May 7, 2015
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May 8 (Fri.) 5:30 pm (Central Time); Rice at FAU
Watch the game on the web via FAU
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May 9 (Sat.) 12 Noon (Central Time); Rice at FAU; Televised live by American Sports Net
Watch the game on the web via AmericanSportsNet.com
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May 10 (Sun.) 11 am (Central Time); Rice at FAU
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Rice Baseball, 30-16 overall and 17-7 in Conference USA, returns to league play on May 8-10 with a three-game weekend series at No. 12 ranked Florida Atlantic (36-11 overall, 17-7 C-USA). Start times are set for 5:30 pm Friday, 12 noon on Saturday, and 11 am on Sunday. (All times listed are Central Time.)
It's T.V. Time Saturday Afternoon
Saturday's game has been selected for a live television broadcast. The American Sports Network, a leader in televising collegiate competitions across the country, is bringing the Rice-FAU clash to the nation. Broadcast veterans Dave Armstrong and former major leaguer Brian McRae have the TV call Saturday.
Watch Home Games On OwlVision All Access
Home games, and most C-USA games, are slated for a live on-line video broadcast on OwlVision All Access. OwlVision is a subscription-based service which 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). Information about the service and subscription prices are available at RiceOwls.com. Games that have been selected for TV broadcasts alter the OwlVision availability.
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 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 seventh season as the regular voice of the Owls. The veteran broadcaster has the call this weekend.
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 GameTracker links on the Rice Athletics front page, the weekly series preview, 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.
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 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 1,976 - 1,544 - 9.
National Rankings Update Owls No. 17
The Owls are as high as No. 17 in the national college baseball writer's 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 17 15
USA Today/ESPN 19 17
College Sports Madness 19 19
Collegiate Baseball Magazine 21 21
Baseball America nr nr
D1Baseball.com nr nr
CollegeBaseballDaily nr nr
PerfectGame.com nr nr
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 1,069-436 with the Owls (639-161 at home, 333-214 on the road and 97-61 at neutral sites). His Rice winning percentage is .710, the best in school history. Another way of looking at Graham's .710 win percentage is that it is the equivalent of a major league team winning 115 games in a single year... Graham's record vs. this weekend's opponent is: 4-0 vs. Florida Atlantic... 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 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; 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.
1,644 Wins A Baseball Odyssey
Wayne Graham owns 1,069 Division I wins at Rice, but his career victories tally to 1,644 when you include his 11 years at San Jacinto North College where he won five national championships. Graham's overall "collegiate record" is 1,644-547 in a 33-year coaching career that began in 1981.
Wayne Graham Radio Show Airs Monday Nights
The Wayne Graham Radio Show, the live weekly Rice baseball show featuring coach Wayne Graham, airs on Monday nights at 7 pm through the remainder of the season. The show originates from The Genghis Grill Restaurant between Wesleyan and Edloe on the Southwest Freeway. It airs in the Houston area on Yahoo! Sports Radio 1560 AM, and around the world on RiceOwls.com. Coach Graham will review games from the previous weekend and preview upcoming series. In addition to discussions on college baseball's national rankings and chase for the Conference USA championship, each week's show will include current members of the team, former Owl players and special guests. There will be some Rice give-away items at the show and fans will have a chance to interact via Twitter. The show is a unique opportunity for baseball enthusiasts to get direct insight from one of the college game's most successful icons who was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame and who has more than 1,000 Division I wins.
Possible Starting Pitchers
The three pitchers to start the previous C-USA weekend series were reshirt junior right-hander Jordan Stephens (5-3, 3.46), junior right-hander Kevin McCanna (5-3, 3.39), and junior left-hander Blake Fox (6-2, 3.82) - respectively at Western Kentucky.
After being sidelined most of last season, Jordan Stephens has worked his way back into a 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 sixth start of the season in the opening game of the Western Kentucky series (April 24). He earned his fifth win at WKU after striking out seven in 5.0 innings and leaving with a comfortable lead (where the Owls went on to win by a final score of 11-4). Against first place foe 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 39.0 innings Stephens has held all hitters to a composite .228 batting average with 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings. His strikeouts-to-walks ratio is 5.8-to-1. A start this weekend would be the 35th of his collegiate career. He's now at 207 strikeouts for his career.
Kevin McCanna is a veteran with 45 appearances in his collegiate career, including 28 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 3.39 ERA in 66.1 innings of work, and has held opposing batters to a composite .274 average. The Woodlands, Texas, native averages 8.1 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and maintained a 3.1-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. He fanned a career-best 11 batters in his previous start at WKU (game two of the April 3 double-header). He pitched a scoreless inning in relief against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday night.
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 12 starts this year Fox is 6-2 with a 3.82 ERA... On April 4 Fox suffered the first loss of his collegiate career, but he bounced back a week later to win at UAB. He threw 6.0 innings against the Blazers before leaving with a comfortable 12-1 lead. In 47 career appearances, including 29 collegiate starts, Fox is 24-2 all-time with a 2.53 ERA in 203.0 innings. 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).
Previous Outing: Owls Blank Islanders Wednesday Night, 2-0
HOUSTON - A season-high eight Rice pitchers made a narrow 2-0 margin stand up by combining for a six-hit shutout of visiting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Wednesday evening at Reckling Park... The Owls had a wealth of base-runners in the team's first game since April 26, a quiet nine-day period while the University held its final exams of the spring semester. Rice clubbed eight hits, drew four walks and three times an Owl batter was hit by a pitch. Where the offense didn't get the big hit to break the close game wide-open, no less than eight Rice pitchers passed their part of the test with flying colors... Rice junior left-hander Blake Fox started the contest and quickly worked out of a jam in the top of the first inning with 6-4-3 double play and strikeout. Owls Ryan Chandler and Ford Stainback started the bottom of the inning with walks and Charlie Warren sacrificed the runners up an extra station. Senior John Clay Reeves followed with a single through the left side and Rice was up 1-0... By design, junior right-hander Kevin McCanna worked a scoreless top of the second inning, and lefty John Williamson had a quick 1-2-3 third. Williamson was back to pitch again in the fourth and should have finished the frame with ease, but an Owl fielding error in the inning put Rice in danger. The Islanders eventually reached third, just 90 feet from tying the game, but No. 4 on the night, Ricardo Salinas delivered a big inning-ending strikeout... Salinas went on to work 2.0 full innings on the night while facing just seven TAMCC hitters. Left-hander Austin Solecitto got Rice through the top of the sixth with the slim 1-0 advantage... In the bottom of the sixth, junior catcher Hunter Kopycinski punched a two-out single through the right side. Chandler followed with a liner to the gap in left-center that drove-in Kopycinski and doubled the margin to 2-0... The Islanders continued to fight. With two men on base in the top of the seventh, Owl pitcher No. 7 Austin Orewiler came out of the bullpen and ended the threat. The right-hander picked the lead runner off second base, got a harmless pop-out in foul territory, and an inning-ending strikeout... TAMCC was back on the attack again in the ninth. Zacarias Hardy led off with a single and advanced his way around the bases to third on infield ground outs. Owl veteran stopper Matt Ditman, the staff's ninth hurler of the night, ended the game and preserved the shutout with a strikeout. The save was Ditman's seventh of the season and the 16th of his collegiate career - the fourth-highest career total in school history... On the offensive side, junior Connor Teykl led all players with three hits. Chandler finished the night with a run, an RBI, a hit and a walk. Rice is now 30-16 overall. The Islanders are 21-24 on the season.
Reeves On Johnny Bench Award Watch List
WICHITA, Kansas - Rice senior John Clay Reeves has been named to the official watch list for the 2015 Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher... The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com. The inaugural watch list consists of 75 players from across the country... So far this season Reeves owns a .340 batting average with a team-leading 48 RBI in the Owls' 46 games. The Monroe, La., native and Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year belted his seventh home run of the season in the Owls' 9-8 victory at UTSA (April 18). He has scored 25 runs and maintained a steady .509 slugging percentage with a .431 on-base average... The Johnny Bench Award watch list will be narrowed down semifinalists on May 14. Ballots will be sent to a national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 2, 2015. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 18th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 25, 2015... A 1989 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Johnny Bench was twice named the Most Valuable Player in the National League and a 14-time MLB All-Star. While Bench is remembered for his offense, he may have had the greatest impact behind the plate. He was the first receiver to use a protective helmet in the field and introduced catching techniques that have become the foundation for how the position is played today.
Winning Is Always In Fashion
For the fashion-minded, Rice's 2015 W-L records while wearing the various uniforms is as follows:
9-1 in the white `birds' top
7-3 in all-white,
8-4 in blue tops with pinstripe pants,
5-4 in the gray `birds' top
1-3 in all-gray,
0-1 in the home alternate (`Old English R')
Here's Who's Hot
Over the last 15 games senior second baseman Ford Stainback is an eye-opening 25-for-55 (.455) with two triples and two doubles for a .564 slugging percentage. He also has also drawn 12 walks for a .535 on-base average, scored a team-best 14 runs and stole a base. Stainback has hit safely in 19 of the last 20 games and reached base safely in each of the last 21 outings... When John Clay Reeves was sidelined recently, junior reserve catcher Hunter Kopycinski made the most of his new playing time and it's been hard to keep him out of the lineup. Kopycinski enters the weekend on a 22-for-52 (.423) pace with two doubles, ten RBI, 14 runs scored and a .483 on-base average... Over the last ten games junior first baseman Connor Teykl has gone 17-for-42 (.405) to help raise his season batting average 22 points. The hot stretch includes four doubles and a triple for a .548 slugging percentage, as well as seven RBI and four walks for a .468 on-base percentage... Keep an eye on freshman centerfielder Ryan Chandler, who over the last five games is now 6-for-18 (.333) with two doubles and five walks for a .478 on-base average... Sophomore outfielder Charlie Warren has reached base in 10-straight games.
Stainback Continues Career Climb In Record Books
Senior second baseman Ford Stainback enters the weekend with 831 at bats in his collegiate career, the fifth-highest total in school history. He now needs 46 more at bats to tie Diego Seastrunk (877 at bats from 2007-2010) for No. 4 all-time. Stainback has also played in 218 games during his collegiate career, which ties for the seventh-highest total in school history (with Shane Hoelscher, 218 games from 2011-2014). Stainback now only needs one more appearance to tie Donald Allen (219 games from 1989-1992) for No. 6, in school history.
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 186-60 (.765).
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 17.2 innings from 13 appearances, Pettitte owns a 4.58 ERA while holding opponents to a .243 batting average. He averages 13.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings with a 3.3-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Matt `The Man' Ditman
Junior reliever Matt Ditman notched his seventh save of the season Wednesday night against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. It was also the 16th of his career, the fourth-highest career total in school history. The right-hander needs just one more save to tie Owl great and major league pitcher David Aardsma (2002-2003) for third on the Rice career saves list. Ditman enters the weekend games with a 2.82 ERA in 44.2 innings.
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. So far nine Rice regular season games are slated for a TV broadcast and that number could still grow with a possible TV appearance in the championship final of the C-USA Tournament in late May. 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
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 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 www.collegebaseballhall.org... For more information, contact Mike Gustafson, National College Baseball Hall of Fame president and CEO, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).
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.
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.
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 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
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:
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
The 2015 Conference USA Favorites
IRVING, Texas - With three preseason all-conference players, including the Owl battery of Blake Fox and John Clay Reeves as the respective 2015 Preseason Pitcher and Player of the Year, the Rice baseball team was picked to finish first in the league in the annual Conference USA head coaches' poll. All twelve of the C-USA head coaches voted Rice as the preseason favorite for 2015. Since joining the conference in 2006 the Owls have been the league favorite every year there has been a poll (officially nine-of-the-last-ten years as there was no coaches poll conducted in 2010). This season Owls return five offensive starters in the batting order and a host of veteran pitchers who helped lead last year's squad to a 42-20 overall record, the C-USA regular season and tournament titles, and to a home NCAA Regional at Reckling Park. Rice's veteran standouts, including Fox (Jr., LHP), Reeves (Sr., C), and fellow C-USA preseason honoree Matt Ditman (Jr., RHP), all have the full attention of the C-USA head coaches.
2015 PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS (selected by C-USA's head coaches)
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Rice (12)
3. Old Dominion
4. Southern Miss
6. Florida Atlantic
8. Middle Tennessee
12. Louisiana Tech
(first place votes in parentheses)
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
John Clay Reeves, Rice (Senior, C)
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Blake Fox, Rice (Junior, Left-hander)
PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
P Blake Fox Jr. Rice
P Alex Luna Sr. UAB
P Chris Mourelle So. FIU
RP Matt Ditman Jr. Rice
C John Clay Reeves Sr. Rice
IF Josh Anderson Sr. FIU
IF Ryan Church Sr. WKU
IF P.J. Higgins Jr. Old Dominion
IF Taylor Love Jr. Louisiana Tech
IF Stephen Kerr So. Florida Atlantic
OF Jared Allen Sr. Middle Tennessee
OF Brendon Sanger Jr. Florida Atlantic
OF Nick Walker So. Old Dominion
DH/UT Matt Durst Sr. Southern Miss)
Owls Ink Eight 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.