HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- On the eve of the 2016 Conference USA Baseball Championship Rice's Jon Duplantier and Ford Proctor won major individual awards to headline a total of five Owls earning all-league accolades, the C-USA office announced on Tuesday (May 24).
Duplantier was named the 2016 C-USA Pitcher of the Year while Proctor was named the league's Freshman of the Year. Owls Glenn Otto and Ricardo Salinas also earned all-conference honors with their selection to the C-USA first team and second team, respectively. Rice rookie Dominic DiCaprio joined Proctor on the league's All-Freshman team. Each thrived under the daily training and development program of Rice head coach Wayne Graham. All the award winners were selected on a vote of the conference's head coaches, sports information directors and a media representative who covers each program.
Duplantier (7-5, 2.88 ERA) has been sound and solid in his 14 starts this season, working at least 6.0 innings in all but one outing for a team-leading total of 97.0 frames. The Katy, Texas, native averages an eye-opening 11.7 strikeouts per 9.0 innings with a 3.5-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. He's faced five nationally-ranked teams in Arizona, Arkansas, East Carolina, Southern Miss and Florida Atlantic. He's been named the C-USA Pitcher of the Week three times and a National Pitcher of the Week (according to CollegeSportsMadness.com). For the year he's held opposing hitters to an austere .195 composite batting average. Duplantier was named to the C-USA First Team as well as the Pitcher of the Year. He joins Ryne Tacker (2007) and Mathew Reckling (2012) as Owls to earn C-USA Pitchers of the Year.
Proctor is a rookie who quickly caught the attention of opposing coaches while his first year in Division I baseball. The Beaumont, Texas, native has worked his way into 47-consecutive starts at shortstop, and 51 games at short overall, where he is batting a steady .348 with a .438 on-base percentage. He has scored 30 runs, driven-in 30 and is third on the squad with five stolen bases. Proctor enters the C-USA Tournament on a 15-game hitting streak where he is 32-for-75 (.427) with six doubles, a triple and home run for a .573 slugging percentage in his last 20 games. He was named to the C-USA Second Team, and was in fact the only freshman in the league named to either team. Proctor joins Ryan Berry (2007), Anthony Rendon (2009), Austin Kubitza (2011) and Ryan Chandler (2015) as Owls to earn the C-USA Freshman of the Year.
Glenn Otto adds First Team All-Conference Honors to a list of accolades that includes the watch list for the Stopper of the Year Award. The sophomore right-hander has posted eight saves as well as a 6-2 record in 28 appearances. He has maintained a 1.92 ERA in 56.1 innings and held opposing hitter to an austere .195 batting average. The Spring, Texas, native averages 9.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings with a 2.9-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Ricardo Salinas has grown into his role as a weekend starter, particularly the second half of the season. In his last nine starts (all series finales vs. East Carolina and eight other C-USA opponents) the Houston native is among the conference leaders with a 7-1 record, a 1.50 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 60.0 innings. He posted a new career-long outing with a 9.0-inning complete game two-hit shutout vs. UAB (April 10). Salinas was named the March 14 C-USA Pitcher of the Week after 8.0 shutout frames against No. 16 ranked East Carolina.
All-Freshman honoree Dominic DiCaprio has played in 37 games with 34 starts in his first year at the Division level. He has made 22 starts as the DH and contributed 12 starts at catcher. In addition to hitting .296 in C-USA league-only games, DiCaprio bats a steady .294 with runners on base and .303 with men in scoring position. Earlier the Coral Springs, Fla., native hit safely in 7-straight games and he owns 13 games with two or more hits, including a season-high four hits vs. Florida International.
The Rice baseball team, 32-20 overall and rated as high as No. 24 in the nation, is the No. 4 seed of the 2016 Conference USA Championship beginning this Wednesday through Sunday (May 25-29) in Hattiesburg, Miss. The Owls open the tournament playing No. 5 seed Louisiana Tech on Wednesday at 9 am.