Rice Baseball Closes Road Swing Tuesday at UH;
Owls Return Home To Host Red Hot ODU On Friday
The Rice baseball team, 10-9 overall and tied for second place in the Conference USA standings with a 2-1 league record, closes out its current four-game road swing on Tuesday night (March 22). The Owls play one game at crosstown rival Houston before returning home for a three-game C-USA weekend series against league-leader Old Dominion (March 25-27). First pitch against UH is set for 6:30 pm at Cougar Field. It’s the first of a three meetings this season vs. Houston where the annual Silver Glove Trophy is on the line. UH is scheduled to visit Reckling Park on May 10. The third meeting between the crosstown foes is set for the neutral site of Constellation Field in Sugar Land on May 17.
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.
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.
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 1,086-451 with the Owls (648-167 at home, 340-215 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 81-32 vs. Houston; He is 4-4 vs. Old Dominion... 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.
1,661 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,086 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,661 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham’s overall “collegiate record” is 1,661-564 in a 35-year coaching career that began in 1981.
Wayne Graham Radio Show Airs Monday Nights
The Wayne Graham Radio Show, the live weekly Rice baseball show featuring coach Wayne Graham, airs on Monday nights at 7 pm through the remainder of the season. The show originates from The Genghis Grill Restaurant between Wesleyan and Edloe on the Southwest Freeway. It airs in the Houston area on Yahoo! Sports Radio 1560 AM, and around the world on RiceOwls.com. Coach Graham will review games from the previous weekend and preview upcoming series. In addition to discussions on college baseball’s national rankings and chase for the C-USA championship, each week’s show will include current members of the team, former Owl players and special guests. Fans will have a chance to interact via Twitter and can now catch the game on their phone by downloading the “Tune In” app. The show is a unique opportunity for baseball enthusiasts to get direct insight from one of the college game’s most successful icons who was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame and who has more than 1,000 Division I wins.
Here’s Who’s Hot
In the last eight games sophomore centerfielder Ryan Chandler is 14-for-27 (.519) with eight runs scored. He’s also doubled five times for a .704 slugging percentage, and walked five times and been hit by a pitch for a .606 on-base average... For the full season true freshman Ford Proctor is batting .354 (23-of-65) with a .446 slugging percentage. The Beaumont, Texas, native extended his current hitting streak to 18 games on Sunday at UTSA with a double to left-center field in his final at bat in the ninth inning. In looking at Proctor’s hitting more-recently, the rookie is 12-for-his-last 31 (.387) with seven RBI in the last eight games.
Previous Game: Owls Defeat UTSA Sunday, 2-1
SAN ANTONIO – The Rice baseball team pushed across one run on just three hits, and the Owl pitching tandem of Ricardo Salinas and Glenn Otto made it stand up by combining for a shutout in the finale of the three-game weekend series Sunday afternoon in San Antonio... Rice, now 10-9 on the season, claimed the weekend road series two games to one. UTSA moved to 10-9 overall and 1-2 in conference... In a game where runs would prove to be at a premium, defensive plays and pitching were the day’s hot commodity. The Owls had so much of both, it seemed the team had cornered the market... In each of the first two innings Rice made successful throws to the plate to retire UTSA runners attempting to score. Dayne Wunderlich was the first in the first with a throw from left field. Charlie Warren then delivered a rocket shot from right to throw out another in the second... UTSA was on the attack with men on second and third base with no one out in the third inning. Salinas pitched his way out of trouble to keep the Roadrunners off the board, and that seemed to give the Owls a lift... The top of the fourth was where Rice struck for the day’s lone score. Ryan Chandler dropped a one-out single into right-center and moved to second on Ford Proctor’s two-out walk. The duo executed a double-steal, but a Roadrunner throw on the play was off the mark at third and got away from the defense. Chandler alertly dashed home for the 1-0 advantage... UTSA came back with runners on second and third base and one out in the fourth, and then first and third in the fifth, but Salinas stopped both threats with inning-ending strikeouts... In the bottom of the sixth, senior catcher Hunter Kopycinski made sharp throw to remove a would-be base-stealer. Salinas had been solid striking out five in 5.2 innings of the shutout, but two walks in the frame was enough to bring Otto out of the bullpen. With Otto in a groove the shut-down for the next 3.1 innings was all but underway... Otto stuck out the first batter he saw to end the sixth. UTSA leadoff batter Skyler Valentine started the bottom of the seventh with a hard shot to right-center field, but Warren was on his horse and made a sensational leaping catch across his body for the out... The defensive gem was the best of the day. Otto, however, saw to it there would not be a need for another. The right-hander from Spring, Texas, proceeded to strike out seven of the next eight batters he faced to end the game for the narrow 1-0 win. In earning his third save of the season Otto fanned eight of the ten batters he faced. He did not allow a hit nor a walk in his 3.1 innings of work... Salinas moved to 2-1 with his second-straight win. Chandler finished with two of the Owls three hits. Proctor extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a double to left-center field in his last at bat of the day in the ninth inning.
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
3-1 in gray ‘birds’ tops
1-0 in blue tops with white pants
1-1 in blue tops with pinstripe pants
Conference Openers & Opening Conference Series
The Owls are now 14-6 in conference openers dating back to 1997. The Blue & Gray have also won 16 of the last 20 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 193-62 (.757).
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.
Rice Baseball Returns To Radio Airwaves
Rice baseball will return to the broadcast airwaves for 14 games in 2016 as part of an agreement between Rice IMG Sports Properties and ESPN Deportes Houston (1180 am). The 14 games marks the second-consecutive season that Rice Baseball has been available on radio in the Houston area. The slate of games began on Feb. 24 and continues into May. The 14 broadcasts feature 11 home games and all three games played at Minute Maid Park. The upcoming radio games are among the Owls’ biggest non-conference games of the season, including national power Texas A&M (April 5) and crosstown foe Houston (May 10). Be sure and listen to 1180 AM for C-USA games vs. Western Kentucky (April 17), Charlotte (full series) and Florida Atlantic (full series) in the weeks ahead.
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