Owls Meet UH Tuesday Night In Sugar Land

May 12, 2015

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May 12 (Tues.) 6:30 pm;
Rice vs. Houston at Constellation Field (Sugar Land, Texas)

GameTracker (activates at game time)
Broadcast live on the radio in the Houston area to 1180 am

Rice Baseball, 33-16 overall and 20-7 in Conference USA, has four big games coming up this week. The Owls meet crosstown rival Houston on Tuesday night at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, the minor league home of the Sugar Land Skeeters. The neutral site showdown is the final game of the season-long best-of-three series for the annual Silver Glove Trophy. So far each team has one win in the series by defending its own home field. Tuesday's first pitch vs. the Cougars (35-17) is set for 6:30 pm... Rice is finally back at home May 14-16 with C-USA league play. The Owls host FIU at 6:30 pm on both Thursday and Friday, followed by a 12 noon game on Saturday. Satuday's contest is slated for a live television broadcast on Fox Sports Net (FSN).

Tuesday Night's Game vs. Houston One of Nine Radio Broadcasts This Season
Rice Baseball returns to the radio airwaves Tuesday vs. Houston on ESPN Deportes Houston (1180 am). The contest is one of nine on-air games in 2015 as part of an agreement between Rice IMG Sports Properties and one of the city's fastest-growing sports stations. The slate of on-air games began with the season-opener vs. Texas. It was the first time since 2010 that the Owls had been available on radio. The nine games selected include six at home and three on the road, with five games slated for Fridays and four others on Tuesday nights. The season-opener vs. Texas, the series-opener vs. Stanford (Feb. 27), at TCU (Mar. 3), at home vs. LA Tech (March 13) and both of the first two games vs. Houston were all 1180-broadcasts. The radio schedule also includes Saturday's regular season finale vs FIU. Each broadcast will be preceded by a 15-minute pregame show.

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.

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.

Watch Home Games On OwlVision All Access
Home games, and 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.

It's T.V. Time Saturday Afternoon
Saturday's game has been selected for a live television broadcast. Fox Sports Net, a leader in televising collegiate competitions across the country, is bringing the Rice-FIU clash to the nation. Broadcast veterans Ron Thulin and former Owl Pat Combs have the TV call Saturday.

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 1,979 - 1,544 - 9.

National Rankings Update • Owls Up To No. 13
The Owls are as high as No. 13 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 13 17
USA Today/ESPN 14 19
College Sports Madness 17 19
CollegeBaseballDaily 18 nr
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 19 21
D1Baseball.com 20 nr
Baseball America 21 nr
PerfectGame.com 25 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 1,072-436 with the Owls (639-161 at home, 336-214 on the road and 97-61 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .711, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .711 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 week's opponents is: 80-31 vs. Houston, and 10-1 vs. FIU... 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.

1,647 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,072 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,647 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,647-547 in a 33-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Previous Outing: Owls Complete Road Sweep of FAU Sunday
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Senior John Clay Reeves blasted a big three-run homer to key a five-run fifth inning, and the pitching staff posted another steady outing to help the Rice baseball team claim a 5-2 road victory at FAU Sunday afternoon in Boca Raton, Fla... With the win Rice not only completed a sweep of the three-game weekend road series, the team gained a full-game lead over second place in the C-USA standings. Rice improved to 33-16 overall and 20-7 in C-USA action with it fourth three-game sweep of the conference season. FAU, which entered the weekend as the No. 12 ranked team in the country, is now 36-14 on the season and 17-10 in the league... For the first time this series FAU was the first team on the scoreboard. Brendon Sanger led off the bottom of the fourth with a single, and a pair of walks loaded the bases. Sanger scored on a one-out ground out, but that was the only harm done in the frame off veteran left-handed starter Blake Fox... Rice came right back with five big runs in the top of the fifth. Grayson Lewis reached on a hard-hit infield single at third base. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and to third on Hunter Kopycinski's come-back shot to the mound. Lewis scored on a shallow, bloop-single to left to tie the game 1-1, but the Blue & Gray wasn't finished... Ford Stainback followed with a short single to center that loaded the bases. Kopycinski scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Kirby Taylor that made it 2-1. In battling for a long at bat, John Clay Reeves then worked the count to 3-2 before blasting a towering three-run homer to left-center field. Reeves' team-leading eighth home run of the season extended the lead to 5-1... FAU took advantage of a Rice fielding miscue to get a run back in the bottom of the inning. Ryan Miller drew a leadoff walk and Billy Endris' one-out single put runners on first and second. Miller scored all the way from second base on an infield error to make it 5-2, and the team would have been out of the inning with a ground out from the very next batter... Only one of the two runs Fox surrendered on the day were earned. The junior from Houston pitched a tough 6.1 innings with temperatures in the high 80s and a hitter-friendly sun-drenched field. He allowed six hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts... Fox was relieved by Matt Ditman, who worked out of a base-loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh with a strikeout. He pitched the final two hitless frames to record his team-leading ninth save of the season. The save was the 18th of Ditman's career to move him into a tie for second place on the school's all-time list with MLB draft pick Zech Lemond... Rice pitching came up big all weekend against the best hitting and run-scoring team in the conference. In 27.0 combined innings the Rice staff allowed just three total runs on 19 singles, where only two of the runs were earned. In an efficient and winning weekend the Blue & Gray used only five pitchers... On the day's offensive side Reeves finished going 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBI and a run scored. Stainback had a pair of hits to push his hitting streak to 13-straight games as well as notch his 16th multi-hit game of the season.

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 .339 batting average with a team-leading 52 RBI in the Owls' 49 games. The Monroe, La., native and Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year belted his eighth home run of the season in the Owls' 5-2 victory at FAU (May 10). He has scored 26 runs and maintained a steady .518 slugging percentage with a .432 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.

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
7-3 in all-white,
9-4 in blue tops with pinstripe pants,
6-4 in the gray `birds' top
2-3 in all-gray,
0-1 in the home alternate (`Old English R')

Stainback Continues Career Climb In Record Books
Senior second baseman Ford Stainback enters the week with 843 at bats in his collegiate career, the fifth-highest total in school history. He now needs 34 more at bats to tie Diego Seastrunk (877 at bats from 2007-2010) for No. 4 all-time. Stainback has also played in 221 games during his collegiate career, the sixth-highest total in school history. He needs three more games to tie Michael Fuda (224 games from 2008-2012) for No. 5 all-time.

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 189-60 (.759).

The Last Meeting
April 14, 2015
Reckling Park

Rice Baseball tied a season-high with 16 hits and junior right-hander Austin Orewiler was sensational striking out a career-high 11 in 6.0 innings as the Owls blanked crosstown rival Houston 11-0 Tuesday night at Reckling Park.





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