April 4, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team will look to build off of its successful start to the West Coast Conference season last weekend as they head north to San Francisco to battle the Dons in a three-game series. Friday afternoon's game, set for an 11:30 a.m. first pitch, will be held at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, as part of the Dante Benedetti Classic.
Dante Benedetti Classic
Santa Clara will battle San Francisco in the Second Annual Dante Benedetti Classic, this Friday at AT&T Park. The contest is set for an 11:30 a.m. start, preceding the Giants-Dodgers game that night. The Classic celebrates the legacy of a giant in San Francisco baseball. Benedetti, who coached USF for 16 years for an annual salary of one dollar, passed away in November of 2005 at the age of 86 after a long illness.
About the Broncos
Santa Clara captured its WCC season-opening series last weekend, returning from a 12-day layoff to take two of three on the road from the Portland Pilots. Tommy Medica batted .462 (6-for-13) with four doubles in the series to lead the offense, while Matt Wickswat, despite a no-decision on Saturday, struck out 10 and allowed only one run in a strong eight-inning outing. Jeff Lombard picked up his fifth save in Friday's 5-2 win, and Donald Brandt got his third win of the year in Sunday's 6-3 victory. But on Tuesday, the Broncos suffered a 4-0 shutout loss to the San Jose State Spartans.
About San Francisco
San Francisco (16-15, 1-2) opened WCC play last weekend by dropping two of three to Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. After taking the opener by a 10-4 score, the Dons dropped the Saturday and Sunday contests, 4-3 and 9-4, respectively. Tuesday night, though, the Dons bounced back to trounce Washington State by a score of 8-1. The Dons are led offensively by Joey Railey's .336 average and six doubles amongst full-timers, while Mitchell Bialosky's 25 RBIs lead the team, and Luke Sommer paces the squad with five home runs. On the mound, Aaron Poreda (5-2, 3.38 ERA) leads a USF rotation which holds a combined ERA of 3.88.
"Swat"-ing Batters Away
Sophomore LHP Matt Wickswat turned in another strong outing this past weekend against Portland. On Saturday, despite coming away with a no-decision, Wickswat tied a career-high by striking out 10 while allowing eight hits and one run over eight innings. The outing also helped Wickswat lower his ERA to 3.68 on the year.
Back In the Groove
After missing 12 games earlier in the season due to a hand injury suffered on Feb. 9, freshman catcher Tommy Medica has bounced back nicely, batting .471 (8-for-17) with four doubles in the past four games. On the season, Medica is now batting .317 with four doubles and three RBIs, and is doing a fine job of handling the Santa Clara pitching staff from behind the plate.
Sizzling At the Plate
The career year continues for senior catcher/DH Carl Bacon this past weekend in Portland. The Santa Cruz native, who is batting .362 on the year with six doubles and 17 RBIs, went 5-for-13 (.385) from the plate in the last four games, and hit his first home run of the season Saturday at Portland. The clutch homer tied the game up at 1-1 in the top of the ninth.
Answering the Call
Redshirt sophomore LHP Donald Brandt continued his successful return from Tommy John surgery in 2005 by making the start for the Broncos on Sunday and delivering five solid innings to help SCU capture the WCC season-opening series against Portland. In the five innings, Brandt allowed only two earned runs on five hits and struck out a batter to earn his third win of the season.
Flirting With .400
Not since Joey Gomes batted .408 in 2002 has a Bronco batted .400 in a season. Two SCU players since then, Scott Dierks (.394) in 2003, and Daniel Nava (.395) in 2006, have come close, but failed to reach the number. This season, 1B/3B Gabe Alcantar has emerged from the pack as the latest Bronco to make a run at the .400 barrier. Through 31 games this season, Alcantar is batting .386, while also leading SCU with 44 hits, 12 doubles, and a .535 slugging percentage.
Slamming the Door
After leading the West Coast Conference in pitching appearances last season, junior reliever Jeff Lombard has embraced the closer's role in 2007 and is making his presence felt in the late innings. Last weekend at Portland, he picked up his fifth save of the year by preserving SCU's 5-2 win over the Pilots. This year, Lombard leads the Broncos again in appearances, with 17, as well as with a 2.31 ERA and five saves. He has also struck out 28 batters in 23.1 innings of work.
SCU Offers Live Web Coverage of Home Games
When the Santa Clara baseball program moved into Stephen Schott Stadium, the multimedia coverage on www.santaclarabroncos.com increased. Bronco fans can listen to the WCC action live on Broncos All-Access, and as always, all Bronco baseball games will also be covered on Gametracker.
2007 Freshman Class Noted Among the Nation's Best
The Santa Clara University baseball program received an accolade from the Collegiate Baseball newspaper as the Broncos' 2006 recruiting class was named on of the Top-40 classes in the nation, coming in at No. 28, tops among West Coast Conference schools. The members of this class, who are currently in their first year on the Mission Campus, will look this spring to help lead the squad to its first WCC title since 1997.
Of the freshman class in 2007, Nathan Garcia (Bellarmine College Prep), Patrick Glenn (Amador Valley HS), Matthew Hiserman (Capistrano Valley HS), Steven Kalush (Aragon HS), Jon Karcich (Serra HS), Geoffrey Klein (Ocean View HS), Tommy Medica (Bellarmine College Prep), Alex Rivers (Tokay HS) and Dylan Slocum (Paloma Valley HS) make up the California contingent. Tayler Thomas (Salpointe Catholic HS) hails from Arizona and Jeremy Zink (Garfield HS) will come to the Mission Campus from the state of Washington.
Four Broncos Named to All-WCC 40th Anniversary Team
The West Coast Conference announced its 40th Anniversary Baseball Team in early January, and four Broncos were named to the 40-man squad. LHP Rich Troedson (1969-72), catcher Troy Buckley (1987-89), RHP Bob Pailthorpe (1992-95), and outfielder Mike Frank (1994-97) were all honored for their achievements on the diamond.
SCU Baseball Picked to Finish Sixth in WCC Preseason Poll
The Santa Clara baseball team was selected to finished sixth in the West Coast Conference in the 2007 WCC preseason poll, as selected by the conference coaches. The Broncos were picked to finished behind Pepperdine, San Diego, San Francisco, LMU and Gonzaga. Santa Clara claimed the sixth position with 18 total points.