Rice Hosts Florida Atlantic In Final Home Series

May 12, 2016

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May 13 (Fri.) 7:02 pm; Florida Atlantic at Rice
No webcast this game, watch it on FoxSports2
GameTracker (activates at game time)

May 14 (Sat.) 2 pm; Florida Atlantic at Rice
Senior Day - We'll honor the five awesome Owls in the class of 2016 in a special pregame ceremony.
Kids Take Over the Park - An annual Reckling Park Tradition where kids get to run the house.
Watch the game on the web
GameTracker (activates at game time)

May 15 (Sun.) Noon; Florida Atlantic at Rice
Bark at the Park - Bring your pups to the game for a great day Reckling Park.
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.
Giveaway Item - Get Rice trading card strips FREE on Sunday courtesy of Houston Methodist!
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GameTracker (activates at game time)

The Rice baseball team, 31-15 overall and ranked as high as No. 13 in the nation this week by D1Baseball.com, returns to Conference USA league play this Friday-Saturday (May 13-15). The Blue & Gray host a key three-game weekend series vs. nationally-ranked Florida Atlantic. Game times vs. the FAU Owls are set for 7 pm on Friday, 2 pm Saturday, and 12 noon Sunday. Rice enters the week tied with Southern Miss for first place in the C-USA standings. There is almost no margin for error in the six remaining league games.

It's T.V. Prime Time Friday Night
With the long-established success for both the Rice and FAU baseball programs, Friday's series-opener between the foes was an easy choice for a live TV. FoxSports2, a leader in televising collegiate competitions across the country, is bringing the Rice-FAU clash to the nation. Broadcast veterans Dave Barnett and former Rice Owl Pat Combs have the TV call Friday night from Reckling Park.

Rice Baseball Returns To Radio Airwaves
All three games this weekend are scheduled for a live radio broadcast in the Houston area on ESPN Deportes Houston (1180 am). The Owls have 14 games on the radio in 2016 as part of an agreement between Rice IMG Sports Properties and ESPN Deportes Houston (1180 am). This is the second-consecutive season that Rice Baseball has been available on radio in the Houston area. The upcoming radio games are among the Owls' biggest of the season.

Game Day Parking
There have been a number of changes to baseball parking since Rice University began construction of the new Moody Center for the Arts adjacent to Reckling Park. There is a charge for game day parking, with the lone exception being FREE parking in the Greenbriar Lot on the west side of Rice Stadium (football). Fans may purchase season or individual-game parking passes by calling the ticket office at 713-348-6957. Limited complimentary parking and a host of other game day benefits are also available by supporting Rice student-athletes with a gift to the Owl Club.

Fun & Games
Rice baseball has a lot of promotional events lined up for home games at Reckling Park. Here's some for this weekend:
May 14
• Rice Senior Day - Join us for a pregame ceremony honoring five special Rice seniors playing in their final home series.
• Kids Take Over The Park! - A Reckling Park tradition! Our young Owls run the facility Saturday, one of the funnest game day events all year.
May 15
• Bark In The Park! - Enjoy our second annual Bark in the Park on Sunday at Noon. Purchase a pup-ticket to get admission for your furry friend and receive a Rice dog bandana! (Pet seating on the hill only)
• Kids Club - Young club members can receive a free ticket to this game.
• Trading Card Giveaway - Get trading card strip No. 5, courtesy of Houston Methodist!

Play-By-Play Audio 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. J.P. Heath is in his eighth season as the regular voice of the Owls.

Watch Sat. & Sun. Games Online Via OwlVision All-Access
Most home games are slated for a live on-line video broadcast by 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 can alter the OwlVision availability.

National Rankings Update • Owls Ranked As High As No. 13
Here's a closer look at some of the national rankings, as well as Rice's spot in the same poll from last week:
Organization             Current    Previous
D1Baseball.com              13         14
Baseball America            14         14
College Sports Madness      16         16
Collegiate Baseball         18         21
College Baseball Central    19         21
PerfectGame.com             20         22
USA Today/ESPN              21         --
NCBWA                       27         --

NCAA RPI at No. 27
If you have disdain for the politics of the various baseball polls and prefer the cold, hard math of the NCAA's official Rating Power Index (RPI), then consider that Rice has the No. 22 RPI in the nation heading into this weekend. Rice is among three C-USA schools ranked in the current RPI top 35.

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 25th season at Rice. The 2016 campaign marks his 37th year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 1,107-457 with the Owls (661-170 at home, 348-218 on the road and 98-69 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .708, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .708 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 115 games in a single year... Graham is 7-0 vs. Florida Atlantic... Under Graham, the Owls clinched another postseason bid in 2015, making 21-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. 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 Patrick Hallmark (Rice, 1995, Brown College; 11th year), Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; fifth year) and Scott Shepperd (Concordia, 2007; fourth year)... On game days Van Hook coaches at third base while Shepherd coaches at first.

1,682 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,107 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,682 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,682-570 in a 35-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 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 game 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.

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.

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, and the baseball schedule page.

Fox Named C-USA Pitcher of the Week
IRVING, Texas - Rice's Blake Fox has been named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week for May 2-8, the league office announced Monday (May 9) from its headquarters in Irving, Texas... Fox posted the best game of his collegiate career, a complete-game, six-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts to help lead Rice to a 3-0 Conference USA road victory at FIU on Saturday. The left-hander from Bellaire, Texas, held the Panthers to five singles and one double on the way to his first complete game (as well as the first 9.0 inning shutout) of his Rice career. Not only did Fox not allow any walks, only three of the 31 batters he faced reached as many as three balls in the count. Only three FIU batters reached second base against the preseason C-USA Pitcher of the Year, including two that were in the first and second innings before being retired without any damage. Then after a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh, Fox ended that threat with one of his 10 strikeouts. The Owl defense turned a textbook 6-4-3 double-play to end the game after FIU had a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth. The victory was Fox' 30th overall at Rice, moving him into a tie for fifth place on the school's all-time list for wins. This is his third career C-USA weekly honor, and the first since May 19, 2014.

Possible Starting Pitchers
Coach Graham will announce Rice's starting pitchers for the FAU series at a later time. Here's an updated look at last week's starting pitchers for the road series at FIU (May 6-8).
• Veteran Jon Duplantier (6-4, 2.20 ERA) has been sound and solid in his 12 starts this season, working at least 6.0 innings in each outing for a team-leading total of 86.0 frames. The Katy, Texas, native averages an eye-opening 11.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings with a 3.7-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. He's faced four nationally-ranked teams in Arizona, Arkansas, East Carolina and Southern Miss - was sensational vs. UCF (March 4), and then even better against
C-USA foe Old Dominion (March 25). Against UCF Duplantier allowed just one hit in 8.0 innings while striking out 14. He was named both the C-USA Pitcher of the Week and National Pitcher of the Week (according to CollegeSportsMadness.com). He then picked up the league pitching honor a second time for his first complete game, a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts and no earned runs against ODU. He notched his fifth game with double-digit strikeouts vs. Charlotte (April 29), and then fired 8.1 shutout innings last week at FIU. For the year he's held opposing hitters to an austere .186 combined batting average. No matter if the 6-foot-4 right-hander is pitching at home, away, or at a neutral site, there are always a host of MLB scouts and cross-checkers tracking his every pitch.
• Senior Blake Fox has pitched well in his 12 starts, and his outing last week at FIU was the best of his long career. In the opener of the April 16 double-header vs. Western Kentucky the left-hander allowed just two runs in 8.0 innings while recording nine strikeouts. For the full season he has maintained a 2.48 ERA and held opponents to a composite .233 batting average in 6.2 innings per start. In a C-USA appearance at Middle Tennessee he allowed no runs on six singles in 7.0 innings with five strikeouts. A closer look reveals that in ten of his 12 starts his offensive teammates have supported him with only a .199 composite batting average and just 1.9 runs per game. For his collegiate career, Fox is 30-8 with a 2.46 ERA in 304.0 collegiate innings. The Houston native is the Rice's active leader in career appearances (62), starts (44) and strikeouts (220).
Ricardo Salinas has grown into his role as a weekend starter, particularly the second half of the season. In his last seven starts (all on Sundays vs. East Carolina and seven other C-USA opponents) the Houston native is leading the conference with a 7-0 record, a 1.12 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 56.0 innings. He posted a new career-long outing with a 9.0-inning complete game two-hit shutout vs. UAB (April 10). Earlier he was named the March 14 C-USA Pitcher of the Week with 8.0 shutout frames against No. 16 ranked East Carolina (March 13). Salinas registered a new career-high with nine strikeouts in his March 27 start against Old Dominion. A closer look at his early opponents is also in order. The sophomore right-hander's first start was against national/Pac-12 powerhouse Arizona, followed by a weekend start against nationally-ranked TCU. In his time at Rice, Salinas is 10-3 overall with 16 starts in his collegiate career.

Previous Game: Rice Falls at Home To Houston Tuesday Night, 10-0
HOUSTON - The visiting University of Houston baseball team scored early runs to pull away for a 10-0 victory at Rice's Reckling Park Tuesday evening... The regular season series for the annual Silver Glove Trophy is now tied at one game apiece. The crosstown foes are scheduled to play the deciding contest in one week (May 17) at Constellation Field in Sugar Land... Houston scored a run in the top of the second for a 1-0 lead, but pushed across three more in both the third and fourth innings to stretch the margin to 7-0. The Cougars added another in the fifth and two more in the seventh for a 10-0 final. UH second baseman Josh Vidales went 3-for-6 with a double and two RBI to lead a 12-hit attack... Houston improved to 28-19 on the season. Rice is now 31-15 as its five-game win streak came to an end... Owl true freshman Ford Proctor went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk to extend his hitting streak to nine-straight games. Rice finished the night six hits. Credit UH starting pitcher Trey Cumbie, who pitched 8.0 shutout innings with five strikeouts and one walk.

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 209-67 (.757).

Here's Who's Hot
Junior outfielder Charlie Warren had one of the six hits against Houston and is now 9-for-his-last-17 (.529) with four walks for a .619 on-base average. Warren also has four sac bunts in the current spree... True freshman Ford Proctor is 23-for-52 (.442) with five doubles and a triple for a .577 slugging percentage in his last 14 games. The shortstop from Beaumont, Texas, has also maintained a steady .492 on-base average, scored 10 times and stolen two bases in the last 14 games.

Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion-minded, Rice's 2016 W-L records while wearing the various uniforms is as follows:
10-5 in all-white
8-5 in pinstripes
6-1 in blue tops with pinstripe pants
6-4 in gray `birds' tops
1-0 in blue tops with white pants

Glenn Otto On Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Glenn Otto is one of 40 players on the midseason watch list for the annual Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top Division I relief pitcher by National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, the organization announced... Otto was named to the award's preseason watch list in February and has been sensational for the Owls in 2016. The sophomore right-hander has posted eight saves as well as a 6-1 record in 25 appearances. He has maintained a 1.60 ERA in 50.2 innings and held opposing hitter to a combined .186 batting average. Otto averages an eye-opening 10.1 strikeouts per 9.0 innings with a 3.6-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio... A native of Spring, Texas, Otto is one of four Conference USA pitchers on the award's midseason watch list. The SEC led the way with five players on the list while Pac-12 had four and the ACC had three. A total of 20 different conferences were represented... The NCBWA will announce five finalists for the 2016 Stopper of the Year - the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts - on Wednesday, June 8, prior to the start of NCAA Super Regional competition. The NCBWA's All-America Committee will select the winner, with this year's recipient to be announced during the 2016 College World Series... The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player. It also selects All-America Teams for all Divisions, a Division I Freshman All-American team, Division I and III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year.

Proctor Makes Watch List For Shortstop of the Year Award
LUBBOCK, Texas - Rice true freshman Ford Proctor has been added to the midseason watch list for Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award, presented annually by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame... The Owl rookie has worked his way into 41-consecutive starts at shortstop, and 45 games at short overall, where he is batting a steady .342 with a .431 on-base percentage. Proctor has scored 26 runs, driven-in 23 and is second on the squad with five stolen bases.

Kopy That
He may have had a rough start to the season offensively, but senior catcher Hunter Kopycinski is now 16-for-his-last-74 (.216) with nine walks for a .313 on-base average. Being a catcher is certainly one of baseball's more demanding positions, but Kopycinski isn't exactly sharing the work recently. The Houston native has started 26 of the last 27 games behind the plate where the Owls are 21-6. In this stretch where Kopycinski has caught almost each of the last 238.1 innings, the Rice pitching staff has enjoyed a composite 2.00 ERA with him behind the plate.

Myers & Otto On Watch Lists For National Awards
LUBBOCK, Texas - The sophomore duo of Dane Myers and Glenn Otto have each been named to the respective watch list for some of the top awards presented annually by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame... Otto made the initial watch list for the 2016 National Pitcher of the Year Award. Myers has been named to the first watch list for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, honoring the nation's top performer who contributes both on the mound and at the plate. Both awards will be presented as part of the College Baseball Hall of Fame's Night of Champions celebration in Lubbock this July... Myers has made a key contribution to the team as a relief pitcher in addition to his regular duty of starting each of Rice's 46 games at third base. He owns a .256 batting average, leads the Owls with four triples and 29 runs scored. The Katy, Texas, native has been a steady fielder at the hot corner, but also been brought in to pitch in order to make the most of his versatile skills. In 9 appearances on the mound this season, Myers has notched four saves, maintained a 2.93 ERA, held opposing hitters to a .232 average and struck out 15 in 15.1 innings of work... Otto is the squad's leader with eight saves. The stopper from Spring, Texas, owns an austere 1.60 ERA, held opposing hitters to a composite .186 average and been Rice's winning pitcher six times. He has struck out 57 batters in 50.2 innings, an eye-opening 10.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings of work.

Conference Titles Streak Now At 20-Straight
Rice's streak of consecutive conference titles is 20-straight years (just one behind its NCAA streak)... The Owls have 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 covers 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 in as many years. The Owls won the 2015 C-USA regular season title by a comfortable 2.5-game margin. Here is a closer look at Rice's title run the last 20 years:
Year    Conf.    Regular Season    Conf. Tourney
2015    C-USA         1st             tied 7th
2014    C-USA         1st                1st
2013    C-USA       tied 1st             1st
2012    C-USA         1st             tied 5th
2011    C-USA       tied 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

Did You Know? Part I
Jon Duplantier's 14 strikeouts against UCF was the most by an Owl in a single game since Eddie Degerman fanned 14 against Baylor in an NCAA Regional in 2006. Between the Degerman and Duplantier games, there were three Owls to post 13 strikeouts in a game: Ryan Berry vs. Southern Miss in 2008, Matthew Reckling vs. Grambling in 2012, and Austin Kubitza vs. Hawaii in 2013. The last time an Owl had 15 strikeouts in a game was Joe Savery vs. Fresno State on April 30, 2005. The most before that was Degerman with 16 vs. Louisiana Tech on April 9, 2005, to tie for the third-highest single-game total in Rice history.

Did You Know? Part II
In the series finale vs. national power Arizona (Feb. 21), sophomore Dane Myers had two triples in the 4-3 Rice win. The last Owl to do that was eventual major leaguer Josh Rodriguez vs. Miami-Ohio in 2004. As a team Rice had three triples in the May 4 win vs. Lamar, including two in one inning.

National Postseason Streak At 21-Straight
Rice baseball's 21-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament is the nation's fourth-longest active streak. In 2015 Miami (Fla.) made the field for the 43rd-consecutive year, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (38) and Cal State Fullerton (24). Rice's 21-straight NCAA Tournament bids is also now tied for the fourth-longest postseason streak in Division I baseball history (after Clemson saw its 21-year regional streak snapped in 2008).

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 2017 season. The list of newest Owls includes Matt Canterino, Garrett Gayle, Brad Gneiting, Addison Moss, Mackenzie Mueller, Sean Reynolds, Chace Sarchet, Nick Silber, and Zach Wright. The group consists of three multi-position players who are versatile enough to contribute as both a pitcher and position player/hitter. Four are pitchers (only) and there are two outfielders. Eight are from the high school ranks. Seven are from Texas and three are from the greater Houston area.

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 17 years. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999-2015 (this listing do not include games played in 2016):
Team               Years  Wins  Loses  Ties    PCT
Florida St.          17    835    299    1    .736
Rice                 17    799    302    0    .726
North Carolina       17    763    325    1    .701
South Carolina       17    780    337    0    .698
Cal St. Fullerton    17    739    324    0    .695
LSU                  17    762    333    6    .695
Miami (FL)           17    732    330    3    .689
Texas                17    747    341    1    .686
Coastal Caro.        17    714    331    0    .683
Oral Roberts         17    695    323    0    .683
Arizona St.          17    672    312    2    .683
Georgia Tech         17    708    352    1    .668
Virginia             17    684    355    3    .658
Nebraska             17    666    365    2    .646
Clemson              17    709    392    1    .644
Col.of Charleston    17    645    361    1    .641
East Carolina        17    659    369    3    .641
TCU                  17    667    375    0    .640
Stanford             17    659    372    2    .639
Florida Atlantic     17    651    370    1    .637
Oregon St.           17    624    356    1    .637
Florida              17    685    391    2    .636
Tulane               17    658    377    2    .635
Oklahoma St.         17    651    375    0    .635
Texas A&M            17    669    392    3    .630
Louisville           17    654    386    1    .629
Wichita St.          17    660    390    0    .629
Kent St.             17    631    373    0    .628
Notre Dame           17    633    376    5    .627
Southern             17    494    295    0    .626
Vanderbilt           17    658    395    0    .625
Ohio St.             17    622    379    1    .621
UL-Lafayette         17    646    395    1    .620
Southern Miss.       17    636    390    1    .620





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