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August 22, 2003 > News > Baseball wins Rice’s first team national title

Baseball wins Rice’s first team national title

It is no longer groundbreaking news, but it is still the biggest news of the summer: the Rice baseball team won the NCAA tournament on June 23 to capture Rice’s first-ever team national title.

Rice advanced to the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb., by winning the Houston regional, featuring Mississippi, Wichita State and McNeese State, and the Houston super regional against the University of Houston. In Omaha for the fourth time in seven years, Rice finally won the opening game with a 4-2 victory over Southwest Missouri State.

Playing like a team of destiny, the Owls beat rival and defending national champion University of Texas twice, 12-2 and 5-4. Those wins propelled Rice to the best-of-three CWS final against Stanford University. Rice won the opener in another dramatic thriller, taking a 4-3, 10-inning decision. Stanford won Game 2 by an 8-3 score, but the Owls pulled away in the deciding third game for a 14-2 triumph.

Head coach Wayne Graham has proved many times over that a school of Rice’s size can win in baseball with enough local talent and great coaching, and the entire program reveled in the victories.

“We’re only a step away from being the capital city of the capital state of the baseball world,” Graham said. “This is going to be the greatest baseball city in the country and the world … I want Rice University to be Houston’s team.”

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