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June 3, 2017

Wayne Graham

Glenn Otto

Ryan Chandler

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Rice - 13, Texas Southern - 6

THE MODERATOR: Along with Coach Wayne Graham, we have outfielder Ryan Chandler and pitcher Glenn Otto. Coach Graham, if you could talk a little bit about today's day. Long day. And then we'll swing over and get a statement from each player.

WAYNE GRAHAM: Well, obviously, we were quite fearful of Texas Southern, but I thought Texas Southern swung the bat very well and played well. We just were (inaudible). Finally got something to fall in, and I thought we got around the bases. We hit some balls pretty good, I thought too. I thought Texas Southern did a good job and played well.

THE MODERATOR: Centerfielder Ryan Chandler, big day for you at the plate. 3 for 4 with three RBIs and the big home run there in the seventh inning. Talk about that home run and your big day at the plate, please.

RYAN CHANDLER: Yeah, today obviously was a good day for us. We got the win. I was hitting the ball well today. The at bat I hit the home run, I got that first pitch curveball. And I knew he was going to throw it again. I was fortunate to drop down, and it was a curveball down and in.

THE MODERATOR: Glenn Otto, relief pitcher. Glenn, you came in and kind of shut the door there. Talk about your outing, please.

GLENN OTTO: Yes, sir. It's a lot easier to pitch when you get ahead. That's something I learned a lot about this season. You're not going to blow mid-90s fastballs past hitters, especially in an NCAA Regional, and you have to be able to get ahead of them with your secondary pitches when you need to. You've got to be able to hit spots when you need to. You've got to be able to pitch to guys.

I feel like I did a really good job of that today, and that's why I was effective.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for both the players and coach.

Q. Wayne, how important was it when Willie came in there -- Willie had kind of a rough start, but he settled down, took you through the rain delay. How important was Willie's performance for the team?
WAYNE GRAHAM: I thought Willy did a great job. Obviously, with the rain delay, I didn't want him coming back. We can't leave this part unplayed. The score was tied, and they were swinging the bat really well. Willy had already pitched last night too. So it worked out real well for us that Willy was able to do what he did.

Q. Coach, another day where the slow start, got up on you 5-0. What is the problem with you all in the first couple innings this weekend so far?
WAYNE GRAHAM: I told Esquivel, if he didn't get the curveball over, they were going to kill him. I didn't realize how prophetic that was. He didn't get the curveball over, and they hit him. Every -- all the hits were fastballs. Five hits on fastballs.

Q. I'm obligated to ask you if you have pitching plans for tomorrow.
WAYNE GRAHAM: What's that?

Q. Pitching plans for tomorrow.
WAYNE GRAHAM: It's hard, but I kind of think right now -- and I'm not sure of this, but I might start Kendal Jefferies. He's done pretty well in the starting role.

Q. Who?
THE MODERATOR: Kendal Jefferies.

WAYNE GRAHAM: He pitched well the other night. We've seen him good in the starting role.

Q. For Wayne and for Glenn. Do you feel like you can bring Glenn back later this weekend if you need him?
WAYNE GRAHAM: I'm sure, if we got to Monday, he'd be able to pitch. It's just how he feels tomorrow. If he wants to go, I'm not going to hold him back.

Q. Can you talk about the city of Houston. Just you guys, TSU, University of Houston having tremendous success. Talk about the city of Houston, you know, the state of baseball there.
WAYNE GRAHAM: Are you asking me?

Q. Yes.
WAYNE GRAHAM: Well, in general, I think youth league baseball has gone crazy all over the country. Atlanta area is very prime, and Orange County has always been huge. But Houston is just crazy how much baseball there is there. So there's a lot of good baseball players. Not necessarily major league prospects, but you can build a team on good ball players, and there's plenty of them if you can just go out there and find out who they are.

Q. You hit that rain delay last week and came up real big after that rain delay and pushed ahead of Texas Southern after the rain delay today. What is it with you guys and rain delays? Is it something you guys are doing during the break, or how you just come out and prepare for it?
RYAN CHANDLER: Well, today we were going to try to stay focused during the rain delay. We went in the room, and they had a nice room for us with air conditioning and things like that, and we had food and snacks. It was pretty relaxing. We stayed focused on the game and tried to talk about what the pitchers were doing to us and things like that.

It kind of gave us a little bit of break because things got hectic there. It was 6-6, I believe, when the rain delay happened, and Dunlap had just hit the home run. We put together a pretty good inning after the rain delay. They didn't score the next inning, and we jumped on them quick.

I think that shows the character of this team. We're always trying to keep on grinding because that's what the whole season has been for us. It's been a grind. It hasn't been pretty all the time, but we've kind of stuck it out.

Q. Coach, can you talk about Tristan Gray's day. He had a big day, two home runs and a bunch of RBIs. Can you talk a little bit about how his bat played there. He had five RBIs and two home runs.
WAYNE GRAHAM: He had a great day. He'd be in here too, but he's a little shy. I thought he hit a couple of pretty good pitches out of this ballpark. They weren't bad pitches.

He's really made a tremendous difference to us since he got in shape after coming back and not playing the first 17 games of the year. He's made a difference defensively, and obviously he helps a great deal with the bat.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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