Thanksgiving Day eve was a travel day for the Owls, their fans and family. While the group of fans made it down on an earlier flight and enjoyed a three-hour bus tour from Veradero through Matanzas to Havana, the team arrived at the Melia Habana hotel at 8:10 p.m. local time.
From left: Dayne Wunderlich, Robbie Lammons and Andrew Dunlap.
As soon as coach Wayne Graham, his staff and team members were able to get checked into their rooms and drop off their luggage, they joined the rest of the party for a buffet dinner in the hotel.
With the national holiday tomorrow, we asked some of the guys what their favorite thing about Thanksgiving Day is.
Cody Staab, outfielder from College Station, Texas:
“It’s definitely about getting to be around the ones you care about and love. This year it’s not with my family but these guys, the guys I’m with (here). I am with them much of time. These guys are just as much family to me. As for a favorite food item, my mom makes the best stuffing in the world.”
Andrew Dunlap, DH, from Houston:
“I have to say my mother makes a sweet potato pie with mushrooms and pecans cooked into the mushroom topping … that and cranberry sauce.”
Ryan Chandler, outfielder from Houston:
“My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is definitely being around family and the homemade food my mom and grandma make for us … just being around the entire family and telling stories.”
Dayne Wunderlich, outfielder, from Brenham, Texas:
“My favorite thing is probably just going back home and being in Brenham and seeing all of my family. I have two nephews, a niece, all my brothers and my grandparents. It’s just good to get home during the holidays and see everyone.”
Kendal Jeffries, infielder and pitcher, from Spring, Texas:
“The meal. I love the meal … just sitting around the table with my family and enjoying a good meal. My mom makes deviled eggs every Thanksgiving and they go fast, so you better get them quick.”
The Owls will celebrate their holiday away from their family and country, but they’re going to stay busy. First thing in the morning the team will hold its first Cuba practice. Then they’ll have a classroom session with Professor Luis Duno-Gottberg and the Cuban Baseball Federation. To end the day, the team will join family and friends for a dinner at La Divina Pastora. We’ll have coverage of the Owls’ first full day tomorrow evening.
Tip of the day: Cubans prefer you say “ciao” rather than “adios” when parting.
Follow #LosBuhos and @RiceBaseball on Twitter throughout the trip for updates on the team’s activities.
Los Buhos to visit Cuba Rice baseball team to play 5 games, attend classes and explore Cuban culture
The Rice University baseball team will embark on a 12-day trip to Cuba beginning Nov. 23. Los Buhos (The Owls) will play five games against Cuban Baseball Federation teams, attend classes and explore Cuba’s culture.
The trip, which was announced at an Aug. 11 news conference, has been months in the making.
“Our baseball team’s trip to Cuba is a terrific complement to the players’ Rice education,” said Rice Athletics Director Joe Karlgaard. “Student-athlete time demands are such that study-abroad opportunities are rare. I’m grateful to the Rice faculty and administration who worked out the logistics to make this trip a reality.”
The Owls will wear a special patch with the U.S. and Cuban flags on their hats, along with specially made “Los Buhos” jersey tops, as they explore western Cuba. They will play Artemisa at Estadio 26 de Julio (July 26 Stadium) in Artemisa, the Mayabeque Huracanes in San José de las Lajas, Pinar del Rio Vegueros in Pinar del Rio, Cienfuegos Elefantes in Cienfuegos and Los Industriales in Havana at Cuba’s largest stadium, Estadio Latinoamericano (Latin American Stadium), which seats 55,000 fans.
For two Owls, this will be their second time experiencing baseball in Cuba. Last summer Rice pitcher Glenn Otto was on the U.S. Collegiate National Team that played and won a five-game series against the Cuban National Team.
“Going to Cuba this past summer we were more focused on the baseball side of things,” Otto said. “This time around, we have a lot more background information on Cuba, the history of Cuba — everything that’s happened there with the revolution and Fidel Castro, Latin American relations with the U.S. … It’s good to know that information going in, and we can dive into Cuba with that knowledge and keep growing and learning more.”
For Rice head coach Wayne Graham, it’s been a little while longer since he played in Cuba. In 1960, Graham was playing AAA ball for Buffalo, N.Y., when the team visited and played against the Havana Sugar Kings. Graham said that about 18 players from that Sugar Kings team eventually played professional baseball on the AAA level in the United States.
“Cubans love baseball, and they have the weather for it,” Graham said. “Castro liked baseball, so they sanctioned it. He promoted and loved it, and the people love it. It stayed as ‘the’ sport in Cuba.
“Every town in Cuba that has a population of more than 100,000 has a big stadium, every one of them,” he said.
“Our president (David Leebron) loves the idea of international relations and connections … and our AD (Karlgaard) approved the idea, so the trip was considered to be a win-win situation for everyone involved … if it was doable.”
With the recent lifting of certain U.S. sanctions on Cuba, baseball visits have become doable for the time being.
Beginning at the start of the fall semester, all members of the baseball team registered for and started attending a class on trends in contemporary Cuba taught by Luis Duno-Gottberg, associate professor and chair of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American studies.
Duno-Gottberg has been taking Rice students to Cuba for nearly a decade, shortly after he arrived at Rice. He began his personal travels and research of the island nation in the early ’90s, right after the fall of the Soviet Union, in what Duno-Gottberg said the Cubans call “the Special Period.”
If the Flickr player does not open for you, please go here.
“Here in Houston the students have been learning about Cuban history and culture, along with a component of the history of Cuban baseball,” Duno-Gottberg said. “I’ve also invited them to think about baseball beyond baseball — to connect it with politics, economics and racial issues.”
In Cuba, the team will have classroom sessions with talks from guest speakers and discussions of Cuban music, art and architecture, along with a class with the Cuban Baseball Federation. But Duno-Gottberg said, “When we get to Cuba, I want the team to understand beyond the traditional classroom setting and experience that Havana itself will be the classroom,” he said.
The Owls will have plenty to experience outside of baseball. The trip includes a visit to Morro Castle and the Fort of Saint Charles, the Museum of the Revolution, the Museum of Fine Arts, an architectural walking tour of Old Havana, lunch at the historic Hotel Nacional and a walking tour and tourism class in Varadero in Cuba’s Matanzas Province.
“I am a Latin American and a Caribbean, so this class is very meaningful to me,” Duno-Gottberg said. “Personally, I hope that when we are done with the semester, students will have gained a deep appreciation for other cultures; for other ways to be in the world. From the academic point of view, I hope they develop a critical approach to their own history and they understand how the United States connects with Latin America and the Caribbean. This critical thinking skill will allow them to draw their own conclusions about historical events, but also about their present time.”
Barring technical difficulties, the Owls trip will be chronicled daily online at riceowls.com/OwlsInCuba. Fans can also follow the team on Twitter at #LosBuhos.
Flickr photos by Tommy LaVergne
Video by Brandon Martin
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After fighting through weather delays and postponements for the better part of a week, the Owls fell 5-2 to the LSU Tigers in a game seven winner-take-all in the Baton Rouge Regional and a ticket to advance to this weekend’s Super Regional round.
Willy Amador provided six shutout innings before being tagged in the seventh inning for three runs, which gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. LSU added two more runs in the eighth inning to seal the victory.
With the Owls leading 2-0 after two innings, the Tigers brought in reliever Jared Poche. Poche stymied the Owls over the next six innings, allowing only one hit while fanning six.
A full write-up of the game by Rice baseball SID John Sullivan is below.
Click on the play button to view a Flickr gallery of today’s action. To enlarge the gallery, click here.
Six Rice Owls were named to the 2016 NCAA Baton Rouge All-Tournament Team: Pitcher: Glenn Otto; catcher: Hunter Kopycinski; second base: Grayson Lewis (Lewis led the tournament in hits); third base: Connor Teykl; outfield: Charlie Warren and DH Dominic DiCaprio.
Click below to listen to the postgame news conference and comments from Lewis, Willy Amador and Coach Wayne Graham.
Sullivan’s postgame news release:
Rice baseball season comes to an end with 5-2 loss to LSU Owls put up gritty battle in rowdy road game; finish 2016 season with 38-24 record
BATON ROUGE, La. – With just nine outs to go to advance to the NCAA Super Regional round, the visiting Rice baseball team saw its seventh-inning lead slip away and Louisiana State University rally for a 5-2 win over the Owls Tuesday at the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge.
The Owls battled all the way to the end of an extended week of postseason play. Rice was the last team eliminated from making the Super Regional round and saw its successful 2016 season come to an end with a 38-24 record.
The Blue & Gray took some of the spirit out of the 9,854 fans at Alex Box Stadium early in the game. A pair of Rice veterans quickly helped the Owls jump on the scoreboard for a run in the top of the first inning. Senior Grayson Lewis continued his hot postseason hitting pace, reaching on a slow bouncing ball that came to a stop on the dirt a few feet up the left baseline. Lewis alertly dashed to second base on an LSU wild pitch and scored easily on a two-out double into left field by senior Connor Teylk.
The Blue & Gray added another run in the second. Ryan Chandler drew a leadoff walk and reached scoring position when Dayne Wunderlich was hit by a pitch. Senior Hunter Kopycinski followed with a single through the left side and the speedy Chandler dashed home easily for a 2-0 Rice lead.
It was a welcome lead, but Rice knew it could have been even more. LSU successfully ended the inning with the bases still loaded, thanks to a sensational diving catch of a Ford Proctor fly ball by Tiger shortstop Kramer Robertson in shallow left field. Proctor was in fact twice-robbed, as LSU also made a catch in right (before Teykl’s double). Both plays could have gone a long way in giving the Owls a bigger lead to work with.
Rice successfully kept LSU off the board for the first two-thirds of the contest, but the Tigers rallied in front of the loud home fans in the seventh. Jake Fraley drew a leadoff walk and Kramer Robertson slapped a base hit through the right side to put runners at the corners. Fraley scored on Bryce Jordan’s sacrifice fly near the right field bull pen. Greg Deichmann followed with a home run to center to give LSU its first lead of the day at 3-2.
LSU added two insurance runs in the top of the eighth. After a solo homer by Michael Papierski, the Owls made a pair of fielding errors with two away. The extended frame allowed another Tiger run that made it 5-2 to close out the scoring.
The Owls had a big, sensational start in the game from sophomore Willy Amador. The right-hander worked a career-long 6.2 innings in which he allowed three runs on four hits.
On Rice’s offensive side, Grayson Lewis tallied another two hits to give him 10 in five NCAA Regional games – the most of any other player in the opening round of action. Lewis (2b), as well as Glenn Otto (P), Hunter Kopycinski (C), Connor Teykl (3b), Charlie Warren (OF) and Dominic DiCaprio (DH) were named to the All-Regional team.
NCAA Baseball Tournament Linescore – Baton Rouge Regional Game 7/Championship Final
LSU 5, Rice 2 (June 7, 2016, at Baton Rouge, La.)
LSU …………….. 000 000 320 – 5 6 1 (45-19)
Rice …………….. 110 000 000 – 2 4 2 (38-24)
Pitchers: LSU – Jake Latz; Russell Reynolds (2); Jared Poche’ (3); Hunter Newman (9) and Michael Papierski. Rice – Willy Amador; Blake Fox (7) and Hunter Kopycinski.
Win – Jared Poche’ (9-4) Save – Hunter Newman (8) Loss – Willy Amador (2-2).
T – 2:34 A – 9,854.
HR LSU – Greg Deichmann (10); Michael Papierski (3).
Weather: 90 degrees, sunny.
The Owls will overnight in Baton Rouge before boarding the team bus back to Houston Wednesday morning.
Good afternoon from Baton Rouge. For the first time, we are not expecting any rain today. Expected forecast at game time is 90 degrees and sunny, with zero percent chance of rain!
The Owls will spend their fifth and final day in town at Alex Box Stadium in a winner-take-all game against LSU at 4 p.m. If the Owls win they will be on the road for the Super Regional.
There is a Houston watch party for today’s game. Join us at at the Gorgeous Gael in Rice Village.
If you aren’t in Houston, or can’t make it to the Village, be sure to post a photo of you watching the game on one of our social media platforms: Twitter: @RiceOwlsBSB; Instagram: @RiceAthletics; SnapChat: RiceAthletics; as well as Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RiceUniversityBaseball or send an email to email@example.com.
As promised, here’s a photo gallery from last night’s game. Click play below to see Tommy LaVergne’s shots. To enlarge the gallery, click here.
Baseball is a stats game, and our media relations team is no different. We ran the numbers a few hours ago, and the Owls’ run at the Baton Rouge Regional has generated more than 1,000 media citations in print, online, wire and broadcast reports since Thursday.
Below are a just a few of the stories.
Rice beats LSU to force decisive game in Baton Rouge Regional
Rice baseball defeated Southeastern Louisiana University and Louisiana State University June 6. Head coach Wayne Graham and players Hunter Kopycinski, Connor Teykl, Tristan Gray, Dane Myers, Evan Kravetz, Zach Esquivel, Glenn Otto, Ford Proctor, Charlie Warren, Grayson Lewis, Dominic DiCaprio and Ryan Chandler are mentioned. Houston Chronicle (Subscription required. Similar articles appeared in 44 other media outlets.) http://bit.ly/1VJZpRg http://bit.ly/1tepWLF
Rice forces deciding game with 10-6 win over LSU Houston Chronicle (This also appeared in Austin American-Statesman and The Brownsville Herald.) http://bit.ly/24w6bdI
Arizona, Gauchos, Texas Tech advancing to super regionals Houston Chronicle (Similar articles appeared in 168 other media outlets.) http://bit.ly/1rbqdgf
Rice blanks SE Louisiana 15-0 in Baton Rouge Regional Houston Chronicle (Subscription required. This also appeared in The Brownsville Herald and Austin American-Statesman.) http://bit.ly/24wb867 http://bit.ly/215jDnY
Scott Rabalais: Tigers pushed to uncomfortable position for game 7 The Advocate (This also appeared in The New Orleans Advocate.) http://bit.ly/22Me7YO
Jared Poché ‘possibly’ an option for LSU against Rice on Tuesday The Advocate (This also appeared in The New Orleans Advocate.) http://bit.ly/215l9q5
Scott Rabalais: NCAA policy for home teams needs revisiting The Advocate (This also appeared in The New Orleans Advocate.) http://bit.ly/1Y65BTL
‘We just couldn’t stop them’: Rice reliever Glenn Otto quiets LSU, 10-6, forcing winner-take-all Baton Rouge regional rematch at 4 pm Tuesday The Advocate (This also appeared in The New Orleans Advocate.) http://bit.ly/1ZuJLrR
Southeastern season ends with 15-0 loss to Rice — but also with plenty to enjoy The Advocate (This also appeared in The New Orleans Advocate.) http://bit.ly/1UnF3Im
Scott Rabalais: LSU baseball pushed to uncomfortable position for ‘game 7’ versus Rice when ‘anything can happen’ The Advocate (This also appeared in The New Orleans Advocate and The Acadiana Advocate.) http://bit.ly/1UDzt7o
The headline from Baton Rouge’s newspaper The Advocate sums things up pretty nicely.
‘We just couldn’t stop them’: Rice reliever Glenn Otto quiets LSU, 10-6, forcing winner-take-all Baton Rouge regional rematch at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
You can read the hometown paper’s take on the game here. The story also has a pretty good photo gallery.
You can also see our Tommy Lavergne’s photo gallery by clicking play below. To enlarge the gallery, click here.
After beating Southeastern Louisiana earlier in the day 15-0, the Owls needed to beat LSU Monday night to set up a game seven. And that they did.
The Owls kept the pedal to the floor and scored 10 runs on 15 hits against the No. 5 team in the nation. All totaled, the Owls scored 25 runs on 29 hits Monday.
Here is Rice baseball SID John Sullivan’s write-up of the game:
With their collective backs to the wall in an elimination game, the Rice baseball team came up with 10 runs on 13 hits for a 10-6 victory over No. 5 ranked LSU late Monday evening in the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge.
Rice improved to 38-23 on the season and now forces an “extra” Regional game in the NCAA’s double-elimination format. The Owls and national seed LSU (44-19 overall) next play a Championship Final on Tuesday, June 7, where the winner advances to next week’s NCAA Super Regional round. First pitch at Alex Box Stadium is set for 4 pm.
Playing as the home team in the NCAA Tournament format, Rice broke the seal on the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Connor Teykl and Tristan Gray started the inning off with singles, and a one-out walk to Dominic DiCaprio loaded the bases. Teykl made a nifty move to avoid a tag on Dayne Wunderlich’s shallow sacrifice fly and scored the first run of the game. Red-hot Hunter Kopycinski followed with an RBI single to right center, and Charlie Warren added an RBI double to right to plate one more.
LSU battled back for a run in the top of the fourth on three hits. The Owls, however, came right back with a run in the bottom of the frame on a solo shot to right field by Tristan Gray to make it 4-1.
The Tigers then tallied three big runs of their own on two hits. The big blow was a two-run homer by Kramer Robertson. The Owls also walked in a run that tied the score, 4-4.
Rice was unfazed. The Blue & Gray answered with three matching runs on four hits, highlighted by an RBI double by Teykl and RBI single by Chandler that made the score 7-4.
The Owls then added another big three-run frame in the seventh on three hits to stretch the margin 10-4. LSU would not go away so easily at Alex Box Stadium and put another two runs on the board on the strength of Jake Fraley’s two-run homer to right field.
That was the last scoring of the night and the only runs Rice reliever Glenn Otto would allow. He pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the 10-6 final and earn his ninth win of the season. In 4.1 innings of work Otto allowed just two runs on six hits while striking out five but without allowing any walks.
On the offensive side of the ledger the Owls continued the explosive hitting the team enjoyed while eliminating Southeastern Louisiana in the first game of the afternoon. Five Rice players had two or more hits, led by Charlie Warren’s 3-for-5 day with an RBI double and a run scored.
According to Rice head SID Chuck Pool, “This marks the first time the Owls have won game five and six of a regional since 2009, when they defeated Xavier and Kansas State to force a game seven against the Wildcats.”
There was a scary moment in the game. LSU reliever Austin Bain was struck in the face by a Charlie Warren eighth-inning line drive and had to leave for treatment. After the game, LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said that Bain was in good spirits but Mainieri had yet to meet with the training staff. Mainieri said that the ball hit Bain “right between the eyes.”
In the postgame news conferences, neither LSU’s Mainieri nor Rice head coach Wayne Graham could (or would?) say who their starting pitcher will be Tuesday.
Click below to listen to LSU’s postgame news conference. It includes Tigers Jake Faley, Kramer Robertson and Mainieri.
Following LSU’s news conference, Tristan Gray, Hunter Kopycinski, Glenn Otto and Graham climbed up onto the elevated stage. Click below to listen to the Owls’ comments moments after their second win of the day.
Tomorrow we plan on sharing a laundry list of current media stories on the Owls, including some broadcast clips. And we’ll post a photo gallery from tonight’s game.
The Rice bats struck for four runs in the second inning, three in the fourth and six in the fifth to give Owls’ starting pitcher Ricardo Salinas comfortable room to work. Salinas was equally productive, giving Coach Graham 7 1/3 scoreless innings and giving up only three hits in the team’s 15-0 win over Southeastern Louisiana. Overall, the Owls scored their 15 runs on 16 hits.
Final box score:
The Lions are eliminated from the Baton Rouge Regional.
Rice, now 2-1 in the tournament, will have to beat LSU twice in a row to win the regional at Alex Box Stadium. The LSU game was supposed to start at 7 tonight but just like ALL of the other Owls’ games in the tournament, the team endured a rain delay and then a lightning delay. This time the delay lasted about one hour and 20 minutes and ended Salinas’ day. The new start time for the LSU game is 7:45, so Rice will have just a brief break before facing a Tigers team with considerable pitching depth left. Dane Myers will take the mound for the Owls.
The Owls left the team hotel at 10:45 this morning and are in the process of pregame fine-tuning.
Rice faces Southeastern Louisiana for the second time in the Baton Rouge Regional at 2 p.m. at Alex Box Stadium on the LSU campus. It’s an elimination game. Rice beat SLU yesterday 7-2. SLU staved off elimination later Sunday by beating Utah Valley 3-2. And the nightcap was Rice going down to LSU 4-2. The winner of today’s game will face LSU tonight. LSU is 2-0 in the tournament and in the driver’s seat. Rice and SLU need to win three games in a row to move on to the Super Regional.
Ricardo Salinas will get the start for the Owls. Here are today’s lineups:
Our head SID Chuck Pool dug up a “This Day in Rice Baseball History”:
June 6 is obviously most remembered as the anniversary of D-Day in 1944, but the Owls have played six times on this date:
1999: Earned our second trip to the College World Series by defeating Southwestern Louisiana (Louisiana-Lafayette) 8-3 at the Astrodome to win the Super Regional.
Score by innings: R H E
Rice ……………………. 000 212 012 – 8 9 1
Southwestern La. …. 000 020 100 – 3 8 2
Win – Nichols 15-3. Loss – Templet 7-5. Save – K.-Nicholl (8).
E – Curry (5), Nelson (17), Hawkins (3).
DP – Rice Owls 2, USL 1. LOB – Rice Owls 5, USL 11.
2B – Williams (22), Smith (11), Baker (23), Hawkins (12). 3B – Thames (6).
SB – Gray (19), Feehan 2 (18), Gill (19). CS – O’Dwyer (7).
SH – Fox (6). SF – Williams (3).
2004: Fell one game short of battling back from an opening-game loss to TSU. Defeated Texas A&M 3-1 in the first game, but lost 7-5 in the second.
Score by innings R H E
Texas A&M ……….. 001 000 000 – 1 4 1
Rice ………………….. 110 010 00X – 3 12 0
Win – Niemann (6-3). Loss – Z.Jackson (10-6). Save – none.
E – Z.Jackson (4). DP – Texas A&M 1; Rice 1. LOB – Texas A&M 6; Rice 10. 2B –
Boggs (11). SH – Reagan (7). SF – Janish (4); Morris (1). CS – Schindewolf (3).
2009: Eliminated from the Super Regional at LSU, 5-3.
Score by innings R H E
LSU …………….. 100 121 000 – 5 10 1
Rice …………….. 001 101 000 – 3 9 0
Win – Coleman (13-2). Loss – Berry (7-2). Save – Ott (16).
E – Mahtook (3). LOB – LSU 10; Rice 7. 2B – LeMahieu (12); Dean (16);
Mahtook (7); Mitchell (12); Nola (3); Seastrunk (15). HR – Helenihi (4);
Holt (12); Seastrunk (7). HBP – Ochinko; Nola; Hague 2; Lewis. SH –
LeMahieu (2); Mozingo (5). SB – Mitchell (35). CS – Mitchell (9); Fuda (4);
2010: Eliminated Louisiana-Lafayette in the morning, but was then eliminated by host Texas.
Score by innings R H E
Rice ……………….. 000 701 001 – 9 12 0
Louisiana ……….. 000 000 100 – 1 5 0
Win – Ojala (6-2). Loss – Hubbell, T (4-4). Save – none.
DP – Rice 2. LOB – Rice 8; UL 5. 2B – Mozingo (13); Seastrunk 2 (17); Fuselier, A (15). HR – Rathjen (13). HBP – Ratterree; Keefer, C. SF – Hague (4).
Score by innings R H E
Texas …………… 000 101 020 – 4 5 0
Rice …………….. 000 000 010 – 1 3 0
After a long day of completing a rain-delayed game and then playing the No. 1 seed LSU Tigers, the Owls returned to their hotel after 11 p.m. The following is adapted from Rice baseball SID John Sullivan’s news release. Photos are courtesy of Rice University photographer Tommy LaVergne.
Down but not out, the Rice baseball team was defeated by No. 5-ranked LSU 4-2 in the NCAA Tournament winner’s bracket game late Sunday night on the road in Baton Rouge, La.
The Owls are now 36-23 on the season, but with a chance to play more baseball. The Blue & Gray next meet recent first-round foe Southeastern Louisiana in a 2 p.m. elimination game Monday, June 6.
To see the Flickr gallery full screen, click here.
Facing the Tigers on the road is a tough-enough task, and the Owls did not help themselves issuing three walks in the bottom of the first inning. LSU made free passes costly by exploding for four runs. The Owls were quickly in a one-out, bases-loaded situation when the Tigers’ Greg Deichmann lined a pitch into fair territory down the right field line. The ball rolled into foul territory, then past the warmup mound and underneath a large wooden bull-pen bench in an unmarked area in use by staff enjoying the early Tiger rally.
As the 10,282 fans at Alex Box Stadium went wild watching four runs come home, the play was initially ruled a ground-rule double. That initial call was, however, overturned and the Owls were down 4-0.
Rice starting pitcher Jon Duplantier resolutely settled down and proceeded to post four shutout innings that kept the Owls from going to bull pen until at least the sixth. Rice continued to fight. In the top of the fifth, senior Grayson Lewis connected on a 1-0 pitch for a towering home run to left field. His fourth long ball of the season made it 4-1, but the Blue & Gray wasn’t finished.
In the top of the sixth, with rain beginning to increase, Charlie Warren led off with a base hit into right. True freshman Ford Proctor blasted a one-out double to the gap in left center to drive home Warren, which made it a two-run game, 4-2. With Rice turning up the momentum, the contest was halted for 57 minutes.
It was all the scoring for either team. Rice stranded runners in scoring position in the seventh and ninth, including two on base in the final frame.
LSU is now 44-18 overall. The Tigers face the winner of Monday’s Rice-Southeastern Louisiana game at 7 p.m.
To listen to the postgame news conference with Lewis, Dupaltier and Coach Wayne Graham, click below.
It took three days, but the Rice Owls advanced to the winners’ bracket of the Baton Rouge Regional at Alex Box Stadium on the campus of LSU with a 7-2 win over Southeastern Louisiana. After being rained out Friday, the team got in six innings Saturday before rain set us up for a Sunday conclusion. After Blake Fox provided the Owls a lead 4-1 Saturday, Dane Myers took to the mound to get the save and a 7-2 Rice win.
A full-game summary from baseball SID John Sullivan is below.
The Owls are heading back to their downtown hotel and will be back in play later this evening to face LSU. SLU will face Utah Valley in an elimination game at 1:04 p.m. The Owls-LSU game will begin 55 minutes after the final out of SLU-UVU, so around 5 maybe?
Due to NCAA broadcast rules we can’t show the final out on the field, but we can show you our fans on the final out!
Audio of the postgame news conference featuring Coach Graham, Dane Myers, Ford Proctor and Blake Fox is below.
BATON ROUGE, La. – Better late than never, the Rice baseball team was finally able to complete its long-delayed opening game in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional Sunday afternoon with a 7-2 victory over Southeastern Louisiana.
With the win Rice advances to face national seed, regional host and well-rested LSU on the Tigers’ home field of Alex Box Stadium on Sunday evening – weather permitting! As the Owls were departing the facility after the Sunday afternoon victory (and with another elimination game still to be played before Rice meets LSU in the late game), rain was again beginning to fall in the area.
Weather conditions first pushed Rice’s opening game from Friday night to Saturday. The first six innings of the contest were completed Saturday with Rice leading 4-1, but rain and lightning then delayed all the weekend action to Sunday. The final three frames were restarted almost another 24 hours later, where Rice registered a 7-2 decision to advance to the winner’s bracket.
Playing as the home team at the neutral site Rice started the scoring in the bottom of the second inning. Dayne Wunderlich drew a one-out walk and moved to scoring position with a stolen base. He advanced to third on a base hit by Grayson Lewis, but a Lion fielding error on the play gave him an extra 90 feet for a 1-0 lead.
Southeastern Louisiana came right back with a run in the top of the third. Brennan Breaud hit a one-out single and alertly took second base on a wild pitch. He went to third on a ground out and scored easily Ryan Byers’ double to right-center to make it 1-1.
The Owls moved back in front, 4-1, with a three-run fifth. Four hits and a Lion fielding error broke the deadlock. After an RBI by freshman Ford Proctor plated one, the final hit of the inning (and the third-straight in the two-out rally) was a big double to the gap in left-center by senior Connor Teykl that stretched the margin to three runs.
The Lions were ready to re-start what seemed more like a short three-inning rematch. SLU posted a run in the top of the seventh to make it 4-2 off new pitcher Dane Myers, who started Sunday in relief of original hurler Blake Fox.
That was all Myers and Owls would allow, however, and quickly proceeded to post three big insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to re-extend the lead to 7-2. Myers earned his seventh save of the season with all 3.0 innings of work, scattering four hits while striking out two. Fox won his fifth game of the year, and the 31st of his collegiate career, by allowing just a single run on three hits and four walks while striking out four.
On the offensive side, the Rice duo of Ford Proctor and Connor Teykl both finished the game with three hits each while driving in a run in an 11-hit attack. The Owls are now 36-22 on the season with more games to play. Southeastern Louisiana dropped to 39-20 is overall.
NCAA Baseball Tournament Linescore – Baton Rouge Regional Game 2 RICE 7, SE Louisiana 2 (Jun 4, 2016 at Baton Rouge, La.)
SE Louisiana…….. 001 000 100 – 2 7 4 (39-20)
RICE……………. 010 030 03X – 7 11 0 (36-22)
Pitchers: SE Louisiana – Sceroler, Mac; Robinson, Payton(6); Von Rosenberg, Gabe(8) and Roberson, Sam. RICE – Blake Fox; Dane Myers(7) and Hunter Kopycinski.
Win-Blake Fox(5-7) Save-Dane Myers(7) Loss-Sceroler, Mac(10-4)
Weather: 73 degrees, overcast
Robinson, P. faced 2 batters in the 8th.