Jan. 30, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team opens its 2001 season Wednesday against one of the top-ranked teams in the country according to most preseason polls. The Broncos face No. 2-ranked USC at 3 p.m. at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles in the first of five SCU's 2001 opponents that are ranked among the top-40 in the country.
"We always play a really tough schedule but this is a really early test for our ballclub," said Head Coach Mike Cummins. "To be the best you have to play the best and our young players are going to get a quick lesson on what it takes to be successful in college baseball. We are excited about the start of the season and look forward to finding out where we are as a team on Wednesday."
The Broncos welcome a total of five scholarship freshmen to its pitching staff in addition to its top two hurlers from last season. Sophomores Joe Diefenderfer and Matt Travis are the two top returnees on the mound, while first-year pitcher John Redmond has been among the top freshman pitchers during the preseason.
Santa Clara returns a veteran squad in the field, including last season's West Coast Conference freshman of the year Jack Headley. The return of senior Mike Theoharis at second base will allow Headley to move to centerfield. Matt Queen will also move to first base with Pat Peavey taking over the starting spot at third. Diefenderfer will see time in the outfield along with senior Matt Miller. Mike Balesteri and freshman Clint Cleland have battled for the starting shortstop spot during the preseason, while Jimmy Wallace will open the season at catcher. Joey Gomes will serve as the team's designated hitter.
Following the USC contest, Santa Clara returns to the Bay Area for a split series against Cal this weekend. Friday and Sunday's contests will be played at Buck Shaw Stadium, while Saturday's game will be played in Berkeley.
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