Owls Open C-USA Action Friday at UTSA

E-mail baseball SID John Sullivan
PDF of Rice's latest pregame release

Mar. 18 (Fri.) 2 pm; Rice at UTSA
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Mar. 19 (Sat.) 2 pm; Rice at UTSA
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Mar. 20 (Sun.) 1 pm; Rice at UTSA
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Rice Baseball Opens C-USA Action Friday at 2 PM;
Owls Travel To UTSA For Three-Game Series
The Rice baseball team (8-8 overall) opens Conference USA league play with a three-game weekend series at UTSA on March 18-20. The start times against the Roadrunners (9-7) are set for a new 2 pm first pitch on Friday, 2 pm Saturday and 1 pm on Sunday. Rice's weekend trip to San Antonio marks only the second time this year for the Blue & Gray to play outside the city of Houston since the start of the season on Feb. 19.

Watch C-USA Games Online Via OwlVision All-Access
All C-USA league games are slated for a live on-line video broadcast by OwlVision All Access. OwlVision is a subscription-based service which matches the play-by-play audio with a video feed to create a television-like broadcast on the Internet (either live or in an archived format). Information about the service and subscription prices are available at RiceOwls.com. Games that have been selected for TV broadcasts alter the OwlVision availability.

Play-By-Play Audio 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.

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.

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.

NCAA RPI Is On The Way; Owls No. 37 In 2015
If you have disdain for the politics of the various baseball polls and prefer the cold, hard math of the NCAA's official Rating Power Index (RPI), you'll have to wait a little longer. The NCAA is not scheduled to release the official RPI just yet. A year ago the Owls had the No. 37 RPI in the nation.

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 1,084-450 with the Owls (648-167 at home, 338-214 on the road and 98-69 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .707, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .707 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 114 games in a single year... Graham is 16-3 vs. UTSA... 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.

1,659 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,084 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,659 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,659-563 in a 35-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Possible Starting Pitcher
Coach Graham announced Rice's probable starting pitcher for the C-USA opener as veteran right-hander Jon Duplantier (1-2, 3.33). The remaining pitchers will be announced by coach Graham later. Duplantier had a sensational outing on March 4 vs. UCF where he was named both the C-USA Pitcher of the Week and National Pithcer of the Week according to CollegeSportsMadness.com. He's pitched at least 6.0 innings in starts against UCF and national powers Arizona, Arkansas and East Carolina. The Katy, Texas, native averages an eye-opening 10.7 strikeouts per 9.0 innings with 3.2 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

Here's Who's Hot
Two true freshmen are currently 1-2 on the Owls in individual hitting. The first, shortstop Ford Proctor, is batting .364 (20-of-55) with a .455 slugging percentage. Proctor also extended his current hitting streak to 15 games Tuesday vs. TCU... The second rookie, catcher Dominic DiCaprio, is hitting at a .360 clip (9-for-25) with six RBI in seven starts during the month of March. He also has three doubles for a .480 slugging percentage... In the last five games sophomore centerfielder Ryan Chandler is 8-for-17 (.471) with five runs scored. He's also doubled three times for a .647 slugging percentage, and walked three times and been hit by a pitch for a .571 on-base average... Andrew Dunlap is a combined 4-for-10 (.400) with a home run and two doubles the last three games. He's also driven-in a total of four runs and scored three times.

Previous Game: No. 7 TCU Slips Past Rice In 9th Inning, 6-4
HOUSTON - Visiting TCU scored three runs in the eighth inning and two in the ninth to claim a 6-4 win over the Rice baseball team Tuesday evening at Reckling Park in Houston... Rice held a 4-1 lead over the No. 7 ranked Horned Frogs with just six outs to go in the contest. TCU drew four walks in a three-run eighth to tie the game, 4-4. The Frogs took their first lead of the night in the ninth, scoring two runs on a hit, a walk and Rice fielding error. The Owls put the leadoff man on base to start the bottom of the inning, but TCU turned a double play before closing out the 6-4 final... Rice, now 8-8 overall, played well to get into position to defeat the ranked foe. The Owls were the first on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman Ford Proctor extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single to left and moved into scoring position on a balk. He advanced to third on a grounder to the right side and scored on Dane Myers` bunt single... TCU answered with a tying run in the third, but Rice avoided further damage with sharp relay throws to get an advancing baserunner after Cam Warner's RBI single. The Blue & Gray moved in front with two in the fifth. Andrew Dunlap ripped a one-out double to left, Myers walked, and both advanced on a ground out. Junior Charlie Warren laced a two-out single to right-center to drive home both runs to make it a 3-1 game... The Owls added another in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Dominic DiCaprio doubled near the right field line. He scored from second on Proctor's second hit of the night, a two-out base hit up the middle to extend the margin to 4-1... Six Rice pitchers, Jackson Parthasarathy, Zach Esquivel, Evan Kravetz, Glenn Otto, Austin Solecitto and Myers all saw action on the night. Kravetz posted the longest outing of his collegiate career. The freshman from Miami, Fla., worked 3.1 shutout frames while allowing just one base hit in a no-decision.

Salinas Named C-USA Pitcher of the Week
IRVING, Texas - Rice's Ricardo Salinas has been named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week for Mar. 7-13, the league office announced Monday (Mar. 14) from its headquarters in Irving, Texas... Salinas posted a new career-long with 8.0 innings pitched and tied his career-best with six strikeouts in a victory against No. 19 East Carolina on Sunday. The right-hander from Houston held the heavy-hitting Pirates in check, scattering five singles and just one walk to earn his first win of the season and help Rice take the weekend series two games to one. He held 25 ECU batters faced to a composite .200 average. This is the first time that Salinas has been named Pitcher of the Week, but the second-straight week for a Rice hurler after Jon Duplantier earned the honor on March 7... Charlotte freshman DH Drew Ober was named the C-USA Hitter of the Week. Ober batted .474 (9-for-19) with four runs scored, three walks, two RBI and a .565 on-base percentage.

Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion-minded, Rice's 2016 W-L records while wearing the various uniforms is as follows:
3-3 in all-white
2-4 in pinstripes
1-0 in blue tops with white pants
1-0 in blue tops with pinstripe pants
1-1 in gray `birds' tops

Conference Openers & Opening Conference Series
The Owls are 13-6 in conference openers dating back to 1997. The Blue & Gray have also won 15 of the last 19 three-game series to begin conference play.

Solid In C-USA Regular Season
Since its first Conference USA baseball campaign in the spring of 2006, Rice's regular-season record in C-USA league games is 191-61 (.758).

Conference Titles Streak Now At 20-Straight
Rice's streak of consecutive conference titles is 20-straight years (just one behind its NCAA streak)... 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

Did You Know? Part I
Jon Duplantier's 14 strikeouts against UCF was the most by an Owl in a single game since Eddie Degerman fanned 14 against Baylor in an NCAA Regional in 2006. Between the Degerman and Duplantier games, there were three Owls to post 13 strikeouts in a game: Ryan Berry vs. Southern Miss in 2008, Matthew Reckling vs. Grambling in 2012, and Austin Kubitza vs. Hawaii in 2013. The last time an Owl had 15 strikeouts in a game was Joe Savery vs. Fresno State on April 30, 2005. The most before that was Degerman with 16 vs. Louisiana Tech on April 9, 2005, to tie for the third-highest single-game total in Rice history.

Did You Know? Part II
In the series finale vs. national power Arizona (Feb. 21), sophomore Dane Myers had two triples in the 4-3 Rice win. The last Owl to do that eventual major leaguer Josh Rodriguez vs. Miami-Ohio in 2004. Rice had two triples in a 2013 win vs. Marshall.

Two More Games Picked Up By TV, Total Now Five Overall
Two more Rice baseball games have been selected for a television broadcast for the upcoming 2016 season under the FOX Sports banner. The Owls' April 22 contest at C-USA foe Southern Miss is now a TV game. The second selection is the May 13 home game vs. Florida Atlantic. Note the start time for both is now 7 pm due to the respective broadcasts on Fox Sports 2... The Owls also had three College Classic games televised by ROOT Sports.

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).

Owls Ink Nine 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 1999-2015 (this listing do not include games played in 2016):
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





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