June 6, 2012
HOUSTON - Rice senior pitcher Taylor Wall and redshirt junior pitcher/outfielder Chase McDowell were selected on the final day of the 2012 Major League Baseball amateur draft Wednesday (June 6), making for a total of eight Owls drafted by the professional ranks the last two days. The eight selections is the most for the Rice program since 11 Owls were selected by pro teams in 2008.
Wall was picked in the 22nd round by the Milwaukee Brewers. The senior left-hander finished second on the staff with 29 appearances, all out of the bullpen. Wall served a critical relief role for the team as the Owls' lone southpaw on the staff. The Houston native tied for third on the team in wins (6), was fourth in opponent's batting average (.227) and fifth in innings (61.1). He averaged 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings and posted wins over New Mexico State, Texas A&M, Dallas Baptist, Tulane, Florida International and crosstown rival Houston. During one stretch of the 2012 season Wall recorded a total of 20.2 innings in 10 appearances over a 14-game span where he allowed just one earned run and struck out 18. The area's prep Pitcher of the Year from Westside High School closed-out his Rice career with 19 collegiate wins and 205 strikeouts in 275.2 innings.
The versatile McDowell was selected in the 30th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. A native of College Station, Tex., McDowell bounced-back from a season-ending injury in 2011 to pitch in nine games this season, including starting assignments against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and a New Mexico State team that went on to play in an NCAA Regional. He finished the year without a decision and a 4.50 ERA in 10.0 innings. McDowell also contributed to the Blue & Gray's Conference USA championship season with eight starts as either a designated hitter or outfielder. He batted .243 (9-for-37) with six runs scored, five RBI and a home run that helped Rice defeat NCAA Regional-bound Dallas Baptist.
The two draftees join fellow Owls J.T. Chargois (Minnesota, 2nd round, 72nd pick overall), Tyler Duffey (Minnesota, 5th round, 160th pick overall), Craig Manuel (Washington, 10th - 324), Jeremy Rathjen (Los Angeles Dodgers, 11th - 356), Matthew Reckling (Los Angeles Dodgers, 14th - 446) and Andrew Benak (New York Yankees, 14 - 457) - who were picked in the draft on Tuesday (June 5). Each of these Rice players made a dramatic improvement in their draft status under the leadership and daily coaching of Rice head coach and former major leaguer Wayne Graham. It is the first time for Chargois, Duffey, Manuel, Benak and McDowell to be drafted by professional organizations.
In 2012 Rice won the C-USA regular season baseball championship with a 41-19 overall record. The program made its 18th-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and posted its 18th-straight season with at least 40 wins.