#27 Rice Baseball 2017 Preview

Rice Owls
Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #1 Conference USA
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Rice put together a very good 2016 campaign, winning 38 games and giving LSU all they could handle in the Baton Rouge Regional. The Owls will look to make their 23rd straight NCAA Tournament in 2017 and they have more than enough talent to create some noise. Rice returns 11 pitchers, but losing Blake Fox and Jon Duplantier is huge. Ricardo Salinas went 9-2 in 14 starts in 2016 and will be the new ace of the staff while young players look to step up their production. Regardless of who starts, Rice has one of the best relievers in the game with Glenn Otto. In 33 appearances, Otto pitched 71.2 innings with a 2.26 ERA, 76 strikeouts and eight saves.
2016: 38-24, 19-10
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Wayne Graham
Key Departed Players:
Blake Fox, P, 2.72 ERA, 109.1 IP, 95 SO
Jon Duplantier, 3.24 ERA, 111.0 IP, 148 SO
Connor Teykl, .284 BA, 2 HR, 28 RBI
Grayson Lewis, .263 BA, 4 HR, 23 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Ricardo Salinas, 3.39 ERA, 82.1 IP, 64 SO
Glenn Otto, 2.26 ERA, 71.2 IP, 76 SO, 8 SV
Charlie Warren, .341 BA, 0 HR, 27 RBI
Ford Proctor, IF, .336 BA, 3 HR, 41 RBI
Tristan Gray, IF, .295 BA, 5 HR, 18 RBI
Dominic DiCaprio, .293 BA, 0 HR, 20 RBI
Ryan Chandler, OF, .270 BA, 2 HR, 20 RBI
Dane Myers, IF, .264 BA, 2 HR, 21 RBI
Dayne Wunderlich, OF, .228 BA, 4 HR, 27 RBI
Coach Wayne Graham returns seven regular starters in the field. The Owls are not a prolific hitting team, but their experience should help see a boost across the board. Charlie Warren batted .341 as a junior and Ford Proctor emerged as the team’s most productive as a freshman. He hit .336 with 15 doubles and 41 RBIs. Tristan Gray and Ryan Chandler are solid power hitters as well. Gray led the team with five home runs and Chandler belted 15 doubles. The offense did not have to do much last season. Coach Graham had the luxury of generating runs and letting his pitching staff do what they do. That should be the case again in 2017, but the offense may have to make some bigger plays every once in a while.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament


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