Reckling Park opens baseball season with a few new upgrades

When the Rice Owls baseball team plays its 2018 season home opener Feb. 20 against Texas State, fans will notice some upgrades to venerable Reckling Park.

Upgraded batting cages at Reckling Park

Photo courtesy Tommy LaVergne/Rice University

Down the right-field line, the batting facility has been expanded, remodeled and enclosed for a significantly enhanced experience for the student-athletes who train there. The facility is roughly 30 percent larger, with a total of 6,928 square feet. It has four batting lanes, two clay pitching mounds and one artificial turf mound. Besides more space, the renovated facility is climate-controlled. The renovations were made possible by a gift from Bob and Betty Bixby, and the facility will now be called the Bob and Betty Bixby Batting Barn.

The batting barn has a new neighbor: the Roost, which in previous years served food and beverages from a tent down the left-field line and near the visitors’ bullpen.

The Roost is now located along the first-base side and has considerable upgrades. The fully air-conditioned indoor facility features its own restrooms, lobby and service area, as well as a tiered outdoor patio that is close to the action but protected by newly installed netting. It will also serve as host to private events on nongame days. The new facility was made possible by a private donation, according to Tanner Gardner, Rice Athletics’ chief operating officer.

New Roost building at Reckling Park

Photo courtesy Tommy LaVergne/Rice University

Consistent with Major League Baseball’s move to improve fan safety, Rice has expanded Reckling Park’s protective netting down both lines to the bullpens. The netting expansion, which included replacing what was previously used behind home plate and to the dugouts, is a higher-quality net to provide better viewing.

The upgrades to Reckling Park and other Rice Athletics facilities have been made possible and are consistent with Athletics Director Joe Karlgaard’s Vision for Rice Athletics, a plan he introduced shortly after arriving at Rice in 2013.

“Reckling Park is known as one of the most fan-friendly parks in college baseball, and these renovations will only enhance that reputation,” Karlgaard said. “The new Roost area is a spectacular upgrade for fans, and the expanded netting allows fans of all ages to enjoy the terrific sightlines and proximity to the field without any concerns. The renovation of the batting barn area addressed a need for our team and is in keeping with our commitment to provide our student-athletes the best facilities available.”

New netting installed at Reckling Park

Photo courtesy Tommy LaVergne/Rice University

Reckling Park, which opened in 2000, has been the home of one of the most successful college baseball programs. Rice’s 23-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament, which have all been coached by Wayne Graham, is now the third-longest active streak in the nation.

The Owls opened the 2018 season on the road going 2-1 in Orlando, Fla. Rice beat Samford 8-7 Feb. 17 and No. 22 University of Central Florida (UCF) 5-4 Feb. 18. The Owls lost the final game in the season-opening UCF tournament to No. 15 Virginia 3-0.

After hosting Texas State, the Owls will head to Palo Alto, Calif., to face Stanford in a four-game series Feb. 22-25 and then return home to host Houston Baptist March 2-4.

Season and single-game tickets for Rice baseball are available online or by calling 713-348-OWLS (6957).

If you can’t make it to the ballpark, play-by-play audio for all games will be available online at During games the team can also be followed on Twitter at @RiceBaseball.


About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.