Owls Open Regional Play Friday vs. George Mason

May 29, 2014

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May 30 (Fri.) 7 pm; George Mason at Rice
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May 31 (Sat.) time TBA; opponent TBA
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Rice Baseball Returns To NCAA Tournament Action; Owls Host Sensational Regional Teams at Reckling Park

The nationally-ranked Rice baseball team, 41-18 overall and the Conference USA regular season and tournament champion, is back in the NCAA Tournament this week as regional play begins at 16 sites across the country in a double-elimination format. The Owls' home stadium, Reckling Park, is one of the elite 16 sites... Rice is the No. 1 seed of the regional and scheduled to meet the George Mason University (34-20) at 7 pm Central Time in first round action on Friday, May 30. The Regional's No. 2 seed, Texas (38-18) and No. 3 seed, Texas A&M (33-24) complete the four-team field. The Longhorns and Aggies are Friday's opening game at 3 pm... The game times for both Saturday and Sunday (May 31-June 1) are also scheduled for 3 pm and 7 pm, with the early games serving as an elimination game. If the Regional champion has not been determined after Sunday night's possible championship game, there will be one extra game played on Monday (June 2) at 6 pm if necessary... The 16 Regional winners advance to play in one of eight best-of-three Super Regionals getting under way the following week (June 6-8). The Houston (Rice) Regional is paired with the Baton Rouge, La., Regional. The 68th Baseball College World Series begins play the week after that, June 14, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Watch Rice's Regional Opener On ESPN3
Rice's opening game against George Mason is scheduled for  broadcast on ESPN3. In fact, all NCAA regional games are slated for a broadcast by an ESPN network. Broadcasters Tom Hart (play-by-play) and former major leaguer Ben McDonald (analysis) have the TV call this weekend from Reckling Park.

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 2014 season is, however, only the Owls' 98th 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 1,945 - 1,527 - 9.

Follow The Tweeting Rice Owls
The official Rice baseball Twitter account is @RiceOwlsBSB while the Rice Athletics department is @RiceOwlsdotcom.

Audio Broadcasts - Catch Every Rice Baseball Game On The Web
Every Rice baseball game this season will be broadcast live 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 sixth season as the regular voice of the Owls. For some selected home games, "R" Association Director Jimmy Comerota will be joining in on the Rice broadcast and providing commentary from a former player's perspective.

Live Stats On GameTracker
Links to live play-by-play text and statistics from every 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.

National Rankings Update • Rice Ranked No. 12
Rice is nationally-ranked in a host of different college baseball polls. The Owls are No. 12 in the nation according to the latest USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll. Here's a closer look at some of the latest national rankings, and changes from the previous week:

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Poll This Week Last Week
USA Today 12 16
PerfectGame.com 15 17
Baseball America 16 17
NCBWA 15 17
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 17 20College Sports Madness -- 17

High RPI
If you have disdain for the politics of the various baseball polls and prefer the cold, hard math of the NCAA's Rating Power Index, then consider Rice's latest spot in this week's official national listing of all 302 Division I RPIs:
NCAA RPI     Current     Previous
Rice     7    8

National Postseason Streak At 20-Straight
Rice baseball's 20-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament is the nation's fourth-longest active streak. In 2014 Miami (Fla.) made the field for the 42nd-consecutive year, extending its own record, followed by Florida State (37) and Cal State Fullerton (23). Rice's 20-straight NCAA Tournament bids is the sixth-longest postseason streak in Division I baseball history.

Rice In The NCAA Tourney
Rice has played 122 total games in the NCAA Tournament since 1995, including Regionals, Super Regionals and the College World Series. All of Rice's NCAA Tournament games have been under the direction of Wayne Graham. His (and the program's) record in the "The Dance" is 77-45 (.631).

Against This Year's Field
If you want to find about more than one-eighth of the entire NCAA Tournament field then just ask Rice. This year the Owls have already played 20 games against nine different teams in The Dance. The Blue & Gray was 9-11 against programs in the current 64-team NCAA Tournament field.

Bit of A Roll To Win 7-of-8
Rice heads into the postseason having won seven of its last eight games. The Owls have out-hit the opposition by 112 points during the current stretch (.338 to .226), and maintained a steady 2.08 ERA over the last 73.2 innings. Earlier in the year the Owls won 9-of-10 from March 11-25.

20-Straight 40-Win Seasons
Rice has clinched 20-straight seasons of posting at least 40 wins. `Forty' wins actually short-changes the feat a little. The Owls have secured at least 41 wins in 19 of the last 20 years.

Conference Titles Streak Now At 19-Straight
Rice has won or shared a total of 19-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 nine C-USA titles in as many years. The Owls won the 2014 C-USA regular season title by a comfortable three-game margin, then completed the title sweep by taking the league tournament last week in Hattiesburg, Miss. Here is a closer look at Rice's title run the last 19 years:
Year    Conf.    Regular Season    Conf. Tourney
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

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 23rd season at Rice. The 2014 campaign marks his 34th year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 1,038-418 with the Owls (618-152 at home, 323-205 on the road and 97-61 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .713, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .713 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 115 games in a single year... Graham's record vs. the team's in the home Regional are as follows: 0-0 vs. George Mason; 24-36 vs. Texas; 33-19 vs. Texas A&M; 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 now 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; ninth year), Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; third year) and Scott Shepperd (Concordia, 2007; second year)... On game days Van Hook coaches at third base while Shepherd coaches at first.

The `Grand' Coach's 1,000th Rice Win
Wayne Graham posted his 1,000th Division I win in the team's 2014 home-opener against Texas State on Feb. 18. With no shortage of drama, the Owls rallied for that 4-3 victory in the bottom of the 11th inning. Graham entered the 2014 season ranked No. 15 on the NCAA's career wins list for active coaches.

1,612 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,038 career wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,612 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,612-530 in a 33-year coaching career that began in 1981.

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 169-53 (.761).

Starting Pitchers
Coach Graham announced Rice's probable starting pitchers for the first two games of the NCAA Tournament as sophomore right-hander Kevin McCanna (8-3, 2.81) in the opener, followed by sophomore left-hander Blake Fox (12-0, 1.38) in game two. Should Rice advance, Coach Graham will announce additional starting pitchers at a later time. Some of the candidates to start include senior right-hander Chase McDowell (4-5, 3.60) and freshman right-hander Jon Duplantier (2-2, 2.21) to name a few.
Kevin McCanna has served as both a starter and a reliever this season for a total of 16 appearances. The Woodlands, Texas, native is second on the staff in innings (86.1) and third in ERA. His most-recent appearance was Sunday (May 25) vs. UTSA in the championship final of the C-USA Tournament where he worked a steady 4.0 innings out of the bullpen to earn his eighth victory of the season. McCanna actually went 2-0 last week in the C-USA Tournament, defeating heavy-hitting FIU with 7.1 solid innings on the event's opening day (May 21). On May 15 vs LA Tech he worked 8.0 innings, allowing just one earned run on seven hits and two walks while tying a career-high with eight strikeouts. On April 18 against a red-hot UAB squad, McCanna fired a complete game shutout, scattering eight singles with no walks while striking out five. When looking at his statistics as a starter-only,
McCanna has held opposing hitters to a composite .256 batting average. On March 8, he became the first Owl in more than a decade to pitch more than 9.0 innings in a game, with 9.1 in a C-USA start at home against eventual NCAA Tournament participant Old Dominion.
• First team all-Conference USA honoree Blake Fox has responded to his new role in the weekend rotation with aplomb, winning 12 of his 14 "Saturday starts" while maintaining a steady 1.38 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. His wins have been over nationally ranked Stanford on the road, No. 10 ranked TCU at Minute Maid Park, No. 19 FIU on the road, Southern Miss, East Carolina, UTSA, FAU, Tulane, LA Tech, Purdue and Middle Tennessee (twice). He pitched into the ninth inning for the first time in his career at FIU (March 22), holding the Panthers' explosive lineup to just two runs. He fanned a career-best eight against East Carolina (April 5) and matched that a week later at Tulane. This year the Houston native has held all opponents to a .229 batting average. He is the first Owl to win 12 games in a single season since Eddie Degerman in 2006, but his sophomore campaign is only part of the story. Fox is undefeated in Rice collegiate career, posting a perfect 18-0 record in a total of 34 appearances dating back to 2013.

Here's Who's Hot
Senior leftfielder Michael Aquino was the Most Valuable Player of the
C-USA Tournament, but his current hot streak goes a little beyond that. The senior from The Woodlands, Texas, is 13-of-his-last-23 (.565) with three home runs for a .957 slugging percentage. He's also driven-in 10 runs and scored eight times durring this current stretch... Over the last six games sophomore centerfielder Leon Byrd is a combined 11-for-23 (.478) with a .538 on-base percentage and four runs scored. In the May 17 victory over LA Tech, Byrd drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning... Junior shortstop Ford Stainback is 9-for-21 (.429) the last six games with a .480 on-base average... In the last two games of the C-USA Tournament junior first baseman Skyler Ewing went 5-for-8 (.625) with five runs scored, a home run and a double for a 1.125 slugging percentage... Senior designated hitter Chase McDowell is 6-for-13 (.462) with six RBI, a double, triple and a .563 on-base average in the last four games... Keep an eye on infielder Kirby Taylor, who is 2-for-5 (.400) with a double and an RBI while playing in a supporting role... If you like players coming in hot off the bench, it's a fact that Hunter Kopycinski is now 4-for-hi-last-6 with a pair of runs scored, earning him the postseason nickname `Big Game Hunter.'

Previous Outing • Owls Take C-USA Tourney Title on May 25
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -  HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Rice baseball team rallied for the lead in the eighth inning, then broke a one-run game wide-open in the ninth to claim an 11-5 victory over Texas-San Antonio in Sunday's Championship Final at the Conference USA Tournament in Hattiesburg, Miss. Already the 2014 regular season champion and the tournament's No. 1 seed, Rice won its sixth C-USA Tournament title in nine years as a league member. The Owls have now won three of the last four C-USA Tournaments. The latest tourney crown was led by Owl senior Michael Aquino, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI Sunday. The Woodlands, Texas, native finished the week-long event batting .571 (12-for-21) with nine RBI, seven runs scored and slugging at an .857 clip. Owls Skyler Ewing, Ford Stainback, Chase McDowell and Blake Fox joined Aquino on the 2014 all-tournament team. In a break from the back-and-forth theme that played out for most of the game, but in a déjà vu like call-back to how the final two games of the regular season series with the Roadrunners concluded three weeks ago, Rice exploded for late runs. In the top of the ninth inning of a then 6-5 contest, the Owls scored five runs on six hits to break the game wide-open. Playing as the visiting team in the tournament format, Rice was quickly on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Keenan Cook led off with a base hit and hustled to third on a single by Ewing. Cook alertly dashed home for a run on Aquino's sacrifice fly to foul territory. UTSA struck back and took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. R.J. Perucki drew a leadoff walk and John Bormann singled. The runners advanced on Jesse Baker's sacrifice bunt, and then another 90 feet on a Rice wild pitch. The runners added a second run on Horacio Correa III's sacrifice fly to make it 2-1. The lead didn't last long. The Owls charged back with a three-run fifth. Cook lined a leadoff double to centerfield and moved to third on a grounder to the right side. Ewing punched an RBI single through the left side to tie the game. Aquino followed with a home run to left field. His eighth homer of the season, and second of the tournament, put the Blue & Gray in front 4-2. The Roadrunners scored three in the bottom of the sixth after the Owls hit the leadoff batter and walked another on the way to loading the bases. A sacrifice fly and two hits later put UTSA up by a run, 5-4. Playing the week-long tournament was a tiring test to be sure, but the Owls still had one more rally left in the top of the eighth. Hunter Kopycinski, who first entered a game in the sixth as a defensive substitute, singled to left. Leon Byrd blooped a single to center and Connor Teykl bunted the runners up, but a UTSA fielding error on the play loaded the bases. Kopycinski scored as Stainback hustled to first to avoid a possible double-play. Byrd scored on a sacrifice fly by Cook that put Rice in front 6-5. Working in a relief role, Kevin McCanna needed only seven pitches to end the bottom of the ninth in the 11-5 final. McCanna finished with his eighth win of the season. He worked a total of 4.0 innings allowing just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out one. Including Wednesday's tourney victory over FIU,
McCanna won two games in the event with more than 11 total innings.

Top Reckling Park Crowds
Big, spirited crowds are nothing new to Rice home games at Reckling Park. On April 22 of this season a crowd of 5,125 (the ninth-largest in Reckling Park history) was on hand as Rice hosted Texas A&M. Here's a closer look at Reckling Park's top-attended games.
    1.    Texas (March 17, 2009)    6,193
    2.    Texas (March 16, 2010)    5,469
    3.    Texas A&M (June 7, 2008)    5,368
        Texas A&M (June 8, 2008)    5,368
    5.    Texas State (May 17, 2011)    5,320
    6.    Texas Southern (May  2, 2012)    5,250
    7.    Texas A&M (June 9, 2007)    5,234
    8.    Texas (April 20, 2005)    5,227
    9.    Texas A&M (April 22, 2014)    5,125
    10.    Texas (March  7, 2006)    5,105

Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion-minded, Rice is 9-6 in its all-white uniforms, 7-1 in all-gray, 6-2 in blue tops with white pants, 3-2 in blue tops with gray pants, 13-2 in its new home alternate, and now 3-5 in the new road alternate. Acting on a suggestion Owl great Lance Berkman made to his former head coach Wayne Graham, Rice baseball announced a new addition to its uniform lineup for the 2014 season. Inspired by the iconic St. Louis Cardinals' jersey, the new alternate top features two owls perched atop a bat. With Adidas as the official uniform supplier for Rice Athletics, coach Graham took Berkman's suggestion and introduced something new. "We wanted to stay with our traditional look," said coach Graham, "but also be innovative and pay homage to a classic, beautiful look like that of the Cardinals. (The alternates) are simply an addition and a chance to showcase the owl mascot."

Owls Ranked Among National Leaders
In the latest statistics released by the NCAA, Rice's team and individual performances have proved to be among the nation's best. Here's a closer look at where the Owls stand among the NCAA leaders:
Team Statistic Category    NCAA Rank
Batting Average     32
Earned Run Average     12
Fielding Percentage     9
Hits     16
Hits Allowed Per Nine Innings     19
Sacrifice Bunts     34
Sacrifice Flies     21
Shutouts     18
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio     31
Strikeouts Per Nine Innings     24
WHIP     19
Win/Loss Pct     23

Indv. Statistic Category     Player    Rank
Doubles     Shane Hoelscher    12
Earned Run Average    Blake Fox    14
    Matt Ditman    38
Hit by Pitch    Keenan Cook     48
Hits    Skyler Ewing    71
    Michael Aquino    87
Hits Allowed Per Nine Inn.    Matt Ditman    29
Runs    Skyler Ewing    40
Runs Batted In    Skyler Ewing    101
Runs Per Game    Skyler Ewing     83
Sacrifice Bunts    Keenan Cook    69
Sacrifice Flies    Michael Aquino    53
Saves    Matt Ditman     58
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio    Matt Ditman     14
Strikeouts    Matt Ditman    109
Strikeouts Per Nine Inn.    Matt Ditman     18
Total Bases    Michael Aquino    68
    Skyler Ewing     78
Triples    Keenan Cook     34
Triples Per Game    Keenan Cook     89
Victories    Blake Fox    2
    Kevin McCanna     73
WHIP    Matt Ditman    11
    Blake Fox     118
Walks Allowed Per Nine Inn.    Matt Ditman     73

Many Happy Returns
The Owls have had some success recently because two key players, Leon Byrd and Zech Lemond, have returned to action after each had missed a month of playing tie. In the second game of the UTSA series on May 10 Byrd returned to duty for the first time since April 1 (vs. Texas). Byrd was sidelined with a lower leg injury. The sophomore from Cypress, Texas, started both of the last two games of the UTSA series in centerfield where he went a combined 2-for-9 with a double, a walk and three runs scored. On Sunday he made a sensational catch of a tricky fly ball to the gap in right-center that saved at least one run and sparked Rice to an eventual 11-2 victory. In the finale of the LA Tech series the Owls had a shutout inning out of the bullpen from Lemond. The junior right-hander from Houston made a very welcome return to action for the first time since April 4. Lemond pitched a scoreless seventh in front of a mass of professional scouts gathered along the Reckling Park concourse.

Take A Closer Look
Rice has 18 losses, but a closer look is in order. One-third of the losses (6) were to teams that were nationally-ranked when the Owls faced them. Seven losses were by a single run - one in extra innings and another was in the bottom of the ninth. The final margin in 11 of Rice's 18 losses has been two runs or less. Another one of the losses was to a streaking Sam Houston State team that went on to enter Baseball America's national rankings that same week (and has since returned to the NCAA Tournament). Consider that the Owls have had a number of the its star players, including Jordan Stephens, Zech Lemond, Shane Hoelscher, Leon Byrd and John Clay Reeves, all sidelined at various points during the season.

Did You Know?
This season Rice is 32-1 when leading after the sixth inning. Credit some solid work out the Owl bullpen from Matt Ditman (57.2 innings, 9 saves), Trevor Teykl (41.1 inn., 3 saves), Ryan McCarthy (27.0 inn., 1 save) and Zech Lemond (15.1 ip, 3 saves) to name just a few of the staff's key contributors.

Six Owls Earn All-Conference USA Honors
No less than six Rice Owls have earned All-Conference USA accolades the league office announced on May 21. Rice's Michael Aquino (OF), Skyler Ewing (Inf.), Blake Fox (P) and Shane Hoelscher (Inf.) were named to the C-USA first team. John Clay Reeves (C) earned second team all-conference, and with the added honor of being tabbed as the C-USA Newcomer of the Year. Rookie Jon Duplantier (P) was named to the league's all-freshman team squad. All the award winners were selected on a vote of the conference's head coaches, sports information directors and a media representative who cover each program. Aquino is a respected slugger back starting in left field (58 times) after serving as the DH last season. He was named a National Hitter of the Week by Collegiate Baseball on May 12, and has batted .331 with a .517 slugging percentage in league-only games. The senior from The Woodlands, Texas, ranks among the C-USA leaders in doubles (16) and he as collected two or more hits in a game 21 times with two or more RBI 10 different times. On the defensive side, Aquino has thrown-out six runners on the bases from spot in left field... Ewing has started 58 of the team's 59 games, including 51 at first where the team is 38-13. He ranks among the C-USA leaders and in the top 100 in the NCAA with 46 RBI. The standout from Arlington, Texas, has also been a National and
C-USA Hitter of the Week, who is among the league's best in home runs (8), total bases (114), slugging (.496) and hits (76). He bats .375 with runners on base and .400 with men in scoring position. Ewing has been a defensive star at first base, but he is also versatile enough to contribute seven starts at catcher in order to give fellow honoree John Clay Reeves a breather... Fox emerged as the staff ace, who ranks among the C-USA leaders in wins (12-0), ERA (1.38) and innings (97.2). The left-hander from Houston (Episcopal High School) has won 12-of-14 starts. In addition to non-conference wins over national powers Stanford and TCU, he has an 8-0 mark in C-USA games. Fox has pitched into the seventh inning of a game 13 times, with a season long of 8.1. frames. He has held opposing hitters to a composite .229 batting average and twice struck out eight in a single game... Hoelscher has started 54 of the team's 59 games at third base, where he is among the NCAA's and C-USA leaders with 21 doubles. The Belton, Texas, native is also among the league leaders in hitting (.332) and on-base percentage (.395). He is third on the team with 20 multi-hit games, including a season-best four hits vs. Florida Atlantic (where three of the four hits were doubles). Hoelscher has proved to be one of the best defensive third basemen in the conference, maintaining .936 fielding percentage with 120 assists, while starting seven double plays. This year he as recorded season-high five assists in a game three times... In addition to C-USA Newcomer of the Year accolades for Reeves, the junior from Monroe, La., was named to the C-USA All-Academic team. As the Owls' starting catcher he batted a steady .361 with six home runs and 38 RBI for Rice's C-USA regular season champion team. Reeves was twice named the C-USA Hitter of the Week (March 17 and April 20) and he has tallied two or more hits in a game 16 times. Reeves is an outstanding backstop, who head coach Wayne Graham entrusts to call the pitches in games... Duplantier has made a total of 16 appearances on the mound and moved into a starter's role later in the year. The true freshman from Katy, Texas, averages 9.0 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and has held opposing hitters to a composite .224 batting average. Duplantier owns a C-USA ERA of 1.59 ERA in league-only games. He fired a career-long 7.2 innings and struck out a career-high seven for a key C-USA victory over UAB.

Reeves Named To C-USA All-Academic Team
Rice's starting catcher John Clay Reeves was named to the 2014 C-USA Baseball All-Academic Team. In addition to batting a steady .316 with six home runs and 38 RBI for Rice's C-USA regular season champion baseball team, Reeves has also been an outstanding student in his first year with the program. This year the junior transfer originally from Monroe, La., maintained a 3.40 grade point average as a sport management major. He is one of just eleven student-athletes the league recognized for balancing elite play on the field with academic success.
2014 Conference USA Baseball All-Academic Team (*Repeat Selection)
Corbin Shive, Charlotte, Gr., 4.00, Masters, Accounting
*Drew Reynolds, East Carolina, Jr., 3.52, Physical Education
Tyler Rocklein, Florida Atlantic, Sr., 3.60, Exercise Science
Aramis Garcia, FIU, Jr., 3.78, Sports and Fitness
Mike Gomez, FIU, Jr., 3.79, Sports and Fitness
Stephen Gandy, Louisiana Tech, R-Sr., 4.00, Masters, Business Administration
Dean Ali, Old Dominion, Sr., 3.61, Electrical Engineering
John Clay Reeves, Rice, Jr., 3.40, Sport Management
Richard Carthon, Tulane, So., 3.66, Legal Studies
*Tyler Mims, UAB, R-Jr., 3.92, Industrial Distribution
John Bormann, UTSA, Jr., 3.76, Business

Career Climbers
Senior third baseman Shane Hoelscher is just one of the Owl veterans who continue to move up on the baseball program's various all-time listings. Here's an update on some of the career-climbers:
Career Games Played
246, Michael Ratterree, (2010-13)
241, Austin Davis (2001-2004)
240, Diego Seastrunk (2007-10)
234, Eric Arnold (1999-2002)
224, Michael Fuda, (2008-12)
219, Donald Allen (1989-92)
215, Shane Hoelscher (2011-14)
210, Mark Machalec (1981-84)
209, Craig Manuel, (2009-12)
209, Keenan Cook (2011-14)

Career Doubles
65, Austin Davis (2001-2004)
64, Eric Arnold (1999-2002)
64, Lance Berkman (1995-97)
62, Diego Seastrunk (2007-2010)
60, Damon Thames (1998-99)
56, Joe Savery (2005-2007)
56, Rick Hague (2008-2010)
55, Brian Friday (2005-2007)
52, Michael Ratterree (2010-2013)
51, Jay Knoblauh (1985-88)
50, Shane Hoelscher (2011-14)

Career At Bats
924, Austin Davis (2001-2004)
899, Michael Ratterree (2010-2013)
891, Eric Arnold (1999-2002)
877, Diego Seastrunk (2007-10)
822, Michael Fuda, (2008-12)
792, Tyler Henley (2005-2007)
791, Shane Hoelscher (2011-14)
750, Chris Kolkhorst (2002-2004)
748, Donald Allen (1989-92)
746, Rick Hague (2008-10)

Career Saves
27, Cole St. Clair (2005-08)
18, Zech Lemond (2012-14)
17, David Aardsma (2002-03)
14, Matt Anderson (1995-97)
14, Philip Barzilla (2000-01)
13, Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl (1996-99)
13, Wade Townsend (2002-04)
13, Tyler Duffey (2010-12)
12, Tony Cingrani (2010-11)
10, J.T. Chargois (2010-12)
9, Matt Ditman (2013-14)

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 15 years. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999 to 2013 (does NOT include 2014 games):
Team    Years    Wins    Loses    Ties    PCT
Florida State    15    748    261    1    .741
Rice    15    720    260    0    .735
North Carolina    15    694    274    1    .717
Cal State Fullerton    15    666    275    0    .708
South Carolina    15    704    294    0    .705
Coastal Carolina    15    651    277    0    .702
Texas    15    671    293    1    .696
Arizona State    15    604    265    2    .695
Oral Roberts    15    624    281    0    .690
Miami (Fla.)    15    638    294    3    .684
LSU    15    662    305    5    .684
Georgia Tech    15    639    302    1    .679
Wichita State    15    672    329    0    .671
Stanford    15    600    314    2    .656
Clemson    15    641    338    1    .655
Southern    15    464    246    0    .654
Virginia    15    587    315    3    .650
Tulane    15    600    323    2    .650
Nebraska    15    591    321    2    .648
East Carolina    15    586    321    3    .646
Florida Atlantic    15    581    326    1    .640
Notre Dame    15    574    322    5    .640
Dallas Baptist    15    566    319    1    .639
Kent State    15    564    328    0    .632
College of Charleston    15    556    327    1    .630
Florida    15    593    350    2    .629
Ohio State    15    557    331    1    .627
Oklahoma State    15    565    337    0    .626
Oregon State    15    540    324    0    .625
TCU    15    568    342    0    .624
Texas A&M    15    583    352    3    .623
Southern Miss    15    565    347    0    .620
Mississippi    15    573    355    1    .617
Arkansas    15    572    355    1    .617

Owls Ink Eight In Early Signing Period
The Rice baseball program signed eight high school standouts in November who will join the team for the 2015 season. The Owls' latest signing class includes four multi-position players who are versatile enough to contribute as both a pitcher and/or position player/hitter. All are from the high school ranks and seven of the eight are from the greater-Houston area who will be able to have their family and hometown fans continue to watch them play games at Rice's Reckling Park. The class includes Rhp/C Willy Amador from Bryan, Texas, infielders Tristan Gray of Missouri City and Dane Myers of Katy, outfielders Khevin Brewer of Richmond and Stone Garrett of Sugar Land, and the Houston trio of OF/Inf Ryan Chandler, Rhp Michael Rodgers, and Rhp/OF Ricardo Salinas.





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