The 2014 Rice baseball schedule is long on Lone Star State foes but a little light on teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season.
The Owls schedule was released on Monday, the first day of fall practice. Rice will play three 2013 NCAA Tournament teams, Sam Houston State on Feb. 25 and March 5, Texas A&M on April 22 and a conference series at UTSA May 9-11.
The Aggies will visit Reckling Stadium and the Texas Longhorns make the trip to Rice on April Fool’s Day.
“I think it’s our best schedule in years because we were able to get Texas in here and Texas A&M in here,” said Rice coach Wayne Graham in a school-produced video interview Monday. “It’s a good schedule throughout.”
Rice will also meet the Longhorns Feb. 28 at the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston. In fact, the Owls will play three Big 12 teams that weekend. TCU and Texas Tech also are in the field. The Horned Frogs later come to Rice for a game March 11.
Despite being in different conferences, Rice will play Houston three times in 2014 for the Silver Glove Trophy. Game 1 is Feb. 19 at Rice. Game 2 is March 25 at UH. Then the teams meet in Sugar Land on May 13 at Constellation Field.
Rice opens the season with a three-game series at Stanford Feb. 14-16. They won’t leave Texas against until the conference road opener at Florida International March 14. The Panthers are one of six new Conference USA opponents. Rice also has a road trip to Middle Tennessee State. They host Old Dominion, Florida Atlantic and Louisiana Tech.
“Both Florida Atlantic and Florida International will be strong, no question about it,” Graham said. “Then we’ve got some holdovers, so it will be a strong conference.”
The holdovers are at Southern Mississippi, at Tulane, East Carolina and UAB. Here’s the link to the complete schedule.
Rice went 44-20 last season, winning the C-USA regular season and conference tournament titles. They advance to the super regionals where the Owls lost two close games at North Carolina State.