RALEIGH, NC — A Union native is wearing the number of one baseball’s greatest and most historic players this season.
In a statement released Tuesday, the Saint Augustine’s University Baseball Program announced that standout pitcher Rickey Rice, a senior from Union, SC, is wearing No. 42 this season in honor of Robinson, who broke the baseball color line and became the first African-American to play on a major sports team. Rice wore Robinson’s number when the SAU Falcons played Bluefield State College in a doubleheader Saturday in Princeton, W.Va., and will wear it for the remainder of the season.
The press release states that each year, the number will be given to an outstanding Falcons senior who best exemplifies Robinson’s character on and off the field. The inaugural honor went to Rice, who leads the CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) and ranks 11th nationally in Division II in strikeouts. The coaching staff chose Rice because of his leadership, attitude, approach to the game, mental toughness and work ethic.
“It makes me proud to see a young man respect the game and love the game the way he does,” Falcons Head Coach Charles Whitaker said.
In other news, SAU announced that on Tuesday, April 18, Rice was named CIAA Baseball Pitcher of the Week and Whitaker was chosen CIAA Coach of the Week.
The press release states that this is the third CIAA weekly honor this season for Rice, who posted a 0.00 earned run average in a 10-1 victory over Bluefield State College on Friday, April 14. He scattered six hits, struck out six batters, walked one and allowed no earned runs in seven innings. Rice leads the CIAA in strikeouts (84) and ranks second in earned run average (3.09).
Whitaker guided the Falcons to two victories (10-1, 18-10) over Bluefield State on Easter weekend. The Falcons are within two games of their first 20-win season since 2013. The CIAA weekly award is the first for Whitaker this season.
The Falcons host Winston-Salem State University in their final CIAA four-game series this season at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. on Saturday, April 22 (today) and Sunday, April 23. A doubleheader is scheduled both days starting at 1 p.m.
Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) was established in 1867 in Raleigh, N.C. SAU, which sits on 105 acres, is a four-year liberal arts university with an average enrollment of approximately 1,100 students. SAU offers more than 25 undergraduate degree programs and is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The University fields 14 collegiate sports and is a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on the Division II level.
Union native Rickey Rice wore the number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, Saturday, April 15, in honor of the sports icon who was the first African-American to play on a major sports team. Rice, a standout pitcher with the SAU Falcons Baseball Team, wore Robinson’s number during a doubleheader against Bluefield State College in Princeton, West Virginia. Rice is the first Falcon to wear Robinson’s number, an honor that will be given each year to an outstanding Falcon who best exemplifies Robinson’s character on and off the field.
For the third week this season, Union native Rickey Rice has been CIAA Baseball Pitcher of the Week. Rice, a standout pitcher for the Saint Augustine’s University Falcons Baseball Team, was named Pitcher of the Week for his performance during a doubleheader last weekend against Bluefield State College. Rice scattered six hits, struck out six batters, walked one and allowed no earned runs in seven innings. He leads the CIAA in strikeouts (84) and ranks second in earned run average (3.09).