Owls Face Ragin' Cajuns Friday In NCAA Regional

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May 29 (Fri.) 2:30 pm; Louisiana vs. Rice (these links activate at game time)
Watch the game on-line at ESPN3

E-mail baseball SID John Sullivan

The nationally-ranked Rice baseball team, 35-20 overall and the C-USA regular season champion, is back in the NCAA Tournament this week as regional play begins Friday (May 29) at 16 sites across the country. The Owls travel across town to UH's Cougar Field for the four-team Houston Regional. The Blue & Gray is the No. 2 seed of a four-team group that consists of No. 1 seed Houston (42-18), No. 3 seed Louisiana (39-21) and No. 4 seed Houston Baptist (28-25).

Owls Face Ragin' Cajuns Friday
Rice meets the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns at 2:30 pm on Friday in the double-elimination tournament format. Houston and HBU play at 7 pm. The game times for both Saturday and Sunday (May 30-31) are also scheduled for 2:30 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 1) at 7 pm if necessary.

Watch The Regional Action On ESPN3
Every game of the Regional is scheduled for broadcast on ESPN3. Broadcasters Doug Sherman (play-by-play) and former University of South Carolina star John Gregory (analysis) have the ESPN3 call this weekend. Sam Schrade serves as the broadcast producer.

Audio Broadcasts - Catch Every Rice Baseball Game On The Web
Every Rice baseball game this season is scheduled for a live audio broadcast around the world on the Internet at Tune-in to the pregame show 15 minutes before each game's first pitch. J.P. Heath is in his seventh season as the regular voice of the Owls. The veteran broadcaster has the call for the rest of the postseason.

Live Stats On GameTracker
Links to live play-by-play text and statistics from every home game are posted on Look for the GameTracker links on the Rice Athletics front page, the weekly series preview, and the baseball schedule page.

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.

What's After The Regionals?

The 16 Regional winners advance to play in one of eight best-of-three Super Regionals getting under way the following week (June 5-8). The Houston Regional is paired with the LSU Regional where the Tigers are the No. 2 national seed. The 69th Baseball College World Series begins play the week after that, (June 13) in Omaha, Nebraska.

99th 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 2015 season is, however, only the Owls' 99th 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 1,981 - 1,549 - 9.

National Rankings Update • Owls Ranked As High As No. 19
The Owls are as high as No. 19 in the national college baseball writers' poll. Here's a closer look at some of the latest national rankings, and changes from last week (as available at press time):
Poll Current Previous
NCBWA 19 15
USA Today/ESPN 20 16 25 21
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 26 24
College Sports Madness -- 17
CollegeBaseballDaily -- 22
Baseball America nr 21 nr 25

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).

Rice In The NCAA Tourney
Rice has played 125 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 78-47 (.624).

Against This Year's Field
If you want to find about almost one-eighth of the entire NCAA Tournament field then just ask Rice. This year the Owls have already played 17 games against seven different teams in The Dance. The Blue & Gray was 9-8 against programs in the current 64-team NCAA Tournament field.

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 24th season at Rice. The 2015 campaign marks his 35th year as a collegiate head coach... He is now 1,074-440 with the Owls (641-162 at home, 336-214 on the road and 97-64 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .709, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .709 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 114 games in a single year... Graham's record vs. the three teams in this week's regional are as follows: 12-5 vs. Louisiana; 80-32 vs. Houston; and 7-0 vs. Houston Baptist... 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 now 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 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; tenth year), Clay Van Hook (Texas, 2008; fourth year) and Scott Shepperd (Concordia, 2007; third year)... On game days Van Hook coaches at third base while Shepherd coaches at first.

1,649 Wins • A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,074 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,649 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,649-551 in a 33-year coaching career that began in 1981.

Possible Starting Pitchers
Coach Graham will announce Rice's starting pitchers for the Regional at a later time. Here are some capsules, listed alphabetically, of the Owls to start recent games.
A host of news organizations had a preseason All-America team leading up to the 2015 campaign, and Blake Fox was on just about every one of them. In 14 starts this year Fox is 8-2 with a 3.34 ERA. In 49 career appearances, including 31 collegiate starts, Fox is 26-2 all-time with a 2.44 ERA in 214.1 innings. He's come through with big outings in each of the team's last two games (vs. FIU and FAU), allowing just one earned run and holding the opponents to a composite .195 batting average while striking out seven in a combined 11.1 innings. On April 4 Fox suffered the first loss of his collegiate career, but he bounced back a week later to win at UAB. Pitching is only part of the story, however. Fox is a versatile enough athlete to make additional appearances either as a first baseman, designated hitter or pinch hitter (against right-handed pitching).
Kevin McCanna is also a veteran with 48 appearances in his collegiate career, including 31 starting assignments. With ten Friday night starts this year, McCanna has already faced the best pitchers from Stanford, Arizona, Texas, Middle Tennessee, UTSA, Southern Miss, UAB, Old Dominion, Charlotte and LA Tech. He owns a 3.05 ERA in 79.2 innings of work, and has held opposing batters to a composite .272 average. The Woodlands, Texas, native averages 7.1 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and maintained a 2.7-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. Earlier he fanned a career-best 11 batters in a start at Western Kentucky.
Glenn Otto has the lowest ERA (1.56) and opponents' batting average (.148) of any Owl on the staff. The rookie right-hander averages a team-leading 15.3 strikeouts per 9.0 innings, with a strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 2.5-to-1. The native of Spring, Texas, fanned a career-high nine in his second career start on May 12 vs. crosstown rival Houston. He also made a pre-determined 2.0-innings start as part of a "staff day" at Lamar on March 31. Otto's two wins were out of the bullpen in the Saturday game against LA Tech (March 14) and then 10 days later at home against Sam Houston State. His longest outing was 4.1 scoreless frames against NCAA Regional foe Houston Baptist, one of seven times for him to pitch at least 3.0 innings.
After being sidelined most of last season, Jordan Stephens has worked his way back into the top weekend starter's role. Bringing the veteran back into the mix on a slow and predetermined work schedule has paid-off. The redshirt junior from Alvin, Texas, made his ninth start of the season in the opening game of the C-USA Tournament where he was on a 60-pitch count. In a May 8 start at NCAA Regional-bound Florida Atlantic he fired 6.2 shutout innings, scattering three hits and a walk with one hit batsman. For his efforts he was named the C-USA Pitcher of the Week. At FAU he tied a season-high with eight strikeouts and held all opposing hitters to a composite .143 batting average. Against Middle Tennessee (April 3), he had eight strikeouts in 6.0 shutout innings and was named the C-USA co-Pitcher of the Week. So far in 52.0 innings Stephens has held all hitters to a composite .228 batting average with 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings. His strikeouts-to-walks ratio is 4.8-to-1. A start in the NCAA Tournament would be the 38th of his collegiate career. He's now at 222 strikeouts for his career.

Conference Titles Streak Now At 20-Straight
Rice has been to the NCAA Tournament 21-straight times. The team's streak of conference titles has been just one behind (20-straight years)... 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

Previous Outing: Middle Tennessee Tops Rice at C-USA Tourney
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Rice baseball team rallied to take the lead heading into the ninth inning, only to have Middle Tennessee slip away with a 6-5 win over the Owls in the May 21 morning elimination game at the annual Conference USA Baseball Tournament in Hattiesburg, Miss.... Like Wednesday's opening round game of the tournament, which ended by the identical narrow one-run score of 6-5, Rice came up just short in the ninth. The Owls made two costly fielding errors and had a pair of wild pitches as Middle Tennessee plated two runs - the first to tie and the second to take the lead... "We have struggled with defense all year," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "We had some bad plays at the end. It is heartbreaking. It is baseball, you've got to live with it. We just didn't play well," he added. "It is hard to understand at this time of year that stuff happening, but it does. They are young. We hope we will rebound from it."... Middle Tennessee scored a run on a wild pitch in the top of the second and added another in the third on an RBI double by Jared Allen. The Blue Raiders added two more in the fourth after Rice did not get a close call at first base on shortstop Tristan Gray's solid stop and throw on a ball hit deep in the hole. An Owl fielding error later in the inning then added some extra time as well as a 4-0 deficit... Down but not out, Gray laced a triple to right in the bottom of the inning and Ryan Chandler drove him home to make it 4-1. The Owls rallied for two more on three hits in the sixth. Rice tied the game in the seventh as Grayson Lewis drew a one-out walk and hustled to second on a wild pitch before scoring on Ford Stainback's RBI single to right field... Rice took its first lead, 5-4, in the eighth. Chandler singled with one away and scored all the way from first base on John Williamson's rocket double down the right field line. The Owls could have used a little more insurance runs that inning, or brought in the nine the team left on base over the course of the game.

Just Sayin'
Rice had a quick exit from the C-USA Tournament after just two games. The Owls want to point out the last time that happened the team 1) re-focused in a big way and 2) found there was a silver-lining for having a well-rested pitching staff. In 2008 Rice went 0-2 in the conference tournament, but then proceeded to reach the College World Series by storming through the Regional and Super Regional the following weekends.

Stainback Continues Career Climb In Record Books
Senior second baseman Ford Stainback enters the week with 867 at bats in his collegiate career, the fifth-highest total in school history. He now needs 10 more at bats to tie Diego Seastrunk (877 at bats from 2007-2010) for No. 4 all-time. Stainback has also played in 227 games during his collegiate career, the fifth-highest total in school history. He needs seven more games to tie Eric Arnold (234 games from 1999-2002) for No. 4 all-time.

Here's Who's Hot
Ford Stainback enters the Regional climbing in the career ledgers and on a 6-for-9 clip at the C-USA Tournament where he had a double and three RBI. He also has a walk for a .700 on-base average the last two games... True freshman Tristan Gray has stepped-up with a 6-for-17 (.353) pace the last five games that has included a pair of triples for a .588 slugging percentage... Junior third baseman Grayson Lewis is now 5-for-15 with five runs scored in his last six games. Lewis has also drawn five walks and twice been hit by a pitch for a .565 on-base average during the recent stretch... Connor Teykl is now up over .300 after a 7-for-22 pace the last six games. Teykl also has a double to go along with three walks during the current stretch.

Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion-minded, Rice's 2015 W-L records while wearing the various uniforms is as follows:
9-3 in the white `birds' top
8-4 in all-white
10-4 in blue tops with pinstripe pants
6-4 in the gray `birds' top
2-4 in all-gray
0-1 in the home alternate (`Old English R')

Seven Owls Earn All-Conference Honors
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - No less than seven Rice Owls earned all-league honors. Under the daily training and development program of Rice head coach Wayne Graham, Owls Matt Ditman (P), Austin Orewiler (P), John Clay Reeves (DH), Ford Stainback (Inf.) and Jordan Stephens (P) were named to the C-USA first team. Kirby Taylor (OF) earned second team all-conference. Rice rookie Ryan Chandler (OF) was named to the league's All-Freshman team with the added honor of being tabbed as the C-USA Freshman of the Year. 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... Ditman delivered on his selection as a 2015 preseason all-conference honoree, ranking among the team and C-USA leaders in saves (10), opponents' batting average (.224), strikeouts (66), ERA (2.85) and appearances (28). The senior right-hander gets extended work in practically every appearance, averaging almost exactly 2.0 innings per outing. He averages 11.1 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and has maintained a 4.7-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio... Orewiler's dramatic improvement has led to a more prominent role and increased work-load this season. The right-hander has contributed equally as both a starter and reliever, maintaining a 2.63 ERA in 75.1 innings. The Galveston, Texas, native ranks among the C-USA leaders in ERA, strikeouts (73) and opponents' average (.227). At just under 6.0 innings for each of his seven starts, Orewiler also averages 8.7 strikeouts per 9.0 innings with a 2.7-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. He struck out a career-high 11 batters in a start against crosstown rival and nationally-ranked Houston... Stainback has started 54 of the team's 55 games, all at second base. The senior ranks among the C-USA leaders in batting average (.336), runs (46), hits (72), triples (3), and OB% (.414). Stainback has 18 multi-hit games this year, including a season-best four hits in a game twice. He reached base in 24-straight games during one stretch, but his offense was only part of the story. The Dallas native maintains a .972 fielding percentage with 138 assists, and he has started or turned 28 double plays... If the conference had a `comeback player of the year' it might have gone to Stephens. The redshirt junior has been solid in his return to action after sitting out most of last season with an injury. Stephens is among the C-USA leaders in wins (6) and strikeouts (67). Each victory, one save, and all but 6.2 innings, were all against C-USA opponents. The Alvin, Texas, native averages 11.6 strikeouts per 9.0 innings, and has maintained a 4.8-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio... Reeves and Taylor were recognized for their success on and off the field. In addition to a team-leading eight home runs, .484 slugging percentage and 55 RBI in 52 games played, Reeves is hitting .324 with 24 walks for a .424 on-base average... Taylor leads the Owls and is among the best in the Conference with a .339 batting average. He has collected two or more hits in a game 18 times and is second in slugging (.431)... Chandler is the fourth Owl in C-USA history to earn Freshman of the Year, a prestigious list that includes eventual major league draft picks Austin Kubitza (2011), Anthony Rendon (2009) and Ryan Berry (2007). The rookie from Houston has started all 53 games in centerfield, including 51 as the leadoff hitter in the order. Chandler has batted a steady .291 for the full season and .290 in C-USA only games. He's collected two or more hits in a game a team-leading 20 times, with a career-high three hits on six different occasions. The former prep star from Strake Jesuit has maintained a .370 on-base percentage and reached base in 21 consecutive games during one stretch. The fleet fielder has displayed eye-opening defensive range patrolling centerfield.

Academic Honorees
IRVING, Texas -- Rice seniors John Clay Reeves and Kirby Taylor were both named to the 2015 C-USA Baseball All-Academic Team for balancing elite play on the field with academic success. The Rice duo earned academic recognition just two days after helping lead the baseball program to its 20th-straight conference championship (winning the 2015 C-USA title outright for a second-straight year)... In the classroom Taylor maintained a 3.42 grade point average in Economics, with a Business minor. The Bellaire, Texas, native was also recently named to the CoSIDA District VII All-Academic First Team, which makes him eligible to earn Academic All-America (to be announced later in the season)... Reeves is a back-to-back selection to the league's All-Academic squad. The senior originally from Monroe, La., maintained a 3.33 grade point average as a sport management major.

Matt `The Man' Ditman
Junior reliever Matt Ditman is now at 19 saves for his collegiate career for the second-highest total in school history. The Rice career record for saves is 27 by Cole St.Clair (2005-2008). Ditman enters the week with a 2.85 ERA in 53.2 innings, and holding opponents to a composite .224 batting average.

Seven Owls Named To All-Silver Glove Series Team
One of the distinctive features of the Rice-Houston series is the naming of the annual All-Silver Glove team. This year seven Owls claimed spots on the all-series team. The 2015 All-Silver Glove team was Chris Iriart (UH), Corey Julks (UH), Grayson Lewis (Rice), Austin Orewiler (Rice), Glenn Otto (Rice), Seth Romero (UH), Ford Stainback (Rice), Kirby Taylor (Rice), Connor Teykl (Rice), Charlie Warren (Rice), MVP -- Seth Romero (UH).

Many Happy Returns
Jordan Stephens is one Owl who is making a comeback this season after being sidelined for more than a year. Another pitcher on the comeback trail is freshman redshirt-transfer Josh Pettitte. Pettitte has been impressive while slowly building up innings and outings. In 19.0 innings from 14 appearances, Pettitte owns a 6.16 ERA while holding opponents to a .250 batting average. He averages 12.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings with a 2.5-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

Nine (9) Televised Games In Regular Season
The people in the business of selecting games for television broadcasts have a good idea of the teams the public want to see. In 2015 nine Rice regular season games were picked-up for a TV broadcast. Here is Rice's "starting nine" games on TV:
Feb. 20 (Fri.) at Arizona, PAC-12 Network
Feb. 21 (Sat.) at Arizona, PAC-12 Network
Feb. 22 (Sun.) at Arizona, PAC-12 Network
Mar. 3 (Tues.) at TCU, FOXSSW+
Mar. 27 (Fri.) vs. Southern Miss, FOX Sports 2
Apr. 18 (Sat.) vs. UTSA, ASN
Apr. 26 (Sun.) at Western Kentucky, ASN
May 9 (Sat.) at Florida Atlantic, ASN
May 16 (Sat.) vs. FIU, FOX Sports Net

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 191-61 (.758).

Berkman To Be Inducted Into College Baseball Hall of Fame
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Former Rice Owl great Lance Berkman has been selected for induction into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame later this summer, the College Baseball Foundation announced March 4 from its headquarters in Lubbock, Texas... Joining Berkman in the 2015 College Baseball Hall of Fame induction class are Frank Viola, a Cy Young Award winner, World Series MVP and three-time major league all-star who led St. John's to the 1980 College World Series; Joe Arnold, a two-time NJCAA All-American pitcher at Miami-Dade who also earned Most Valuable Player honors at the 1966 NJCAA World Series; Larry Hays, who is one of only eight coaches at any level of college baseball with 1,500 wins; Al Holland, a ten-year major league pitcher and collegiate star at North Carolina A&T; Bill Holowaty, the third-winningest coach in NCAA Division III history; Mike Kelly, who was the consensus national player of the year in 1990 and winner of the 1991 Golden Spikes Award; and Rick Reichardt, who won the first recognized collegiate national player of the year award in 1964. The induction ceremony is set for June 29, in Lubbock... Before he became a six-time major league all-star and 2011 World Series champion, Berkman amassed 67 home runs, 272 RBI and a .385 batting average in his collegiate career at Rice (1995-97). He led the Owls to the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1995, and first College World Series appearance in 1997, when he was named the National Player of the Year and was a unanimous All-America selection. That season he won the Western Athletic Conference triple crown with a .431 average, 41 homers and 134 RBI, as well as being the league leader in runs (109) and hits (110). The New Braunfels, Texas, native was a first-round MLB draft pick in 1997 (16th player selected overall) by the Houston Astros, who eventually led that franchise to its first World Series appearance in 2005... "This class features players and coaches with some incredible superlatives," said Mike Gustafson, executive director of the College Baseball Hall of Fame. "There are some unique and outstanding accomplishments by the individuals in this class. Our voting committees consists of longtime college baseball media members, active and former coaches, retired umpires, past inductees, college baseball historians and in several cases they are also former players," Gustafson added. "I commend them on another outstanding job."... Berkman joins Owl head coach Wayne Graham in National College Baseball Hall of Fame. Coach Graham was inducted in the 2012 class... "I can't imagine a more deserving player for this honor than Lance," coach Graham said. "He had one of the greatest years in the history of college baseball (in 1997) to help get us to Omaha. He is one of the prime players who elevated our program in so many ways. Congratulations to Lance, and all the new inductees."... Tickets for the 2015 induction will be available in May on the Hall of Fame's website at For more information, contact Mike Gustafson, National College Baseball Hall of Fame president and CEO, at

Did You Know?
There have been plenty of players who have hit 40 home runs in a major league season, but just four Division I players who have hit 40 homers in the significantly shorter collegiate season. Lance Berkman is the only person on both these lists. He clubbed 41 round-trippers at Rice in 1997, and then had two 40-plus homer seasons with the Houston Astros - in 2002 (42 HR) and 2006 (45 HR).

Owls Ink 11 In Early Signing Period
The Rice baseball program has signed eleven high school standouts in the early period who will join the team for the 2016 season. The list of newest Owls includes: Dominic DiCaprio, Zachary Esquivel, Kendal Jefferies, Gavin Johnson, Jackson Parthasarathy, Jay Proctor, Braden Rollins, Brent Schwarz, Jacob Simon, Cody Staab, and Lucas Wakamatsu. The group consists of four pitchers, two catchers, two infielders, an outfielder and two 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. Eight are from Texas and two 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 16 years. Here's a closer look at the country's winningest programs from 1999 to 2014: (Does not include 2015 results)
Team Years Wins Loses Ties PCT
Florida State 16 791 278 1 .740
Rice 16 762 280 0 .731
North Carolina 16 729 301 1 .708
South Carolina 16 748 312 0 .706
Cal St. Fullerton 16 700 299 0 .701
Texas 16 717 314 1 .695
Arizona State 16 637 289 2 .688
LSU 16 708 321 6 .687
Coastal Carolina 16 675 310 0 .685
Miami (Fla.) 16 682 313 3 .685
Oral Roberts 16 654 307 0 .681
Georgia Tech 16 676 329 1 .672
Wichita State 16 703 357 0 .663
Virginia 16 640 331 3 .659
Stanford 16 635 340 2 .651
Clemson 16 677 363 1 .651
Nebraska 16 632 342 2 .649
East Carolina 16 619 347 3 .640
Tulane 16 623 352 2 .639
Southern 16 474 272 0 .635
Florida Atlantic 16 609 351 1 .634
C. of Charleston 16 600 346 1 .634
Oregon State 16 585 338 0 .634
Oklahoma State 16 613 355 0 .633
TCU 16 616 360 0 .631
Kent State 16 600 351 0 .631
Florida 16 633 373 2 .629
Notre Dame 16 596 353 5 .627
Mississippi 16 621 376 1 .623
Louisville 16 607 368 1 .622
Texas A&M 16 619 378 3 .621
Ohio State 16 587 359 1 .620
Vanderbilt 16 607 374 0 .619
UL-Lafayette 16 604 372 1 .619

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