Daniel Suzuki Chris Thomas
On April 11, 2008, The Rice Thresher dubbed the Club Baseball team the “Kings of the Diamond.” A copy of the full story can be found here.
The Rice Club Baseball organization is a group of Rice students who love the game of baseball enough to continue their competitive career through their college years. The team is composed of players of all skill levels, but has become more competitive in recent years. Founded in the Fall of 2004, the team has been competing in the National Club Baseball Association for more than five years. Since 2004, the team has played more than 100 games against other colleges and universities from around the country. In 2010, the club team won District VII and earned a berth in the NCBA Division II World Series in Johnstown, PA. The Owls finished 2-2, and are looking to continue their successes moving forward.
Off the field, the team is involved in various other activities. As a team, we have participated in charity events, set up tailgate parties for athletic events, and worked for the athletic department at Rice. Players on the team have worked as scorekeepers, umpires, and coaches for local little leagues and high schools. We have had players in the broadcast booth for Rice baseball games, selling programs before games, and even preparing the field at Reckling Park. During the Spring, members of the club team can be found grilling on the hill in left field for many baseball games.
From humble beginnings, the club team has grown to become one of the most recognizable groups on campus.
2005 Season (Record: 1-8)
- The team participated in its first ever NCBA season in the Spring of 2005. Led by captain/founder Steve Bryant (Sid Rich ’08), the team competed in the Gulf Coast North Conference with teams from Texas and Louisiana. The Owls scored their first win against the University of North Texas during Beer Bike weekend. Jake Schornick (Wiess ’08) led the team with 2 HRs.
- Rice Club Baseball…The Beginning
- 2005 Team Stats
2006 Season (Record: 6-15)
- The second season for the Owls proved to be a tough one, as they shared the conference with three nationally ranked teams (Texas A&M, University of Texas, and Sam Houston State). Steve Bryant led the team with a .452 batting average, and the Owls boosted their team average by 40 points.
- 2006 Team Stats
2007 Season (Record: 6-9)
- The 2007 season was the most competitive club season to date. The Owls played tough games against everyone in the conference, and finished the season in the middle of the pack. The pieces seemed to fall together after the team swept Texas A&M Galveston on the road with three run-rule victories. Jake Schornick was named Conference Player of the Week after going 7-8 with 2 HRs and Joe Cialone (Wiess ’09) was named Conference Pitcher of the Week for striking out 19 in a 9 inning CG, allowing three hits and four runs. 2007 also saw the Owls play their first game against nearby St. John’s School, winning 4-0 in 7 innings. Off the field, members of the team began their tradition of enjoying some of the nation’s best baseball from a hill overlooking left field at Reckling Park.
2008 Season (Record: 9-9)
- In 2008, the Owls stormed to their best record yet, going 6-6 and finishing second in the Gulf Coast South behind Sam Houston State. Andrew Flowers (Will Rice ’09) was named Conference Hitter of the Week following a stellar performance in College Station, and Steve Bryant was named Conference Pitcher of the Week for throwing 6 innings, allowing only one run against the nationally ranked Texas A&M Aggies. The Owls also were unable to stave off a late inning rally by the St. John’s Mavericks as the two played to a tie. 2008 marked the first season that members of the Owls traveled to Austin to participate in the Alpha Phi Hits for Hearts softball tournament to raise money for heart disease research.
2009 Season (Record: 2-21)
- Weather was not kind to the Owls in 2009, as most of their games were rained out in the Fall, and they struggled to play a full schedule in the Spring. The Owls wound up taking three trips to New Orleans to play against Tulane, two of which were impacted by rain. They also played at College Station, and in Austin. The Owls did return to winning ways against St. John’s with a solid victory. In addition to returning to Austin for Hits for Hearts, the Owls played the SMU Mustangs in softball following the Rice-SMU football game the first week of the school year.
2010 Season (Record: 14-7, NCBA DII District 7 Champions, World Series semifinalists, Final Rank: #5)
- After a dismal 2009 season, the Owls dropped down to NCBA Division II and joined District VII. The team knew that at the Division II level, they would face equally stiff competition but would have a realistic chance at postseason play. This gave the Owls new life, and practice/game turnout increased dramatically. Behind a solid young team (mostly freshmen and sophomores), the Owls stormed through District VII. Winning every district series, the Owls earned a trip to Johnstown, PA for the NCBA World Series. Being under-estimated all year, the Owls were given the #8 seed. They went 2-2 at the series, eliminating the #1 and #4 teams before narrowly losing to the eventual national champion in the semi-finals. Following this solid performance, the Owls finished the season ranked #5 in the NCBA polls. In the fall, Rice hosted Vanderbilt’s club team for a doubleheader and BBQ before the Rice-Vandy football game. Junior Dan Bianculli and freshman Chris Walker won District VII Pitcher of the Week awards. Walker also won a District VII Hitter of the Week award, as did sophomore Chris Brown and senior Joe Cialone. The team voted Walker MVP for the 2010 season.
- 2010 Schedule/Results
2011 Season (Record: 18-16)
- The 2010 fall season was a productive one for the Owls. They hosted series with Baylor and SMU and travelled to New Orleans to play Tulane. Additionally, the Owls played in the NCBA Gulf Coast Invitational, a wood bat tournament in Richardson, TX. Competing against a mixed DI and DII field, Rice shocked the world with a run rule victory over UNT to propel their team into the tournament finals. A solid freshman class helped keep the Owls in contention in the spring, but an opening weekend series loss to eventual District VII champions Texas State set the tone for the year. Junior John Stretton won the team’s first ever national player of the week award for his two home run performance at Texas A&M Galveston.
- 2011 Schedule/Results
2012 Season (Record: 9-3, NCBA DII District 7 East Title, District 7 runners-up)
- The 2012 season was a season of ups-and-downs for the Owls. After a very limited fall season, the Owls traveled to New Orleans to take on Tulane in early February. A strong showing by Daniel Kaplan, Mike Vatcher, and Chris Walker resulted in a 3-game sweep with 3 complete game shutouts of the Green Wave. The Owls lost two of three to a solid UH team at home, and TAMU-Galveston forfeited their entire season. Injuries hurt the pitching staff somewhat, but the Owls were able to take two of three from district-newcomer Lee College to advance to the conference championship series. Playing TAMU-Corps of Cadets, the Owls were outclassed, particularly at the plate. Hitting problems plagued the team throughout the season, and the Owls were swept by the Corps. Daniel Kaplan won the NCBA D2 Pitcher of the Week Award twice, and did not allow an earned run on the season.
2013 Season (Record: 20-6, NCBA DII District 7 East Title, District 7 runners up)
- The 2012 fall season was a strong one for the Owls, especially for getting newcomers exposure and experience against quality teams. The Owls traveled to Richardson to compete in the Wood Wars tournament and beat UT-Austin 2-1 behind the strong pitching performance of Jake Gildan (Hurricane Jake). The Owls lost to Texas State and beat Sam Houston State but did not advance out of the pool stage. The result was encouraging however, as the Owls defeated two D1 schools. The 2013 season was very successful, as the Owls finished 17-1 in district play, including a 16-game winning streak behind the three-headed pitching monster of Zach Satira, Mike Vatcher and Daniel Kaplan. Zach Satira, a former DI Varsity pitcher, proved to be the team’s best asset both on the field and in the clubhouse in his lone year on the team, dominating opponents on the mound and helping to create great team chemistry that kept the Owls loose and having fun all season. The amazing run came to a rather abrupt end in the conference championship series, as Rice lost two out of three to Stephen F. Austin, falling one win short of a trip to the NCBA World Series.
- 2013 Schedule/Results
2014 Season (Record 7-12)
- 2014 saw a step back for the Owls from their 20 win 2013 season. The 2013 fall season was disappointing with an 0-3 showing at Wood Wars in McKinney. Overall, the Owls finished 7-12 (7-9 spring) and weren’t quite able to recapture the magic from 2013. Bright spots for the Owls included the consistently solid play from senior and team MVP Alex Kendall, and the emergence of Oscar Turner’s work gloves as the offensive juggernaut for the team. Jake Gildan had a strong season on the mound, earning both of the team’s non-forfeit conference wins and a District 7 Pitcher of the Week award.
2015 Season (Record 10-10)
- The 2014 fall season was more successful for the Owls than their 1-4 record would indicate. With a large crop of new players, the Owls were very competitive at Wood Wars and the team meshed well during the fall. Rice went 9-6 in conference play in Spring 2015, finishing just short of a playoff berth. Team president Jake Gildan had a strong season, notching 3 wins on the mound, and leading the team in home runs and RBIs. Past president Oscar Turner had some notable pitching performances as well, throwing a no-hitter against Lamar, and earning National Pitcher of the Week for his complete game win over UHD. Chris Thomas led the team in batting average and was solid on the mound to lead a strong freshman class. Rice swept the conference pitcher and player of the week awards four times during the spring season.
2016 Season (Spring Record 9-6)
- With a rocky start, losing all games at #WoodWars with a battered roster, the team went 1-7 in the Fall. However, the Owls remedied their early woes for the fall season, going 9-6 in conference play in Spring 2016.The team was led by the strong hitting performance of Sanjiv Gopalkrishnan and lights-out pitching by Daniel Weinberg, along with the valuable contributions of returners such as Chris Thomas, Daniel Suzuki, and Kenan Davis. After only 1 home run last year (which was only 280 feet so it doesn’t really count), the Owls hit 6 in the spring. The team gained a lot of valuable new talent that will add to the team for the next three years, and expect to contend for the NCBA playoffs.