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Owls Continue Five-Game Road Stretch With C-USA Weekend Series at Tulane

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April 11, 2014

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Apr. 11 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Rice at Tulane
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Apr. 12 (Sat.) 2 pm; Rice at Tulane ;
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Apr. 13 (Sun.) 1 pm; Rice at Tulane;
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All times listed are Central Time. Internet features activate at game time.

The Rice baseball team, 23-12 overall and ranked as high as No. 20 in the nation, continues a rugged stretch of the schedule that features five-straight road games. The Owls are coming off a Tuesday night contest at nationally-ranked Texas and next face Tulane on April 11-13 in a Conference USA showdown in New Orleans. Game times against the Grren Wave are set for 6:30 pm Friday, 2 pm on Saturday, and 1 pm in the Sunday finale. The Blue & Gray close out the taxing road-stretch on April 15 at longtime foe Lamar. The Owls have only eight more home games the rest of the season.

 

Watch C-USA Games On OwlVision All Access

Most Conference 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). The service has been growing in popularity the last few years. Information about the service and subscription prices are available at RiceOwls.com.

 

Audio Broadcasts - Catch Every Rice Baseball Game On The Web

Every Rice baseball game this season will be broadcast live around the world on the Internet at RiceOwls.com. Tune-in to the pregame show 15 minutes before each game's first pitch. Fans attending home games can listen to the Rice broadcast at Reckling Park via an FM proximity transmitter. The FM frequencies for the in-stadium broadcasts at Reckling Park is 99.7 FM. J.P. Heath is back for his sixth season as the regular voice of the Owls. For some selected home games, "R" Association Director Jimmy Comerota will be joining in on the Rice broadcast and providing commentary from a former player's perspective.


 

 

 

National Rankings Update • Rice Ranked No. 20

Rice is nationally-ranked in a host of different college baseball polls. The Owls are No. 20 in the nation according to the latest USA Today/ESPN national coaches poll. Here's a closer look at some of the latest national rankings, and changes from the previous week:

Poll This Week Last Week
USA Today 20 14
Baseball America 21 12
NCBWA 21 14
PerfectGame.com 22 13
College Sports Madness 25 17
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 30 18

Live Stats On GameTracker

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

 

Follow The Tweeting Rice Owls

The official Rice baseball Twitter account is @RiceOwlsBSB while the Rice Athletics department is @RiceOwlsdotcom.

 

98th Season On The Baseball Diamond

Rice Owl baseball made its debut in the spring of 1913, just one semester after the school (then The Rice Institute) opened its doors for higher education in the fall of 1912. The 2014 season is, however, only the Owls' 98th season playing on the diamond. The school cancelled its baseball season in 1919 and did not field a team for three years (1933-35) during the Great Depression. Rice returned to the diamond in the spring of 1936 and has been playing ever since. The Rice baseball program's all-time record is 1,927 - 1,521 - 9.

 

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 23rd season at Rice. The 2014 campaign marks his 34th year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 1,020-412 with the Owls (611-150 at home, 316-202 on the road games and 93-59 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .712, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .712 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 115 games in a single year... Graham's record vs. this weekend's opponent is as follows: 26-7 vs. Tulane; Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2013, making 19-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. 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 and now 2013 as well as the C-USA tournament championships in `06, `07, `09, `11 and `13... 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 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; ninth year), Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; third year) and Scott Shepperd (Concordia, 2007; second year)... On game days Van Hook coaches at third base while Shepherd coaches at first.

 

The `Grand' Coach's 1,000th Rice Win

Wayne Graham posted his 1,000th Division I win in the team's 2014 home-opener against Texas State on Feb. 18. With no shortage of drama, the Owls rallied for that 4-3 victory in the bottom of the 11th inning. Graham entered the 2014 season ranked No. 15 on the NCAA's career wins list for active coaches.

 

1,594 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey

Wayne Graham owns 1,020 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,594 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,594-525 in a 33-year coaching career that began in 1981.

 

Starting Pitchers

Coach Graham will announced Rice's starting pitchers for the Tulane series at a later time. Though two of the staff's regular starters, Zech Lemond and Jordan Stephens, are currently sidelined, the head coach has a wealth of talented options including sophomore left-hander Blake Fox (7-0, 0.99), sophomore right-hander Kevin McCanna (2-2, 3.96), senior right-hander Chase McDowell (3-2, 2.11) and freshman right-hander Jon Duplantier (0-2, 2.63) to name just a few.

 

Previous Outing • Rice Thumps No. 7 Texas Tuesday Night             

AUSTIN -- Three Rice pitchers combined on a one-hitter, while the Owl offense was in high gear with 13 hits, as the Rice baseball team stormed to a 7-2 victory over No. 7 ranked Texas Tuesday night UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin. Rice came out swinging and started the scoring in the top of the second inning. Connor Teykl lined a leadoff base hit through the right side and Ford Stainback followed with a walk. Teykl hustled to third on fly-out to foul territory on the right side, and he trotted home on an RBI single by Charlie Warren. Texas came back and tied the game, but did so without getting a hit. Madison Carter drew a one-out walk and ended up taking two stations on a pair of wild pitches. He scored on a ground out by Zane Gurwitz that made it 1-1. The Owls quickly returned serve in the top of the third. Shane Hoelscher lined a leadoff double that landed just inside the right field line for his 200th career Rice hit. He advanced to third on John Clay Reeves' sacrifice bunt and sprinted home on Connor Teykl's grounder to first base for a 2-1 advantage. Rice erupted for five runs in the top of the fifth for its biggest offensive inning in three weeks. The Owls collected five hits, a walk and hit batsman while sending a total of ten men to the plate to stretch the margin to 7-1. Texas got one run back in the bottom of the frame. Gurwitz drew a one-out walk, went to second on a stolen base and scored on the Horns' first hit of the game by Ben Johnson. Caleb Smith started on the mound for the Blue & Gray and gave way to Trevor Teykl in the bottom of the second. Teykl went on to work a career-long 5.1 innings where he allowed one hit and two walks with three strikeouts. Freshman Jon Duplantier pitched the final 2.1 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out two. The pitchers enjoyed a steady defensive effort in the field that featured three double plays. Eight of the nine Owls in the batting order hit safely and four had two hits in the 13-hit attack. Hoelscher led all players with three hits, and he also drew a walk with two runs scored. Rice improved to 23-12 on the season. The Longhorns are now 26-8 overall, losing at home for only the fifth time all year.

 

Here's Who's Hot

Senior third baseman Shane Hoelscher extended his hitting streak to seven games where he is 13-for-27 with four doubles, seven runs scored, four RBI and four walks for a .548 on-base percentage. He collected the 200th hit of his Rice career Tuesday night in the win at Texas... Junior first baseman Skyler Ewing is a combined 5-for-13 (.385) in the last three games with a .429 on-base average... Freshman outfielder Charlie Warren is 3-for-his-last-7 (.429) with a pair of RBI.

 

The Last Meeting
Tulane7
Rice6
March 30, 2013
Reckling Park
Tulane Holds Off Rice's Late-Inning Comeback Bid For 7-6 Win Saturday
The Rice baseball team rallied from a late 7-1 deficit to pull within one and have the tying run on third base in the ninth inning before visiting Tulane could hold-on for a 7-6 Conference USA win over the Owls Saturday afternoon.


Take A Closer Look

Rice has 12 losses, but a closer look is in order. Five losses were to teams that were nationally-ranked when the Owls faced them. Another one of the losses was to a streaking Sam Houston State team that went on to enter Baseball America's national rankings that same week. Five losses were by a single run, and one of those was in extra innings. The final margin in seven of Rice's 12 losses has been two runs or less. Consider that the Owls have had a number of the its stars, including Jordan Stephens, Zech Lemond, Shane Hoelscher, Leon Byrd and John Clay Reeves, all sidelined at various points during the season.

 

Single Game Tickets For Texas and Texas A&M Are Now on Sale

Individual game tickets for the Rice baseball team's upcoming home game against longtime rival Texas A&M (April 22) is now on sale through the Athletics Tickets Office, including the on-line ticket page at RiceOwls.com. College baseball fans should not delay in purchasing tickets. Texas A&M is visiting Reckling Park for the first time since the 2011 season. Ticket prices start at $16 for adults and $10 for youths. Rice has just eight games remaining on the regular season home schedule. The Blue & Gray also host UAB, Houston Baptist and Louisiana Tech in the upcoming weeks. For more information please visit the Rice Ticket Office in Tudor Fieldhouse or call at 713-522-OWLS (6957).

 

Conference Titles Streak Reaches 18-Straight

Rice has won or shared a total of 18-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 eight C-USA titles in as many years. The Owls shared the 2013 regular season title with co-champion Southern Miss, then won the C-USA Tournament by defeating that same Golden Eagle squad in the title game. Here is a closer look at Rice's title run the last 18 years:

Year             Conf.        Regular Season      Conf. Tourney

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

 

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 158-51 (.756).

 

New-Look Conference USA

Seven new baseball-playing members (Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and UTSA) joined Conference USA for the 2014 season. Those seven members join returning schools East Carolina, Marshall, Southern Miss, Tulane, UAB and Rice to create a 13 team baseball league that will play a 30-game conference schedule this season. Here's how the incoming members did a year ago:

Team                       From...         Record      League

Florida Atlantic           Sun Belt         42-22         19-11

UTSA                        WAC              35-25         15-11

Charlotte                   Atlantic 10      37-23          17-7

Florida International   Sun Belt         26-32         13-17

Old Dominion            Colonial          30-24         15-12

Louisiana Tech          WAC              19-37          6-21

Middle Tennessee      Sun Belt         28-28         11-19

 

Florida Atlantic and UTSA each won their conference championships and participated in NCAA Regionals. FAU advanced to the Chapel Hill Regional final before losing to No. 1 national seed North Carolina in extra innings.

 

Postseason Streak At 19-Straight, Now Looking For 20

Rice baseball's 19-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament is the nation's fourth-longest active streak. In 2013 Miami (Fla.) made the field for the 41st-consecutive year, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (36) and Cal State Fullerton (22). Rice's 19-straight NCAA Tournament bids is the sixth-longest postseason streak in Division I baseball history.

 

19-Straight 40-Win Seasons

Rice enters the 2014 campaign with 19-straight seasons of posting at least 40 wins. `Forty' wins actually short-changes the feat a little. The Owls have secured at least 41 wins in 18 of the last 19 years.

 

Winning Is Always In Fashion

For the fashion-minded, Rice is 6-4 in its all-white uniforms, 3-1 in all-gray, 3-2 in blue tops with white pants, 2-1 in blue tops with gray pants, 8-2 in its new home alternate, and now 1-2 in the new road alternate. Acting on a suggestion Owl great Lance Berkman made to his former head coach Wayne Graham, Rice baseball announced a new addition to its uniform lineup for the 2014 season. Inspired by the iconic St. Louis Cardinals' jersey, the new alternate top features two owls perched atop a bat. With Adidas as the official uniform supplier for Rice Athletics, coach Graham took Berkman's suggestion and introduced something new. "We wanted to stay with our traditional look," said coach Graham, "but also be innovative and pay homage to a classic, beautiful look like that of the Cardinals. (The alternates) are simply an addition and a chance to showcase the owl mascot."

 

The 2014 Conference USA Favorites

IRVING, Tex. - With four preseason all-conference players, including Zech Lemond as the 2014 Preseason Pitcher of the Year, the Rice baseball team was picked to finish first in the league in the annual Conference USA head coaches' poll the C-USA office announced... The addition of seven new teams to the conference this season, and the departure of three from a year ago, has certainly changed the C-USA landscape. Coaches' respect for the Rice baseball program, however, has held steady. Twelve of the 13
C-USA head coaches voted Rice as the preseason favorite for 2014. No matter what teams have comprised the league membership since Rice joined in 2006, C-USA coaches have picked the Owls as the preseason favorite every year there has been a poll (officially eight-of-the-last-nine years as there was no coaches poll conducted in 2010). Rice's veteran standouts, including Lemond (Jr., RHP), and fellow C-USA preseason honorees Michael Aquino (Sr. OF), Shane Hoelscher (Sr., INF) and Jordan Stephens (Jr., RHP), have the full attention of the C-USA head coaches. The Owls also have a highly-touted group of incoming freshmen players making their Division I debut this spring.

 

2014 PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS (selected by C-USA's head coaches)

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Rice (12)

2. Florida Atlantic

3. East Carolina

4. Southern Miss

5. Tulane (1)

6. FIU

7. UTSA

8. Charlotte

9. Middle Tennessee

10. Old Dominion

11. UAB

12. Marshall

13. Louisiana Tech

(first place votes in parentheses)

 

CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

Drew Reynolds, East Carolina (Senior, DH/RHP)

Aramis Garcia, FIU (Junior, Catcher)

 

PITCHER OF THE YEAR

Zech Lemond, Rice (Junior, Right-hander)

 

PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

P Austin Gomber          Jr.     Florida Atlantic

P Jeff Hoffman            Jr.     East Carolina

P Jordan Stephens     Jr.    Rice

RP Zech Lemond        Jr.    Rice

C Aramis Garcia           Jr.     FIU

IF Brad Elwood            Jr.     Charlotte

IF Shane Hoelscher    Sr.    Rice

IF R.J. Perucki             Sr.    UTSA

IF Edwin Rios              So.   FIU

OF Michael Aquino     Sr.    Rice

OF Josh Eldridge          Jr.     Old Dominion

OF Ryan Stephens        Sr.    Middle Tennessee

OF Mason Robbins       Jr.     Southern Miss

DH/UT Drew Reynolds   Sr.    East Carolina

 

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 15 years. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999 to 2013 (does NOT include 2014 games):

Team                      Years    Wins   Loses  Ties   PCT

Florida State               15        748      261      1     .741

Rice                          15       720     260      0    .735

North Carolina             15        694      274      1     .717

Cal State Fullerton       15        666      275      0     .708

South Carolina            15        704      294      0     .705

Coastal Carolina          15        651      277      0     .702

Texas                        15        671      293      1     .696

Arizona State              15        604      265      2     .695

Oral Roberts               15        624      281      0     .690

Miami (Fla.)                15        638      294      3     .684

LSU                           15        662      305      5     .684

Georgia Tech              15        639      302      1     .679

Wichita State              15        672      329      0     .671

Stanford                     15        600      314      2     .656

Clemson                     15        641      338      1     .655

Southern                    15        464      246      0     .654

Virginia                      15        587      315      3     .650

Tulane                       15        600      323      2     .650

Nebraska                    15        591      321      2     .648

East Carolina              15        586      321      3     .646

Florida Atlantic            15        581      326      1     .640

Notre Dame                15        574      322      5     .640

Dallas Baptist              15        566      319      1     .639

Kent State                  15        564      328      0     .632

College of Charleston   15        556      327      1     .630

Florida                       15        593      350      2     .629

Ohio State                  15        557      331      1     .627

Oklahoma State          15        565      337      0     .626

Oregon State              15        540      324      0     .625

TCU                           15        568      342      0     .624

Texas A&M                 15        583      352      3     .623

Southern Miss             15        565      347      0     .620

Mississippi                  15        573      355      1     .617

Arkansas   15            572          355          1             .617

GAMEDAY CENTRAL
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