Baseball Hosts Lamar Wednesday Night

May 2, 2017

E-mail baseball SID John Sullivan
E-mail baseball promotions & game-music director Matt Anderson

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PDF of Rice's pregame release

May 3 (Wed.) 5 pm; Lamar at Rice
GameTracker (activates at game time)

Rice Closes Out Four-Game Homestand Wednesday; Owls Host Lamar At Reckling Park
The Rice baseball team (18-26 overall) closes out its current four-game homestand on Wednesday night (May 3). The Owls host longtime state foe Lamar (26-19) in a 5 pm contest at Reckling Park... Rice then heads to North Carolina to resume Conference USA league play May 5-7. The Owls face a red-hot Charlotte squad that is 27-17 overall, tied for third place in the C-USA standings, and winners in 10 of their last 11 games. Start times against the 49ers are set for 5:30 pm Friday, 1 pm Saturday and 12 noon Sunday. Friday's first pitch is a change from some earlier listings.

Watch Home Games Online Via OwlVision
Home games at Reckling Park are slated for a live on-line video broadcast via OwlVision. 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). Games that have been selected for TV broadcasts can alter the online availability.

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.

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.

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.

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 1,132-492 with the Owls (672-186 at home, 357-235 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 34-18 vs. Lamar (21-8 home, 13-10 road), and he is 5-1 vs. Charlotte (2-1 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.

1,707 Collegiate Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,132 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,705 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,705-603 in a 35-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Wayne Graham Radio Show Returns May 8 on ESPN 97.5 FM
The Wayne Graham Radio Show, the live weekly Rice baseball show featuring the Owls' Hall of Fame head coach, originates from The Genghis Grill Restaurant off the Southwest Freeway between Wesleyan and Edloe. Its regularly scheduled "off-week" was May 1, but the show returns on May 8 in a big way! The last two baseball shows (May 8 & 15) will now air live in the Houston area on ESPN 97.5 FM, 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 Pitcher
Coach Graham will announce the starting pitchers for this week's games 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 has junior second baseman Tristan Gray stretched his hitting streak to a season-best nine-straight games, the Houston native is 20-for-36 (.556) in that span with three home runs and seven doubles for a 1.000 slugging percentage... In his last 20 at bats Dane Myers is a combined 10-for-20 with a pair of home runs, a double and three walks. The junior third baseman/pitcher is batting an eye-opening .415 in the Owls' 21 C-USA games... Last week in the UTSA series sophomore catcher Dominic DiCaprio went 6-for-12 with a double, a walk and three runs scored... Graduate transfer Darryn Sheppard is 15-for-39 (.385) with two triples, three doubles, nine RBI, and eight runs scored in a season-best nine-game hitting streak... Sophomore Ford Proctor is 5-for-13 (.385) in a four-game hitting streak with four walks (.500 OB%) and four runs scored... In a current stretch of ten-straight games to reach base, junior Ryan Chandler is 13-for-32 (.406) with a homer, two doubles and three stolen bases, but he also has nine walks for a .523 on-base percentage with nine runs scored... Junior Chace Sarchet has put some good at bats together over the last few outings, going 6-for-his-last-18 (.333) with four doubles (.556 SLG%), four walks (.455 OB%), four RBI and four runs scored... Keep an eye on right-handed hitting DH Andrew Dunlap, who is now 3-for-his-last-6 (.500) with home run, three RBI and two runs scored.

Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion-minded, Rice's 2017 W-L records while wearing the various uniforms is as follows:
3-3 in blue `Rice' jersey (with pinstripe pants)
6-7 in all-white
4-5 in all pinstripes
4-5 in gray `birds' jersey
1-3 in blue Cuba Tour jersey
0-3 in gray `Rice' jersey

Last Time Out: Owls Win Sunday To Take Weekend Series vs. UTSA
HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team held off a late charge from visiting UTSA to claim a 6-5 Conference USA victory Sunday and take two of three games from the Roadrunners in the weekend series at Reckling Park in Houston... With the win Rice improved to 18-26 overall and held onto a tie for eighth place in the conference standings with a 9-12 C-USA ledger. UTSA is now 22-20 on the season and 10-11 in league play... Rice struck first with four runs on a total of five hits in the bottom of the first inning, all with two outs already recorded. Dane Myers reached on a fielder's choice and hustled to third on a single by Dominic DiCaprio. Tristan Gray punched a base-hit through the right side for a run, and Ford Proctor drove in DiCaprio with a long single to right-center. Darryn Sheppard followed with a double off the wall in center to add two more for a 4-0 lead... The Owls were back at work for another run in the next inning. Charlie Warren led off the second with single up the middle and moved into scoring position on a one-out grounder. He sprinted home on a Myers' double to right for a 5-0 lead... Myers then helped stretch the margin to 6-0 with a run in the fifth. He walked, stole second for his team-leading ninth steal of the season, and scored on another RBI single by Gray. Myers was 6-of-10 in the weekend series with four RBI, four runs scored, two walks and a steal, as well as some solid defensive plays at the hot corner... Rice starting pitcher Willy Amador was sound and solid on the mound, allowing just one hit and a walk through the first five frames while striking out four. With two away in the sixth, home runs by UTSA's Jesse Baker and Bryan Arias cut the lead in half, 6-3... The Roadrunners tallied single runs in both the seventh and the eighth to pull within one, 6-5. Owl junior pitcher Glenn Otto ended both respective innings with strikeouts. Otto then halted a final UTSA rally in the ninth with his sixth strikeout in 3.1 innings to earn his fifth save of the season... Five different Rice players had at least two hits on the day in a 12-hit attack.

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
Since a game at Texas A&M on March 21, the Owls' offense has averaged 10.4 hits per game and batted .300 as a team... In Saturday's 7-4 win over UTSA, sophomore pitcher/infielder Kendal Jefferies registered the first save of his collegiate career allowing just two base hits in the final 3.2 frames. The right-hander from Spring, Texas, equaled his career best with six strikeouts and retired each of the last six batters he faced... Heading into this week's games Rice was listed as having the fourth-toughest schedule in the nation according to WarrenNolan.com. BoydsWorld.com meanwhile ranked the Owls' 2017 slate as the fifth-hardest in Division I... In 25 home games this season Rice is averaging more than 2,400 fans per game... This season Charlie Warren has tallied at least three hits in a game six different times, the most on the squad in 2017. Over the weekend Warren collected his 206th career hit, the highest total among Rice's active players... Junior Ryan Chandler has started every game in centerfield since the start of his freshman year in 2015, a streak of 165-straight games... After just two steals in the team's first 14 games, the Owls have now swiped 25 bases in the last 30 games. Junior Dane Myers has registered a new career-high with his team-leading nine steals... The Blue & Gray is hitting a combined .337 (61-for-181) in the first inning, and that is also the squad's best inning for scoring runs (41 runs in 41 games)... Through the first 11 starts of his collegiate career true freshman Matt Canterino is averaging 10.9 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. Redshirt freshman Jackson Parthasarathy appeared in the finale of the Southern Miss series (April 16), his first outing since February of 2016. Parthasarathy ended up missing the entire 2016 C-USA slate and the duration between his appearances was 415 days.

Otto Garners A Host of Preseason All-America Honors
With a steady stream of Preseason All-America honors, Owl junior right-hander Glenn Otto did 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
First Team
RHP       Glenn Otto

National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
Second Team
RHP       Glenn Otto
Third Team
RHP       Ricardo Salinas

D1Baseball.com
Third Team
RHP       Glenn Otto, Rice

National Stopper of the Year Watch List
RHP       Glenn Otto, Rice

Golden Spikes Award Watch List
RHP       Glenn Otto, Rice

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.

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:

 

 

YearConferenceRegular SeasonConf. Tourney
2016C-USA4th2nd
2015C-USA1sttied 7th
2014C-USA1st1st
2013C-USAtied 1st1st
2012C-USAtied 1sttied 5th
2011C-USA1st1st
2010C-USA1st2nd
2009C-USA2nd1st
2008C-USA1sttied 7th
2007C-USA1st1st
2006C-USA1st1st
2005WAC1stno tourney
2004WAC1stno tourney
2003WAC1stno tourney
2002WAC1stno tourney
2001WAC1stno tourney
2000WACtied 1stno tourney
1999WAC1st1st
1998WAC1st South Div.1st
1997WAC1st South Div.1st
1996SWCtied 6th1st



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):

SchoolWLTPct
Florida St.8763211.732
Rice8373260.720
South Carolina8263550.699
North Carolina7973461.697
LSU8073546.694
Miami (Fla.)7823443.694
Cal State Fullerton7753470.691
Costal Carolina7693490.688
Oral Roberts7333440.681
Arizona St.7083352.678
Texas7723731.674
Georgia Tech7463771.664
Virginia7223773.657
Clemson7534121.646
TCU7163930.646
Nebraska7033872.645
Florida7374072.644
East Carolina6973924.640
Florida Atlantic6903892.639
Louisville7044002.638
Texas A&M7184083.637
Oregon St.6593751.637
Tulane6993982.637
Oklahoma St.6943970.636
Stanford6903952.636
Col. of Charleston6763872.636
Kent State6753870.636
DBU (11 years)4092360.634
Vanderbilt7014140.629
Ohio St.6663992.625
UL-Lafayette6894161.623
Southern Miss6774101.623

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