Owls Host Middle Tennessee This Weekend

May 11, 2017

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

Visit These Links
LISTEN online (pregame show 15 min. before start)
PROMOTIONS (Get the 2017 team poster this weekend!)
PDF of Rice’s pregame release

May 12 (Fri.) 6:30 pm; Middle Tennessee at Rice
GameTracker (activates at game time)

May 13 (Sat.) 2 pm; Middle Tennessee at Rice
GameTracker (activates at game time)

May 14 (Sun.) 12 Noon; Middle Tennessee at Rice
Special Mother’s Day Promotion - Treat that special mom to an outing at Reckling Park. Click here for more information.
Rice Owls Kids Club Day - Owls Kids Club members can receive a free ticket to this game with their membership. Enjoy inflatable, games and more in the Kids Zone. Click here for more information on the Owls Kids Club!
Trading Card Give-Away -- The latest 2017 trading card set is available on Sunday courtesy of Houston Methodist!
GameTracker (activates at game time)



Rice Hosts Middle Tennessee This Weekend; Four Remaining Regular Season Home Games
The Rice baseball team (22-27 overall and 12-12 in Conference USA) returns home to Reckling Park beginning on Friday night (May 12). The Owls resume C-USA league play with a three-game weekend series against Middle Tennessee lasting thru Sunday (May 14). Game times are set for 6:30 pm Friday, 2 pm on Saturday, and 12 Noon on Sunday. Note the Sunday start time is a change from some earlier listings. There are just four regular season home games remaining at Reckling Park. Rice hosts longtime foe Texas State on May 16 (Tues.) to close out the home slate.

Fun & Games At Reckling Park
In addition to great baseball there is always ‘fun & games’ at Reckling Park.
• Sunday is Mother’s Day. Treat mom to two tickets, drinks, cookies and a flower all for a great low price... Sunday is also Rice’s annual Senior Day, where three special team members and their families will be recognized before the start of the game... Sunday is of course the day the Rice Owls Kids Club members can receive a free ticket and run the bases after the game. Finally, be sure to keep an eye out for the latest set of Rice baseball trading cards and baseball poster at the fan services table.

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.

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.

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.

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 1,136-493 with the Owls (673-186 at home, 360-235 on the road and 103-72 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 6-5 vs. Middle Tennessee (2-1 home, 3-3 road, 1-1 neutral)... 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.

1,711 Collegiate Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,136 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,711 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham’s overall “collegiate record” is 1,711-606 in a 35-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Final Wayne Graham Radio Show Airs May 15 on 1560 AM
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. The final show of the 2017 season is Monday (May 15). It’s scheduled to air live in the Houston area on KGOW SB Nation 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 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 Middle Tennessee series as the right-handed duo of true freshman Matt Canterino (3-4, 3.97) and sophomore Zach Esquivel (6-4, 2.94). Coach Graham will announce the starter for Sunday’s series finale at a later time.

DiCaprio On Bobby Bragan Slugger Award Watch List
Sophomore catcher Dominic DiCaprio has been added to the watch list for the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award. The award is based on performance at the plate, academics and personal integrity. The winner of the 2017 award will be announced on June 12 and honored at a gala in the fall. In his first games after recently being added to the watch list, DiCaprio was named the award’s Player of the Week on May 10. He amassed .444 average on eight hits (including a double), with four RBI and three runs scored. He had multiple hits in three out of four games against Lamar and Charlotte, but last week’s performance only part of the story (continue reading...)

Here’s Who’s Hot
Dominic DiCaprio owns a career-best ten-game hitting streak, but he is batting at a .441 clip (26-of-59) over the Owls’ last 15 games. He’s reaching base at a .500 pace and has scored 12 runs while driving in 11 in the last 15 games... Not only has junior second baseman Tristan Gray hit safely in 12 of the Owls’ last 14 games, the Houston native is 27-for-55 (.491) in that span with three home runs and ten doubles for an .836 slugging percentage. Gray has also driven-in 21 runs and scored 15 times in the last 14 games… In his current 12-game hitting streak Dane Myers is 18-for-44 (.409) with three home runs, two triples and two doubles for a .750 slugging percentage. He also has eight walks during the hot streak for a .500 on-base average. The junior third baseman/pitcher is batting an eye-opening .419 (39-of-93) with a .688 slugging percentage in the Owls’ 24 C-USA league games... Graduate transfer Darryn Sheppard is 23-for-59 (.390) with a home run, two triples, four doubles, 15 RBI, and 13 runs scored in a season-best 14-game hitting streak... Senior outfielder Dayne Wunderlich is heating-up at just the right time. The Brenham, Texas, native is 5-for-his-last-11 (.455) with three home runs for a 1.273 slugging percentage. He also has five RBI and a .500 on-base average in the last four games... Keep an eye on right-handed hitting DH Andrew Dunlap, who is now 5-for-his-last-13 (.385) with two home runs, six RBI, three runs scored, a sac bunt, and his second walk of the season.

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

Last Time Out: Owls Fall To No. 20 Ranked Houston Tuesday, 6-5
<b>The Silver Glove Trophy</b>
The Silver Glove Trophy
SUGAR LAND, Texas – The Rice baseball team jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning but Houston chipped-away for an eventual 6-5 win over the Owls in the final game of the season-long three game series between the crosstown rivals Tuesday evening at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas... Rice had already secured the series 2-1 with wins in both of the first two games to claim the Silver Glove Trophy. Early in game three it looked as though the Owls were a cinch to complete the series sweep of the No. 20 ranked Cougars... Playing as the visiting team at the neutral site Rice went right to work in the top of the first inning. The Owls pounded out five hits, including three for extra bases, on the way to sending eight men to the plate in a five-run outburst. In 49 games this season the Blue & Gray has now scored a combined total of 48 runs in the game’s first inning... Houston answered with single runs in both of the first two innings. In the first, Grayson Padgett reached on a fielding error and advanced to third on a base hit by Joe Davis. Padgett scored on Jake Scheiner’s single to make it 5-1... Jared Triolo led off the second with a single and Connor Hollis’ double to left put runners on second and third. The runs scored on consecutive ground outs to cut the margin to two, 5-3... The Rice defense worked its way out of trouble for the next three innings as the Cougars threatened for runs in each frame. UH broke through to tie the game, 5-5, in the bottom of the sixth with a pair of runs on three hits. Houston took its first lead of the contest in the bottom of the eighth with an unearned run after two Owl fielding errors... A total of six Rice pitchers saw action in the game. Jackson Parthasarathy made his first start of the season. He was followed by Kendal Jefferies, Willy Amador, Addison Moss, Dane Myers and Evan Kravetz. Myers then returned to pitch once again as he never left the game. The staff could have been better-helped without five Owl fielding errors in the game. The Rice offense put together only three hits and one base on balls after the first inning... Led by Charlie Warren as the series’ Most Outstanding Player, a total of six Owls were named to the annual All-Silver Glove Team. Warren led all players with five hits, going 5-for-12 (.417) with a pair of doubles, three RBI and a stolen base. The remaining players on the 2017 All-Silver Glove Team included Dominic DiCaprio, Kendal Jefferies, Grayson Hurdsman, Corey Julks, Dane Myers, Ford Proctor, Jake Scheiner, Nick Slaughter, Jared Triolo, Connor Wong and Dayne Wunderlich.

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 enters the weekend with an RPI of No. 57 in the nation. The Owls were also listed as having the second-toughest schedule in the nation according to WarrenNolan.com. BoydsWorld.com meanwhile ranked the Owls’ 2017 slate as the fifth-hardest in Division I… Since a game at Texas A&M seven weeks ago (March 21), the Rice offense has averaged 10.5 hits per game and batted .301 as a team… Last Weekend at Charlotte the Owls hit back-to-back home runs in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday the Owls also had their most home runs in a single game (four), since a NCAA Regional game in 2010. The Blue & Gray has won each of the last four games in which the team has hit a home run... In 26 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. Tuesday against Houston Warren collected his 209th 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 170-straight games... After just two steals in the team’s first 14 games, the Owls have now swiped 28 bases in the last 35 games... Junior Dane Myers has registered a new career-high with his team-leading ten steals. Myers also leads the team with five triples. A sixth triple would be the most by an Owl since 2010... The Blue & Gray is hitting a combined .357 (74-for-207) in the first inning, and that is also the squad’s best inning for scoring runs (48 runs in 49 games)... Junior right-hander Glenn Otto now needs just three more strikeouts to reach 200 for collegiate career... Through the first 12 starts of his collegiate career true freshman Matt Canterino is averaging 10.5 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  when he fanned ten in games against 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

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

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).

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
2015C-USA1sttied 7th
2013C-USAtied 1st1st
2012C-USAtied 1sttied 5th
2008C-USA1sttied 7th
2005WAC1stno tourney
2004WAC1stno tourney
2003WAC1stno tourney
2002WAC1stno tourney
2001WAC1stno tourney
2000WACtied 1stno tourney
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):

Florida St.8763211.732
South Carolina8263550.699
North Carolina7973461.697
Miami (Fla.)7823443.694
Cal State Fullerton7753470.691
Costal Carolina7693490.688
Oral Roberts7333440.681
Arizona St.7083352.678
Georgia Tech7463771.664
East Carolina6973924.640
Florida Atlantic6903892.639
Texas A&M7184083.637
Oregon St.6593751.637
Oklahoma St.6943970.636
Col. of Charleston6763872.636
Kent State6753870.636
DBU (11 years)4092360.634
Ohio St.6663992.625
Southern Miss6774101.623

The Last Meeting
Middle Tennessee State2
April 3, 2016
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Baseball Takes Weekend Series At Middle Tennessee With 6-2 Victory Sunday
The Rice baseball team had six runs on seven hits, and another solid start on the mound from sophomore right-hander Ricardo Salinas, for a 6-2 Conference USA road victory at Middle Tennessee in the finale of the weekend series Sunday afternoon in Murfreesboro, Tenn.



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