Friday Now A Double-Header at WKU; Sunday Finale Still 12 Noon

April 23, 2015

LISTEN online (pregame show 15 min. before start)
PDF of Rice's latest pregame release

April 24 (Fri.) 3 pm; Rice at WKU
Watch the game on the web
GameTracker (activates at game time)

April 24 (Fri.) 6 pm; Rice at WKU
Watch the game on the web
GameTracker (activates at game time)

April 26 (Sun.) 12 Noon; Rice at WKU
No OwlVision this game due to telecast on American Sports Network.
GameTracker (activates at game time)

Rice Baseball, 26-16 overall and 14-7 in Conference USA, returns to league play April 24-26 with a three-game weekend series at Western Kentucky. The schedule has changed from some earlier listings due to weather conditions expected in the area. There are now two games Friday at Denes Field in Bowling Green, Ky., and no game on Saturday. Start times Friday are now 3 pm and 6 pm. Sunday's contest remains slated for a noon start.

It's T.V. Time Sunday Afternoon
Sunday's game has been selected for a live television broadcast. The American Sports Network, a leader in televising collegiate competitions across the country, is bringing the Rice-WKU clash to the nation. Broadcast veterans Dave Armstrong and former major leaguer Keith Moreland have the TV call Sunday.

Watch C-USA Games On OwlVision All Access
Most C-USA games are slated for a live on-line video broadcast on 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.

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. 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 seventh season as the regular voice of the Owls. The veteran broadcaster has the call this weekend.

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, 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.

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 2015 season is, however, only the Owls' 99th 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 1,972 - 1,544 - 9.

National Rankings Update · Owls No. 16
The Owls are as high as No. 16 in the national college baseball writer's poll. Here's a closer look at some of the latest national rankings, and changes from last week (as available at press time):
Poll Current Previous
NCBWA 16 16
USA Today/ESPN 17 16
College Sports Madness 24 25
Baseball America nr nr
D1Baseball.com nr nr
Collegiate Baseball Magazine nr nr
PerfectGame.com nr 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 24th season at Rice. The 2015 campaign marks his 35th year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 1,065-436 with the Owls (638-161 at home, 330-214 on the road and 97-61 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .710, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .710 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 114 games in a single year... Graham's record vs. this weekend's opponent is: 1-0 vs. WKU... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2014, making 20-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. 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 and 2014, 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 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; tenth year), Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; fourth year) and Scott Shepperd (Concordia, 2007; third year)... On game days Van Hook coaches at third base while Shepherd coaches at first.

1,640 Wins · A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,065 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,640 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,640-547 in a 33-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 Conference USA championship, each week's show will include current members of the team, former Owl players and special guests. There will be some Rice give-away items at the show and fans will have a chance to interact via Twitter. 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.

Starting Pitchers
Coach Graham announced Friday's probable starting pitchers for the WKU series as redshirt junior right-hander Jordan Stephens (4-3, 3.71) in game one, followed by junior right-hander Kevin McCanna (4-3, 3.86) in game two. Coach Graham will announce the final starter at a later time.
· After being sidelined most of last season, Jordan Stephens has worked his way back into a weekend starter's role. Slowly bringing the veteran back into the mix has paid-off. The redshirt junior from Alvin, Texas, made his fifth start of the season last Saturday vs. UTSA. Against Middle Tennessee he had an outing where he was named the C-USA co-Pitcher of the Week. So far in 34.0 innings Stephens has held all hitters to a composite .224 batting average with 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings. His strikeouts-to-walks ratio is 5.6-to-1. A start Saturday would be the 34th of his collegiate career. A week ago vs. UTSA he reached the 200 strikeout plateau for his career.
· Kevin McCanna is a veteran with 43 appearances in his collegiate career, including 27 starting assignments. In ten starts this year facing the Friday night pitchers from Texas, Arizona, Stanford, Middle Tennessee, UTSA, Southern Miss, UAB, Old Dominion, Charlotte and LA Tech, McCanna owns a 3.86 ERA in 58.1 innings of work. He has held opposing batters to a composite .278 average with 7.6 strikeouts per 9.0 innings, and maintained a 3.1-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio... A year ago McCanna began 2014 as the "Sunday" pitcher in the weekend rotation (in addition to four relief appearances and one midweek start), before being promoted to a new "Friday night" role for the remainder of the year. McCanna thrived as the series-opening pitcher, winning 5-of-7 outings.

Orewiler Named A C-USA Co-Pitcher of the Week
IRVING, Tex. - Rice's Austin Orewiler has been named a Conference USA Baseball co-Pitcher of the Week for April 13-19, the league office announced Monday (April. 20) from its headquarters in Irving, Texas... Orewiler shared the league's Pitcher of the Week honor with UTSA's Chance Kirby. Western Kentucky's Anderson Miller was named the C-USA Hitter of the Week... Orewiler notched both a win and a save in his two appearances on the week. The right-hander started and defeated No. 25 ranked crosstown rival Houston with 6.0 shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out a career-high 11 batters. He then came back and notched a save against C-USA opponent UTSA on Saturday with the tying run on second base and the go-ahead run on first. For the week, Orewiler worked a total of 6.1 frames without allowing any runs. He held all opposing hitters to a composite .095 batting average... Kirby pitched the first complete game of his career in only his third start, leading the Roadrunners to a 7-1 win at Rice on Sunday. He struck out a career-high nine batters and did not allow a walk. Miller won the league's batting honor after reaching base 11 times, hitting home runs in three of four games and driving in nine runs for the Hilltoppers. He batted 7-for-17 (.412) with nine RBI, four walks, three home runs, a stolen base and six runs scored.

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 183-60 (.753).

Previous Outing: Owls Fall In Series Finale vs. UTSA, 7-1
HOUSTON - The UTSA baseball team added four late runs to break a 3-1 game wide open for a 7-1 final over the Rice Owls Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park... Rice won the C-USA weekend series two-games-to-one and is now 26-16 on the season and 14-7 in conference. The Roadrunners improved to 23-17 overall and 9-8 in league play... The Owls had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning with one away and two runners on base. UTSA right-hander Chance Kirby worked out of the jam and proceeded to pitch a complete game to improve to 4-1 on the season... In the top of the third the Roadrunners drew a leadoff walk and scored a run on just one hit. UTSA added two more in the fifth on a pair of hits and an Owl fielding error to take a 3-0 lead... Rice struck for a run in the sixth. Ford Stainback lined his second hit of the day and then opportunistically hustled for an extra station as the Roadrunners mishandled the ball in the outfield. Stainback sprinted for third base on a fly out and was driven home by John Clay Reeves for a 3-1 game with three full innings to play... UTSA responded with four big runs in the top of the seventh. The frame was a mix of Rice making two different fielding errors and two UTSA home runs, including a three-run shot by C.J. Pickering after the Owls should have been safely out of the inning... Rice was able to get baserunners in the seventh and eighth, but UTSA held on for the 7-1 final. Stainback and Connor Teykl both paced the Blue & Gray with two hits. In the weekend series Stainback went a combined 5-for-9 with four RBI and a run scored. The senior from Dallas also drew two walks and was hit by a pitch for a .571 on-base percentage.

Reeves On Johnny Bench Award Watch List
WICHITA, Kansas - Rice senior John Clay Reeves has been named to the official watch list for the 2015 Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher... The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com. The inaugural watch list consists of 75 players from across the country... So far this season Reeves owns a .347 batting average with a team-leading 45 RBI in the Owls' 42 games. The Monroe, La., native and Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year belted his seventh home run of the season in the Owls' 9-8 victory at UTSA (April 18). He has scored 25 runs and maintained a steady .535 slugging percentage with a .441 on-base average... The Johnny Bench Award watch list will be narrowed down semifinalists on May 14. Ballots will be sent to a national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 2, 2015. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 18th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 25, 2015... A 1989 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Johnny Bench was twice named the Most Valuable Player in the National League and a 14-time MLB All-Star. While Bench is remembered for his offense, he may have had the greatest impact behind the plate. He was the first receiver to use a protective helmet in the field and introduced catching techniques that have become the foundation for how the position is played today.

Here's Who's Hot
Over the last eleven games senior second baseman Ford Stainback is an eye-opening 21-for-41 (.512) with two triples and two doubles for a .659 slugging percentage. He also has also drawn eight walks for a .577 on-base average, scored a team-best 12 runs, stole a base, and been error-free in the field in 43 chances. Stainback has hit safely in 15 of the last 16 games and reached base safely in each of the last 17 outings... When John Clay Reeves was sidelined recently, junior reserve catcher Hunter Kopycinski made the most of his new playing time and it's been hard to keep him out of the lineup. Kopycinski enters the weekend on a 15-for-33 (.455) pace with a double, six RBI, nine runs scored and a .525 on-base average... Over the last 15 games junior first baseman Connor Teykl has gone 23-for-55 (.418) to help raise his season batting average 61 points. The hot stretch includes his first career home run on April 4, as well as 13 RBI and six walks for a .484 on-base percentage... Sophomore outfielder Charlie Warren stretched his hitting streak to six games. In addition to a 7-for-20 (.350) pace with two doubles, six RBI, four runs scored and a .450 slugging percentage, Warren has also contributed two sac flys and drawn a pair of walks... Keep an eye on junior third baseman Grayson Lewis, who is now 5-for-14 (.357) with two doubles and four walks for a .500 on-base average.

Stainback Continues Career Climb In Record Books
Senior second baseman Ford Stainback enters the weekend with 817 at bats in his collegiate career. He now needs only five more at bats to tie
Michael Fuda (822 at bats from 2008-2012) for No. 5 all-time. Stainback has also played in 214 games during his collegiate career, the eighth-highest total in school history. He now needs just one more game played to tie Donald Allen (219 games from 1989-1992) for No. 7 all-time.

Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion-minded, Rice's 2015 W-L records while wearing the various uniforms is as follows:
9-1 in the white `birds' top
6-3 in all-white,
7-4 in blue tops with pinstripe pants,
3-4 in the gray `birds' top
1-3 in all-gray,
0-1 in the home alternate (`Old English R')

 

 

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