April 21 (Fri.) 2 pm (Central Time); Rice at WKU - Game 1 of Double-header
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Apr. 23 (Sun.) 12 Noon (Central Time); Rice at WKU
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New Schedule Set For Rice's C-USA Series At Western Kentucky
The Rice baseball team (13-25 overall and 4-11 in Conference USA action) opens a three-game road series on Friday (April 21). The Owls meet C-USA foe Western Kentucky in a weekend series lasting thru Sunday (April 23). The Hilltoppers are 12-26 on the year and have a 4-11 league record. Note the new listings for game times due to expected weather conditions in the Bowling Green, Ky., area. Friday is now a double-header scheduled to start at 2 pm, while Sunday's game is set for 12 noon Central Time.
Watch C-USA Games Online
The C-USA league games this weekend are slated for a live online video broadcast. The subscription-based service for C-USA games 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). Games that have been selected for TV broadcasts can alter the online availability.
Play-By-Play Audio On The Web
Every Rice baseball game is scheduled for a live audio broadcast on the Internet at RiceOwls.com. Tune-in to the broadcast's pregame show 15 minutes before first pitch. J.P. Heath is in his ninth season as the voice of the Owls.
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 links on the Rice Athletics front page, the weekly series preview, and/or the baseball schedule page.
Follow The Tweeting Rice Owls
The official Rice baseball Twitter account is @RiceBaseball while the Rice Athletics department is @RiceAthletics. Twitter is perhaps the fastest way to get weather-related changes to the schedule/updated start times.
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 26th season at Rice. The 2017 campaign marks his 38th year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 1,127-491 with the Owls (670-185 at home, 354-235 on the road and 103-71 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .697, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .697 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 113 games in a single year... Graham is 7-0 vs. Western Kentucky (4-0 home, 3-0 road)... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2016, making 22-straight seasons for Rice to earn an NCAA appearance. The Blue & Gray has advanced into the NCAA tournament in 1995-96-97-98-99-00-01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09-10-11-12-13-14-15-16. 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 Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; sixth year), John Pope (Rice, 1990, Jones College; 1st year), and Scott Shepperd (Concordia, 2007; fifth year)... On game days Van Hook coaches at third base while Shepherd coaches at first.
1,702 Collegiate Wins A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,127 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,702 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,702-603 in a 35-year coaching career that began in 1981.
Wayne Graham Radio Show Airs Monday Nights
The new season of The Wayne Graham Radio Show, the live weekly Rice baseball show featuring the Owls' Hall of Fame head coach, returned to its usual Monday night slot at 7 pm on March 27. The show originates from The Genghis Grill Restaurant off the Southwest Freeway between Wesleyan and Edloe, runs through the remainder of the season. It airs in the Houston area on SB Nation 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 show on their phone by downloading the "Tune In" app. The show is a unique opportunity for baseball fans 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 1,100 Division I wins.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Coach Graham announced Rice's probable starting pitchers for the first two games of the WKU series as the right-handed duo of junior Dane Myers (0-4, 4.54) and true freshman Matt Canterino (2-4, 3.73). Coach Graham will announce the starter for Sunday's series finale at a later time.
National Postseason Streak At 22-Straight, Looking For 23 In 2017
Rice baseball's 22-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament is the nation's fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. Each of the top four streaks of making the NCAA Tournament are all of the active variety. In 2016 Miami (Fla.) made the field for the 44th-consecutive year, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (39) and Cal State Fullerton (25).
Here's Who's Hot
Not only was junior second baseman Tristan Gray a red-hot 8-for-13 (.615) in the Southern Miss series, he clubbed a home run and four doubles for a 1.154 slugging percentage... Graduate transfer Darryn Sheppard was 6-for-14 (.429) with a double, triple, and stolen base vs. Southern Miss... In Rice's four games last week sophomore catcher Dominic DiCaprio was a combined 9-for-16 (.563) with a double, a walk, and three runs scored... Shortstop Ford Proctor is 4-for-his-last-8 with two RBI, two runs scored and two walks for a .600 on-base percentage... Senior Charlie Warren has hit safely in eight-straight games to go 13-for-36 (.361) with two doubles and a team-best seven RBI... Senior outfielder Dayne Wunderlich, is 5-for-his-last-15 with a walk and hit-by-pitch for a .412 on-base percentage. Wunderlich batted leadoff for the third time this season in the C-USA series-opener vs. Southern Miss.
Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion-minded, Rice's 2017 W-L records while wearing the various uniforms is as follows:
5-6 in all-white
3-5 in all pinstripes
3-5 in gray `birds' jersey
1-3 in blue Cuba Tour jersey
1-3 in blue `Rice' jersey (with pinstripe pants)
0-3 in gray `Rice' jersey
Last Time Out: Southern Miss Takes Weekend Series at Rice
HOUSTON -- The No. 16 ranked Southern Miss baseball team scored in eight of the game's nine innings on the way to a 17-6 Conference USA win over the Rice baseball team on April 16 (Sun.) at Reckling Park... Early in the game Rice was in high-gear offensively. After Southern Miss quickly posted a run in the top of the first inning the Owls came right back with four in the bottom of the frame. Brad Gneiting drew a leadoff walk and hustled to third on Charlie Warren's single to right field. Gneiting scored on Dane Myers' game-tying single, but the Blue & Gray wasn't finished. Dominic DiCaprio walked to load the stations and Ford Proctor followed with a single to left to score two. A two-out Darryn Sheppard single scored DiCaprio to put Rice ahead 4-1... The Golden Eagles continued to fight, and came back for an unearned run in the second. In the top of the third, a one-out hit double, walk and hit batter loaded the bases. Matthew Guidry hit a grand slam to put USM back in front, 6-4. The Golden Eagles then proceeded to add three in the fourth, one run in the fifth, seventh and eighth, and five runs in the top of the ninth... Rice finished with six runs in a 12-hit attack. The Owls reached double-digit hits for the 20th time this season, including every game against nationally-ranked USM. The sophomore tandem of DiCaprio and Proctor both had three hits in the contest... The Owls are now 13-25 overall and 4-11 in C-USA league play. Southern Miss remained in sole possession of first place in the C-USA standings with a 12-3 conference ledger.
New Kid On The Block
Houston area native Darryn Sheppard joined the Rice baseball program in January 2017 as a graduate student of Global Affairs. He played the 2014-2016 seasons at Baylor and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. Sheppard owns one year of collegiate eligibility after playing in more than 140 games with 132 Division I starts. He slugged 14 career home runs with 76 runs scored, 63 RBI and 12 steals in three seasons as an outfielder/first baseman in the Big 12 Conference. His solid 2016 season featured a .294 batting average, a .480 slugging percentage and a team-leading eight home runs in 52 starts. The Sugar Land, Texas, native clubbed two homers in a Big 12 road game at Oklahoma last season and led the Bears with 11 games with two or more RBI. He finished third on the squad with 15 multi-hit games in 2016, and was the only Bear to record five hits in a single game.
This & That
Rice went 2-2 last week, but a closer look is in order as both opponents (Southern Miss and Houston) are both nationally-ranked in the Top 25... On Saturday vs. Southern Miss senior Charlie Warren collected the 200th base hit of his collegiate career. This season Warren has tallied three hits in a game six different times, the most on the squad in 2017. Over the weekend Warren extended his hitting streak to eight-straight games... The Blue & Gray tied its season high in hits (16) on Saturday vs. USM... Junior Ryan Chandler has started every game in centerfield since the start of his freshman year in 2015, a streak of 159-straight games... After just two steals in the team's first 14 games, Rice has now swiped 20 bases in the last 24 games. The Owls' three steals vs. Houston (April 11) tied the team's season-high set in the C-USA series-opener at Old Dominion (March 17). In addition to batting .397 in C-USA only games, junior Dane Myers registered a new career-high with eight steals... Rice is hitting a combined .314 (48-for-153) in the first inning, which has translated into also being the team's best inning for scoring runs (31 runs in 38 games)... Through the first nine starts of his collegiate career true freshman Matt Canterino is averaging 11.6 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. The rookie posted double-digit strikeouts in three-straight outings from March 4-17 (Pepperdine, Stanford and Old Dominion). The last Owl to do that was eventual major leaguer Jeff Niemann in the national championship season of 2003 (Wichita State, Houston and Southwest Missouri State). The Owls got one pitcher back from the injured list last weekend vs. Southern Miss. Redshirt freshman Jackson Parthasarathy appeared for the first time since getting sidelined early last March, and he ended up missing the whole 2016 C-USA season. Parthasarathy was sidelined a total of 380 days.
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 2018 season. The list of newest Owls includes Dane Acker, Luis Aviles, Justin Collins, Braden Comeaux, Dominic Cox, Trei Cruz, Joshua Larzabal, Parker Osburn and Kelby Weyler. The group consists of two multi-position players who are versatile enough to contribute as both a pitcher and position player/hitter. There are three infielders and three catchers. All are from the high school ranks. Seven are from Texas and five are from the greater Houston area.
Otto Garners A Host of Preseason All-America Honors
With a steady stream of Preseason All-America honors, Owl junior right-hander Glenn Otto will not have much chance to sneak up on opponents. The list of accolades for he and junior right-hander Ricardo Salinas are as follows:
Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball
RHP Glenn Otto
National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
RHP Glenn Otto
RHP Ricardo Salinas
RHP Glenn Otto, Rice
National Stopper of the Year Watch List
RHP Glenn Otto, Rice
Golden Spikes Award Watch List
RHP Glenn Otto, Rice
Legends of the Fall
Registering consistent off-season performances in the program's fall training period is still one of the best ways to catch a coach's attention in college baseball, and the Owls' 2016 fall training was no exception. Newcomer Brad Gneiting turned in sound and solid outings to earn himself playing time this spring. Gneiting was a tough out in Blue-Gray games, batting .302 from the left side and finishing tied for second on the squad in steals... Versatile sophomore Kendal Jefferies meanwhile showed big improvement as a right-handed pitcher, as did sophomore left-hander Evan Kravetz.
Owls Defeat Cuban Professional Team Last Fall
ARTEMISA, Cuba -- On Nov. 25, 2016, the Rice pitching duo of Dane Myers and Addison Moss combined to hold Cuban League foe Artemisa to no runs on just four hits when the Owls claimed a 4-0 overseas victory in its first and only game on its international tour last fall... Myers was sound and solid scattering two singles and two walks with five strikeouts over 6.0 innings against the older and professional Cuban players. The junior from Katy, Texas, retired seven of the first eight batters he faced. When the first Artemisa batter reached on a free pass, the Cazadores' dangerous slugging first-baseman Juan Rodriguez, Myers picked him off first with crafty move that seemed to spark Rice on offensive side in the top of the very next inning... Dayne Wunderlich was hit by a pitch and tried to hustle to third on Myers' one-out single into centerfield. Wunderlich was retired on a strong, veteran throw by Yuan Moreno, but Myers alertly dashed up to second on the play to keep an runner in scoring position. Sophomore Ford Proctor followed with an RBI single into left and los Buhos (the Owls) were on the board 1-0... Rice was back on the offensive when senior Charlie Warren led off the fifth with a hit to left center and a steal of second base. He went to third on a Wunderlich single and scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead... After the traditional Cuban sixth-inning stretch, the Owls added a little more insurance in the seventh. Proctor stroked a two-out double to left and with first base open Artemisa elected to intentionally walk Dominic DiCaprio. Ryan Chandler singled-home Proctor, and a wild throw from the outfield allowed DiCaprio to come home and stretch the margin to 4-0... That was now proving to be more than enough room. True freshman Addison Moss started the game at first base and switched positions in the field with Myers after the sixth. The right-hander from Conroe, Texas, kept the shutout intact and earned a save with 3.0 innings of two-hit relief where he allowed two singles and without any walks and a strikeout... "The experience of coming here has already been so beneficial, the game today was just icing on the cake," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham, who was making his return to Cuba since his minor league playing season at AAA Buffalo in 1960. "We've just been treated so well I know the players will remember this trip and this particular game very fondly. After the big (pregame) ceremony they had and all, we were maybe a little nervous at the very start," Graham explained. "When we just relaxed and started playing, we played really well. We finished with 11 hits and Dane was sensational like we know he can be."... Proctor and Wunderlich paced the Owls with three-hits each, and Myers had two hits in addition to his win on the mound... The Owls were originally scheduled to play five exhibition games on its educational and cultural tour of the previously `closed' island nation last November, but the death of longtime lead Fidel Castro (when the team was in Havana) forced a cancellation of the four remaining games. The Owl players, however, continued to make the rest of its itinerary destinations at various landmarks and museums.
Rice's 20-Straight Conference Titles From 1996-2015
Rice saw it's streak of winning 20-straight conference titles come to an end in 2016. The Owls had 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 covered 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 from 2006-2015. Here is a closer look at Rice's title run the last 21 years:
|Year||Conference||Regular Season||Conf. Tourney||2016||C-USA||4th||2nd||2015||C-USA||1st||tied 7th||2014||C-USA||1st||1st||2013||C-USA||tied 1st||1st||2012||C-USA||tied 1st||tied 5th||2011||C-USA||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|
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 18 years. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999-2016 (note: this listing will not be updated to include games played in 2017):
|School||W||L||T||Pct||Florida St.||876||321||1||.732||Rice||837||326||0||.720||South Carolina||826||355||0||.699||North Carolina||797||346||1||.697||LSU||807||354||6||.694||Miami (Fla.)||782||344||3||.694||Cal State Fullerton||775||347||0||.691||Costal Carolina||769||349||0||.688||Oral Roberts||733||344||0||.681||Arizona St.||708||335||2||.678||Texas||772||373||1||.674||Georgia Tech||746||377||1||.664||Virginia||722||377||3||.657||Clemson||753||412||1||.646||TCU||716||393||0||.646||Nebraska||703||387||2||.645||Florida||737||407||2||.644||East Carolina||697||392||4||.640||Florida Atlantic||690||389||2||.639||Louisville||704||400||2||.638||Texas A&M||718||408||3||.637||Oregon St.||659||375||1||.637||Tulane||699||398||2||.637||Oklahoma St.||694||397||0||.636||Stanford||690||395||2||.636||Col. of Charleston||676||387||2||.636||Kent State||675||387||0||.636||DBU (11 years)||409||236||0||.634||Vanderbilt||701||414||0||.629||Ohio St.||666||399||2||.625||UL-Lafayette||689||416||1||.623||Southern Miss||677||410||1||.623|