Four Owls Named to ABCA All-South Central Region Team
Rice’s Matthew Reckling, Craig Manuel, Jeremy Rathjen and Christian Stringerwere all selected to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) 2012 South Central All-Region team, the organization announced Monday (June 11) from its headquarters in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Reckling was tabbed as a first team all-region starting pitcher by the coaches association while the trio of Manuel, Rathjen and Stringer earned second team honors. Baseball coaches from 37 universities in eight states make up the ABCA’s South Central Region.
Reckling had a sensational senior season in 2012 where he was named a second team All-America by Collegiate Baseball magazine, the C-USA Pitcher of the Year, and a First Team All-Conference USA selection. The right-hander from Houston Kinkaid went 8-3 on the mound with a 2.98 ERA and he struck out 99 in 87.2 innings of work. Reckling held a total of 310 opposing hitters to a composite .187 batting average and he ranked among the C-USA leaders in ERA, strikeouts and complete games (2). He was named a C-USA Pitcher of the Week three times and he finished his collegiate career with 15-7 record and 3.75 ERA. Reckling was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 14th round of the recent 2012 MLB draft. As a first team ABCA all-region selection he is now eligible to earn national All-America honors from the coaches’ association.
As Rice’s regular starting catcher the last two seasons with a wealth of Division I experience, Craig Manuel caught the talented Owl pitching staff and the attention of pro scouts. He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 10th round of the recent 2012 MLB draft. A native of Satellite Beach, Fla., Manuel was on the national watch list for the 2012 Johnny Bench Award as the top Division I catcher. Offensively he batted either second or third in the order a total of 31 times. Defensively he was error-free in the field in 463 total chances and threw-out 13 runners attempting to steal a base. The senior closed-out his Rice career with a .291 career batting average and with exactly 100 RBI in 209 career games.
Rathjen posted a banner season where he was named a First Team All-Conference USA outfielder and an 11th round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Not only was Rathjen one of only two Owls to start all 60 games (right field), he batted .329 and led the team in home runs (9), doubles (14), total bases (115), slugging percentage (.525), OPS (.953) and sacrifice flies (8). The Houston native from Memorial High School tallied 20 multi-hit games, with a season-high three hits in a game five different times. During one stretch of the season he managed to reach base in 31-straight games. Rathjen owns a steady .307 career college batting average with 24 career home runs in 596 at bats.
In his first season of Division I baseball after transferring from Navarro College, Stringer took Conference USA by storm. The junior second baseman batted a team-leading .343 in 59 starts, and he maintained a .389 average in C-USA league games. Stringer also led the team and ranked among the conference leaders in hits (81), runs (58) and on-base percentage (.448). The Longview, Tex., native was second in walks (38) and steals (6), but his defense might have made the biggest impact to the Owl squad that won the C-USA regular season championship. Stringer maintained a .978 fielding percentage at second base where he turned or started 35 of the Owls’ 46 double plays.
Under the direction of head coach Wayne Graham, Rice baseball won the 2012 C-USA regular season championship with a 41-19 overall record. The program made its 18th-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and posted its 18th-straight season with at least 40 wins.
2012 ABCA ALL-SOUTH CENTRAL REGION
First Team (eligible for All-America)
C – Blake Johnson, UALR
1B – Alex Williams, Louisiana Tech
2B – Brock Hebert, Southeastern Louisiana
3B – Mike Martinez, FIU
SS – Hunter Dozier, Stephen F. Austin
DH – Anthony Azar, Sam Houston State
OF – Sean Bignall, UALR
OF – Preston Beck, UT Arlington
OF – Justin Guidry, Middle Tennessee
OF – Trent Miller, Middle Tennessee
SP – Matthew Reckling, Rice
SP – Daniel Minor, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
SP – Jacob Lee, Arkansas State
RP – Stefan Lopez, Southeastern Louisiana
C – Craig Manuel, Rice
1B – Joey Rapp, Louisiana-Monroe
2B – Christian Stringer, Rice
3B – Danny Collins, Troy
SS – Jeremy Sy, Louisiana-Monroe
DH – Jeremy Hill, Nicholls State
OF – Kendall Logan, Jackson State
OF – Jeremy Rathjen, Rice
OF – Jabari Henry, FIU
SP – Lance Day, Texas-Arlington
SP – Quintavious Drains, Jackson State
SP – Chance Cleveland, UALR
SP – Travis Ballew, Texas State
RP – R.J. Alvarez, Florida Atlantic