Rice Plays Final Regular Season Series At UAB;
Thursday Game Time vs. Blazers Set For 6:30 PM
The Rice baseball team (25-28 overall and 14-13 in Conference USA action) is in Birmingham, Ala., for the season's final C-USA weekend series May 18-20. The Owls face UAB (23-29, 8-19), and the Blue & Gray has the task of trying to qualify for next week's C-USA Tournament. Game times against the Blazers are 6:30 pm on both Thursday and Friday. Saturday's first pitch is 1 pm.
Rice's Magic Number To Qualify For C-USA Tournament: "2"
It has come down to the final weekend of league play for Rice to try and qualify for the C-USA Championship Tournament next week in Biloxi, Miss. The Owls hold sole possession of seventh place in the C-USA standings heading into UAB. Any combination of "two" - Rice wins or losses from either FIU or Marshall - clinches the Owls' spot in the tournament.
Watch C-USA Games Online
The C-USA league games this weekend are slated for a live online video broadcast. The subscription-based service for C-USA games 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 1,139-494 with the Owls (676-187 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 26-12 vs. UAB (17-3 home, 8-7 road, 1-2 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.
1,714 Collegiate Wins A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,139 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,714 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,714-607 in a 35-year coaching career that began in 1981.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Coach Graham announced Rice's probable starting pitcher for the first game of the UAB series as true freshman-hander right Matt Canterino (3-4, 3.86). Coach Graham will announce the starter for the remaining games of the series at a later time.
Canterino has come up with some solid outings in his debut season to pitch at the Division I level. The rookie from Southlake, Texas, holds opponents to a combined .197 batting average that is the best mark in C-USA. In addition to averaging 5.2 innings of work for a team-best 13 starts, Canterino also averages an eye-opening 10.3 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. This season he has posted wins over Stanford, FIU and Western Kentucky.
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.
Here's Who's Hot
Dominic DiCaprio went 5-for-11 (.455) with a double and two runs scored in his last three games. The Coral Springs, Fla., native has also reached base in a season-best 19-straight games... Dane Myers is now 4-for-his-last-9 (.444) with two runs scored and a stolen base... Keep an eye on right-handed hitting DH Andrew Dunlap, who is now 8-for-his-last-22 (.364) with three home runs, seven RBI, seven runs scored, and a sac bunt. He also has five walks for a .481 on-base percentage.
Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion-minded, Rice's 2017 W-L records while wearing the various uniforms is as follows:
9-7 in all-white
6-5 in gray `birds' jersey
4-4 in blue `Rice' jersey (with pinstripe pants)
5-6 in all pinstripes
1-3 in blue Cuba Tour jersey
0-3 in gray `Rice' jersey
Last Time Out: Owls Thump Texas State Tuesday, 10-1
HOUSTON - The Rice baseball team scored six runs in the bottom of the third inning to break a one-run game wide open and claim an eventual 10-1 victory over visiting Texas State Tuesday evening at Reckling Park in Houston... With a RBI single by Dominic DiCaprio and sacrifice fly from Tristan Gray, Rice quickly went to work to put a pair of runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Texas State battled right back with a run in the top of the second to cut the margin to 2-1. The Owls then exploded for six runs on six hits in the bottom of the frame and never looked back... Ryan Chandler punched a leadoff single through the right side and Ford Proctor followed with a walk. Dane Myers singled-home Chandler for Rice's third run, and each of the Owls' next three batters all hit safely (making it four consecutive base hits, with a total of five hits from the first six Owls to start the inning). Gray delivered a big single with the bases-loaded to score two. Darryn Sheppard's two-run double cleared the stations for a 7-1 advantage. Senior Charlie Warren's one-out single scored Sheppard to make it 8-1... The Blue & Gray would go on to add single runs in both the sixth and the seventh to stretch the margin to 10-1 on nine hits. Rice successfully avenged an almost mirror-opposite nine-run loss to this same Bobcats team from last March with its seventh time to reach double-digit runs this season... Almost lost in the run-scoring barrage was some solid work on the mound from five Rice pitchers, particularly Evan Kravetz in his first start this year. The sophomore left-hander worked a career-long 5.0 innings with a career-high four strikeouts to earn his third win of the season. The Miami, Fla., native left with the comfortable eight-run lead and having retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced. Pitchers Addison Moss, Zach Esquivel, Dane Myers and Jackson Parthasarathy all contributed one hitless inning of work, and the entire staff combined for eight strikeouts overall... The Owls improved to 25-28 on the season. Texas State now has the identical 25-28 record.
2017 All-Silver Glove Trophy Honorees
Led by senior 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 in the season-long three-game series against the crosstown rival Cougars. 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.
This & That
Rice enters the UAB series with an RPI of No. 64 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 sixth-hardest in Division I. While recognizing the team's tough schedule, consider that the Owls have six one-run loses and been without preseason all-conference pitcher Ricardo Salinas due to a season-ending injury... Since a game at Texas A&M eight weeks ago (March 21), the Rice offense has averaged 10.2 hits per game and batted .295 as a team... On May 6 (Saturday at Charlotte) 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 five games in which the team has hit a home run... In 30 home games this season Rice is averaging more than 2,400 fans per game... This season senior Charlie Warren has tallied at least three hits in a game six different times, the most on the squad in 2017. Tuesday against Texas State Warren collected his 211th 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 174-straight games... After just two steals in the team's first 14 games, the Owls have now swiped 31 bases in the last 39 games... Junior Dane Myers has registered a new career-high with his team-leading eleven 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 (80-for-224) in the first inning, and that is also the squad's best inning for scoring runs (50 runs in 53 games)... Junior right-hander Glenn Otto surpassed 200 strikeouts vs. Middle Tennessee last Friday and has 205 strikeouts in 157.1 career innings. The Spring, Texas, native then notched his 16th career save against the Blue Raiders on Sunday, the fifth-highest total in school history. He needs just one more save to tie first round draft pick and former major leaguer David Aardsma for fourth place with 17 saves... Through the first 13 starts of his collegiate career true freshman Matt Canterino is averaging 10.3 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.
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.
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
RHP Glenn Otto
National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
RHP Glenn Otto
RHP Ricardo Salinas
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:
|Year||Conference||Regular Season||Conf. Tourney||2016||C-USA||4th||2nd||2015||C-USA||1st||tied 7th||2014||C-USA||1st||1st||2013||C-USA||tied 1st||1st||2012||C-USA||tied 1st||tied 5th||2011||C-USA||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|
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):
Rice Since 1999
|School||W||L||T||Pct||Florida St.||876||321||1||.732||Rice||837||326||0||.720||South Carolina||826||355||0||.699||North Carolina||797||346||1||.697||LSU||807||354||6||.694||Miami (Fla.)||782||344||3||.694||Cal State Fullerton||775||347||0||.691||Costal Carolina||769||349||0||.688||Oral Roberts||733||344||0||.681||Arizona St.||708||335||2||.678||Texas||772||373||1||.674||Georgia Tech||746||377||1||.664||Virginia||722||377||3||.657||Clemson||753||412||1||.646||TCU||716||393||0||.646||Nebraska||703||387||2||.645||Florida||737||407||2||.644||East Carolina||697||392||4||.640||Florida Atlantic||690||389||2||.639||Louisville||704||400||2||.638||Texas A&M||718||408||3||.637||Oregon St.||659||375||1||.637||Tulane||699||398||2||.637||Oklahoma St.||694||397||0||.636||Stanford||690||395||2||.636||Col. of Charleston||676||387||2||.636||Kent State||675||387||0||.636||DBU (11 years)||409||236||0||.634||Vanderbilt||701||414||0||.629||Ohio St.||666||399||2||.625||UL-Lafayette||689||416||1||.623||Southern Miss||677||410||1||.623|
The Last Meeting
April 10, 2016