony Rendon (DH). Rice, Baylor and Utah all had 2-1 records at the Classic. The full all-tournament team and the weekend statistics of the honorees are listed below:
C John Cannon, Houston .375 (3x8), 2B, 3B, 4RBI, BB
1B C.J. Cron, Utah .556 (5x9), 2BB, 2HB, 3RBI
2B Michael Ratterree, Rice .250 (3x12), 3R, BB, HR, 2RBI
3B Shane Hoelscher, Rice .454 (5x11), 2R, BB, 2RBI, SB
SS Landis Ware, Baylor .700 (7x10), 2R, 2B, 3RBI, 2BB
OF Brian Adams, Kentucky .333 (4x12), 2B, 2RBI
OF Tyler Naquin, Texas A&M .286 (4x14), 2R, 2B, 3B, HR, 6RBI
OF Jake Runte, Houston .454 (5x11), 3R, BB, 2B, RBI, SB
DH Anthony Rendon, Rice .454 (5x11), 3R, 2BB, 2 2B, HR, 2RBI, 2HBP
P Rick Anton, Utah 1-0, 7.0IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 8SO
P Austin Kubitza, Rice 1-0, 9.0IP, 6H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 7SO
P John Stilson, Texas A&M 0-0, 6.0IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 10SO
P Logan Verrett, Baylor 1-0, 6.2IP, 7H, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 7SO

Rice Baseball Picked For Seven Televised Games This Season
HOUSTON - Rice baseball is slated to have seven of its regular season games televised, Conference USA and Rice Athletics Director Rick Greenspan announced. With a winning tradition and a fan-and-TV-friendly Reckling Park as its home stadium, the Owls are again a favorite for live televised broadcasts. CBS Sports Network (formerly CBS College Sports - CBSC), a national leader in televising a host of collegiate sporting events, will nationally televise Rice's May 19 road game against Southern Miss. The contest is a rematch of the same two teams that a year ago met in the Conference USA Championship Final. Six games are regional telecasts on Comcast Sports Southwest (CSS) that have potential for wider distribution. Three of the CSS games will be played at Reckling Park. All five games of the Owls' annual season-long series against crosstown rival Houston will be broadcast on CSS. Rice's April 12 home game against longtime foe Texas A&M is now a CSS game.

The C-USA Favorites
IRVING, Tex. - With returning National Player of the Year Anthony Rendon tabbed as the 2011 Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year, along with fellow Owls Jeremy Rathjen and Taylor Wall selected as preseason all-conference honorees, the Rice baseball team was picked to finish first in the league in a head coaches poll, the C-USA office announced... Rice, East Carolina and Southern Miss all had three preseason honorees, sharing the most of any school in the annual coaches' survey... Already a unanimous preseason All-America selection, the C-USA coaches voted Rendon as the favorite to win what would be his third C-USA Player of the Year Award in as many seasons. The Owls' junior third baseman became the first freshman to win the C-USA player of the year award in 2009, and then just the second player in league history to earn the honor twice when he won it again in 2010. A year ago Rendon batted .394 and ranked among the NCAA leaders in home runs (26), RBI (85) and slugging percentage (.801). The Houston native from nearby Lamar High School was named the recipient of the 2010 Howser Trophy as the National Player of the Year... Junior outfielder Jeremy Rathjen earned second team all-conference honors after a solid sophomore season in 2010. A year ago Rathjen batted a steady .317 with 13 home runs. The local standout from Memorial High School drove-in 69 runs and scored 52 times in 57 games played... Taylor Wall is a left-handed pitcher who earned second-team all-Conference USA accolades in 2010. Wall went 5-5 with a 4.45 ERA in 15 starts. The Houston native from Westside High School finished among the C-USA leaders in starts, innings pitched (85.0) and strikeouts (61). He held all opponents to a composite .233 batting average.

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

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

Anthony Rendon, Rice (Junior, Third Baseman)

Todd McInnis, Southern Miss (Senior, RHP)

P, Seth Maness, Sr., East Carolina
P, Todd McInnis, Sr., Southern Miss
P, Taylor Wall, Jr., Rice
RP, Collin Cargill, Sr., Southern Miss
C, Victor Gomez, Jr., Marshall
IF, Garrett Cannizaro, So., Tulane
IF, Anthony Rendon, Jr., Rice
IF, Corey Thompson, Jr., East Carolina
IF, B.A. Vollmuth, Jr., Southern Miss
IF, Chad Zurcher, Jr., Memphis
OF, Jamal Austin, Jr., UAB
OF, Drew Martinez, Jr., Memphis
OF, Trent Whitehead, Sr., East Carolina
DH/UT, Jeremy Rathjen, Jr., Rice

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

18-Straight 30-Win Seasons; Lookin' For 19!
Rice has reached the 30-win plateau for 18th-straight seasons. Only five other schools in the country have longer active streaks of having won at least 30 games: Arizona State (48 years), Miami-Fla. (40 years), Clemson and Cal State Fullerton (both 36 years) and Georgia Tech (28).

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).

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