« Baseball 2011

Matt Rice

School

Western Kentucky

Position
Catcher
Major
Mechanical Engineering
AVG
.368
R
34
H
57
FLD%
.989
RBI
44

Classroom

Rice, a two-time Capital One Academic All-America and All-District selection, maintains a 4.0 in mechanical engineering and is on pace to graduate this spring. He’s also a recipient of the Charles R. Martin, H.H. Cherry, College Heights Foundation and national/international academic scholarships. Rice has remained on the President’s List throughout his entire college career. He is a member of the Gamma Beta Phi Society and Tau Beta Phi while serving as a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

Character

In taking a closer look at the character of this young man, you will find that he has all the essential qualities and positive attributes that you would want in a player, teammate, and citizen. He is a tireless worker both on and off the field, as evident by both his athletic and academic accomplishments.  He plays baseball with a tremendous amount of desire and heart and leaves everything on the field. Rice has been a leader in the Hilltoppers rise as one of the top up and coming programs in the country the last few years. His coaches can’t say enough about how much Rice has had to do with Western Kentucky’s recent success. Matt has not only led the team in many offensive categories on the field but he’s a tremendous leader in the clubhouse and community as well. He leads his team with his actions and his words, saying the right things at the right times and players listen.

Community

Rice finds time to be actively involved in the community. He has collected countless hours of community service working mainly around Bowling Green. He has spent time as an assistant coach for a youth baseball team as well as a camp counselor for WKU baseball camps. Rice has also spent time giving hitting lessons to youth in the Bowling Green area. As a member of the baseball team, Rice has been involved with several activities including a telethon to raise money for the Bowling Green Humane Society as well as hosting children from the Kelly Autism Program at Nick Denes Field for a round of catch and batting practice. Other events include working a high school state golf competition and ringing the bell for the Salvation Army.

Competition

Rice has manned the catcher position for WKU for much of his first three seasons. As a junior in 2010, Rice was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference first team after leading the Hilltoppers with a .369 batting average, 10 home runs and 65 RBI. His defense was also stellar as he made just two errors and threw out nearly 30 percent of potential base-stealers. A semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench award, Rice also led the team with a .446 on-base percentage, posted a .995 fielding percentage and started all 58 games. His consistent performance and reliability in the WKU lineup helped the team to an NCAA tournament appearance and the Sun Belt Conference championship in 2009, a season in which he hit .339, set a school record with 101 hits and had a 31-game hitting streak. Following the 2010 season, Rice was named an ABCA All-American and earned All-South Region first-team honors.