Longtime Rice coach Wayne Graham got his 1,000th Division I win Tuesday night when the Owls rallied twice and finally beat Texas State 4-3 in 11 innings.
Graham, 77, is in his 23rd season as coach. He has a 1,000-401 record and led the Owls to the 2003 national championship. His win percentage of .714 is the fourth-best in the nation among active coaches, and Rice has reached regionals in each of the past 19 years.
“When you reflect about 1,000 wins, you reflect about the people who helped you get it,” Graham said in a release. “Whether it be my wife—who has been there for everything—or the great players we’ve had over time. Rice gave me an opportunity when nobody else would, so it’s a privilege to coach here. And to get 1,000 wins here was kind of outlandish, considering I started when I was 55, but I’ll take it, I’ll really take it.”
It did not look good early for Rice as Texas State scored two unearned runs in the first and blanked the Owls until the eighth. RBI singles by Skyler Ewing and John Clay Reeves tied the game, and it stayed that way until Texas State broke through with a run in the 11th.
Rice answered in the bottom of the inning as Leon Byrd drew a walk with one out and went to third on a single by freshman Charlie Warren. Warren was thrown out going for second, but Byrd scored on a double by Keenan Cook to tie it. John Williamson then singled to score Cook for the winner.
Chase McDowell gave up just two unearned runs over five and Jon Duplantier blanked Texas State over four innings with six strikeouts. Zech Lemond got the win, striking out five in two innings.
“Our pitching was pretty good,” Graham said. “It’s good to get (1,000 wins) out of the way now, because I don’t want that kind of pressure put on the kids. I’m glad we could do it tonight.”
In other Top 25 action Tuesday, Southern California upset No. 3 Cal State Fullerton 6-1. The Trojans, projected by Baseball America to make a regional for the first time since 2005, are off to a 4-0 start. Vahn Bozoian had three hits, including a long home run, to lead USC, which took advantage of sloppy play by the Titans, who made three errors and fell to 2-2. For Fullerton, Phil Bickford, the 10th overall pick by Toronto in 2013, pitched four innings in relief of Chad Hockin and gave up three runs, but only one was earned.
Elsewhere, No. 4 Florida State improved to 4-0, beating Jacksonville 12-6. John Sansone had three hits and a homer and preseason All-American Jameis Winston pitched a scoreless inning.
No. 5 South Carolina blanked Presbyterian 4-0 behind Curt Britt (5.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R). Defending champ and No. 12 UCLA beat Cal State Northridge 7-1 behind five scoreless innings from Grant Dyer. And No. 6 N.C. State beat Elon 12-7 as preseason All-American Trea Turner scored four runs and stole three bases.
Freshman Justin Calomeni gave up only one hit and struck out nine in his first collegiate start as No. 22 Cal Poly (4-0) blanked Santa Clara 8-0.
In other games, No. 23 Florida beat Central Florida 5-1, as talented freshman Logan Shore (5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) was strong in his first collegiate start. No. 19 TCU beat Northern Colorado 10-3, and No. 24 Texas A&M topped Stephen F. Austin, 12-3.