Owls Open 2016 Season Friday at Home

Feb. 17, 2016

E-mail baseball SID John Sullivan
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Feb. 19 (Fri.) 6 pm; Arizona at Rice
Free Giveaway - The first 1,000 fans to Reckling Park will receive a FREE magnet home schedule.
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Feb. 20 (Sat.) 4 pm; Arizona at Rice
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Feb. 21 (Sun.) 1 pm; Arizona at Rice
Rice Owls Kids Club Day - Owls Kids Club members can receive a free ticket to this game with their membership. Enjoy inflatable, games and more in the Kids Zone. Click here for more information on the Owls Kids Club.
Autographed Rice Item Giveaway - Sign up to win an item autographed by the baseball team.
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PDF of Rice's latest pregame release

The Rice baseball team, ranked as high as No. 20 in the nation, opens the 2016 season on Friday (Feb. 19) at home against national powerhouse Arizona. The Owls host the Wildats in a three-game weekend series at Reckling Park. Start time for the season-opener is set for 6 pm. Saturday's second game is at 4 pm. Sunday's series finale is set for 1 pm.

Game Day Parking
Rice University is constructing the new Moody Center for the Arts adjacent to Reckling Park. Please note some of the construction-related parking details. There is a charge for game day parking, with the lone exception being FREE parking in the Greenbriar Lot on the west side of Rice Stadium (football). Fans may purchase season or individual-game parking passes by calling the ticket office at 713-348-6957. Limited complimentary parking and a host of other game day benefits are also available by supporting Rice student-athletes with a gift to the Owl Club.

Audio Broadcasts - Catch Every Rice Baseball Game On The Web
Every Rice baseball game this season is scheduled for a live audio broadcast around the world on the Internet at RiceOwls.com. Tune-in to the pregame show 15 minutes before each game's first pitch. J.P. Heath is in his eighth season as the regular voice of the Owls, with some assistance from other Rice broadcasters early in the season.

Live Stats On GameTracker
Links to live play-by-play text and statistics from every home game are posted on RiceOwls.com. Look for the GameTracker links on the Rice Athletics front page, the weekly series preview, and the baseball schedule page.

Follow The Tweeting Rice Owls
The official Rice baseball Twitter account is @RiceOwlsBSB while the Rice Athletics department is @RiceOwlsdotcom. Twitter is perhaps the fastest way to get weather-related changes to the schedule/updated start times.

National Rankings Update • Owls Ranked As High As No. 20
The Owls are as high as No. 20 in the nation in the preseason. Here's a closer look at the 2016 preseason national rankings, and how that polls' final ranking from 2015:
Organization                  Current    2015
Collegiate Baseball Magazine       20      29
College Sports Madness             23      --
USA Today/ESPN                     24      nr
NCBWA                              26      22
Baseball America                   nr      nr
CollegeBaseballDaily               nr      nr
D1Baseball.com                     nr      nr
PerfectGame.com                    rv      nr

Head Coach Wayne Graham
Four-time national coach of the year and 2012 College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Graham (Texas, 1970) is in his 25th season at Rice. The 2016 campaign marks his 36th year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 1,076-442 with the Owls (641-162 at home, 337-214 on the road and 98-66 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .709, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .709 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 114 games in a single year... Graham is 4-3 vs. Arizona, including a 1-1 mark at home... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2015, making 21-straight seasons for Rice to earn an NCAA appearance. The Blue & Gray has advanced into the NCAA tournament in 1995-96-97-98-99-00-01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09-10-11-12-13-14-15. The 2003 bid culminated with the Owls' first national championship... Rice played in the 1994-95-96 Southwest Conference tournaments (winning the final league title in `96), won the 1997-98-99 WAC tournaments, shared the 2000 WAC title with San Jose State before winning the 2001-02-03-04-05 titles outright. He won (or shared) C-USA regular season crowns in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, as well as the C-USA tournament championships in `06, `07, `09, `11, `13 and `14... Graham was named the WAC Coach of the Year in 1998, `99, `02 and the Co-Coach of the Year in `03. He was named the Keith LeClair C-USA Coach of the Year in `06, his first year in the league, and again in `07, `08, `10 and `11... Rice has seven appearances in the NCAA College World Series under Graham (1997, `99, `02, `03, `06, `07, `08)... Graham has led the Owls to number-one rankings for seven weeks during the 1999 season, for six weeks during the `01 campaign, two weeks in `02, six weeks in 2003 (the last of which established some staying power), three weeks in 2004, 12 weeks in 2006 and five weeks in `07... Graham's San Jacinto Gators dominated the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., in the 1980s, winning five national titles in six years (1985-86-87, 89-90)... The Austin American-Statesman named Graham its SWC Coach of the Year in `95 after he led the Owls to their first NCAA tournament appearance... Collegiate Baseball was especially cognizant of Graham's efforts at San Jac. He was named the newspaper's Coach of the Decade for all levels in the 1980s after winning those five junior college national titles, and CB tabbed him the NJCAA Coach of the Century... He was named the 2007 Division I college Coach of the Year by FieldTurf... One of the few current collegiate head coaches to have played in the major leagues (N.Y. Mets in 1963, Philadelphia in 1964), Graham is aided by assistant coaches Patrick Hallmark (Rice, 1995, Brown College; 11th year), Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; fifth year) and Scott Shepperd (Concordia, 2007; fourth year)... On game days Van Hook coaches at third base while Shepherd coaches at first.

1,651 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,076 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,651 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,651-553 in a 35-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Possible Starting Pitchers
Coach Graham will announce Rice's starting pitchers for the Arizona series at a later time.

National Postseason Streak At 21-Straight
Rice baseball's 21-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament is the nation's fourth-longest active streak. In 2015 Miami (Fla.) made the field for the 43rd-consecutive year, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (38) and Cal State Fullerton (24). Rice's 21-straight NCAA Tournament bids is also now tied for the fourth-longest postseason streak in Division I baseball history (after Clemson saw its 21-year regional streak snapped in 2008).

Conference Titles Streak Now At 20-Straight
Rice has been to the NCAA Tournament 21-straight times. The team's streak of conference titles has been just one behind (20-straight years)... The Owls have won or shared a total of 20-straight conference championships (including either regular season and/or conference tournament titles) dating back to 1996. The streak covers membership in three different leagues beginning with the Southwest Conference (1996), to nine seasons in the Western Athletic Conference (1997-2005) and now ten C-USA titles in as many years. The Owls won the 2015 C-USA regular season title by a comfortable 2.5-game margin. Here is a closer look at Rice's title run the last 20 years:
Year Conf.    Regular Season    Conf. Tourney
2015 C-USA          1st            tied 7th
2014 C-USA          1st              1st
2013 C-USA        tied 1st           1st
2012 C-USA          1st            tied 5th
2011 C-USA        tied 1st           1st
2010 C-USA          1st              2nd
2009 C-USA          2nd              1st
2008 C-USA          1st            tied 7th
2007 C-USA          1st              1st
2006 C-USA          1st              1st
2005 WAC            1st           no tourney
2004 WAC            1st           no tourney
2003 WAC            1st           no tourney
2002 WAC            1st           no tourney
2001 WAC            1st           no tourney
2000 WAC          tied 1st        no tourney
1999 WAC            1st              1st
1998 WAC       1st South Div.        1st
1997 WAC       1st South Div.        1st
1996 SWC          tied 6th           1st

Owls Ink Ten In Early Signing Period
The Rice baseball program has signed nine high school standouts in the early period who will join the team for the 2017 season. The list of newest Owls includes Matt Canterino, Garrett Gayle, Brad Gneiting, Addison Moss, Mackenzie Mueller, Sean Reynolds, Chace Sarchet, Nick Silber, and Zach Wright. The group consists of three multi-position players who are versatile enough to contribute as both a pitcher and position player/hitter. Four are pitchers (only) and there are two outfielders. Eight are from the high school ranks. Seven are from Texas and three are from the greater Houston area..

Rice Since 1999
Using the 1999 season as the starting point (the year the NCAA expanded the postseason tournament field to 64 teams with the current Super Regional format), Rice baseball has maintained one of the nation's top win percentages over the last 17 years. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999 to 2015:
Team    Years    Wins    Loses    Ties    PCT
Florida St.    17    835    299    1    .736
Rice    17    799    302    0    .726
North Carolina    17    763    325    1    .701
South Carolina    17    780    337    0    .698
Cal St. Fullerton    17    739    324    0    .695
LSU    17    762    333    6    .695
Miami (FL)    17    732    330    3    .689
Texas    17    747    341    1    .686
Coastal Caro.    17    714    331    0    .683
Oral Roberts    17    695    323    0    .683
Arizona St.    17    672    312    2    .683
Georgia Tech    17    708    352    1    .668
Virginia    17    684    355    3    .658
Nebraska    17    666    365    2    .646
Clemson    17    709    392    1    .644
Col. of Charleston    17    645    361    1    .641
East Carolina    17    659    369    3    .641
TCU    17    667    375    0    .640
Stanford    17    659    372    2    .639
Florida Atlantic    17    651    370    1    .637
Oregon St.    17    624    356    1    .637
Florida    17    685    391    2    .636
Tulane    17    658    377    2    .635
Oklahoma St.    17    651    375    0    .635
Texas A&M    17    669    392    3    .630
Louisville    17    654    386    1    .629
Wichita St.    17    660    390    0    .629
Kent St.    17    631    373    0    .628
Notre Dame    17    633    376    5    .627
Southern    17    494    295    0    .626
Vanderbilt    17    658    395    0    .625
Ohio St.    17    622    379    1    .621
UL-Lafayette    17    646    395    1    .620
Southern Miss.    17    636    390    1    .620

The Last Meeting
Arizona4(10 inn)
February 22, 2015
Tucson, Ariz.
Owls Claim Weekend Series At Arizona With 6-4 Win Sunday In 10 Inn.
Rice rallied for two runs in the top of the tenth inning and then hung on for 6-4 road victory at Pac-12 foe Arizona Sunday afternoon in Tucson, Ariz. With the win the Owls claimed the weekend series two-games-to-one.





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