Baseball Takes on Top-Ranked Stanford
Feb. 20, 2002
Santa Clara vs. Stanford
The Broncos and Cardinal have met 194 times dating back to 1930 with Stanford holding the all-time series advantage with a 115-78-1 record. The last 10 years have been domintated by the Cardinal, winning 32 of the last 40 meeting and the last 18 in a row. The Broncos last win against Stanford came on February 16, 1997 when Santa Clara defeated the Cardinal by a score of 6-5 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Sizing Up the Cardinal
Stanford enters the three-game series with the nation's No. 1 ranking and a 7-3 overall record. The Cardinal have taken two out of three from No. 2 Florida State, No. 14 Cal State Fullerton and previous No. 17 Fresno State. The other victory came in a single game against BYU. Tim Cunningham and Jeremy Guthrie are each 3-0 on the season with Cunningham holding a 1.93 ERA and Guthrie posting a 2.84 ERA. As a team the Cardinal are batting .345 with Carlos Quentin leading the way with his .485 average, two doubles, three home runs and 12 runs batted in. Donny Lucy leads the team with 15 RBI in only eight games of action while Scott Dragicevich leads the team with seven doubles to go along with his .425 average. All in all, the Cardinal have three players batting over .400 and four more with an average of over .300. Combine those lofty numbers with a team ERA of 3.38 and it becomes evident of why the Cardinal are ranked No. 1.
Santa Clara first-year head coach Mark O'Brien will see many familiar faces this weekend when he leads the Broncos into the Sunken Diamond on the campus of Stanford. Over the past three years O'Brien has served as an assistant coach at Stanford. O'Brien assisted with all aspects of the program and served as the Cardinal's hitting and fielding instructor, as well as the duties of first base coach. During those three seasons Stanford qualified for the College World Series, taking home a third place finish in 1999 and back-to-back national runners-up in '00 and '01. O'Brien's infield led the nation in 2001 with a .977 fielding percentage and was among the top-five in the nation in '99 and '00.
"This weekend is big for us, not because of any personal ties of mine, but because they set the standard in collegiate baseball and it will be good for us to see where we measure up to the standard," said O'Brien. "We are not going to change anything we do just because we are playing the top-ranked team in the country. We would probably hurt ourselves by trying to do something we are unaccustomed to doing, so we are going into the game with the same mental approach that we have used all year long. It will be exciting to see what happens."
Broncos Get Weekend Split and One Washout
Santa Clara made its first road trip of the season February 15-17 when it traveled to Southern California to take on UC Irvine in Irvine, Calif. The Broncos positioned themselves for a victory in game one, but an error with two outs in the ninth inning let the winning run across the plate and allowed the eventual winning run on base. Santa Clara dropped the first game of the three-game set by a score of 2-1.
Game two seemed eerily similar to game one, but this time the Broncos held on to the narrow one run margin for a 3-2 victory at Anteater Ballpark. Santa Clara took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first but had it cut in half in the bottom half of the first inning. The Broncos then extended their lead to 3-1 in the fourth inning when Jim Wallace crushed his second home run of the season. The Anteaters closed to within one in the sixth inning but could get no closer as Grant Feichtmeir shut the door in the ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season. John Redmond improved to 2-1 on the year with a solid seven-inning performance in which he scattered seven hits and struck out three.
The rubber game of the series was schedule for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. but was cancelled due to unplayable conditions at Anteater Ballpark. A night of rain combined with the lack of a field tarp led to the wet and muddy conditions on the field. The game will not be made up.
Heart of the Order
Through Santa Clara's first 10 games the offense has come from three players in particular, the Broncos two, three and four batters in the lineup. A.J. LaBarbera is batting .341 with seven runs batted in from the two-hole, while Pat Peavey has registered a .317 average and six RBI in the third spot in the order. Joey Gomes is still at the top of the charts for the Broncos, batting .447 from the clean-up spot with team-highs in doubles (5), hits (17) and runs batted in (8). The three have also combined to score 19 of the team's 46 runs.
Santa Clara sophomore John Redmond has begun the 2002 season with three quality starts on the mound for the Broncos. In his first start he threw six full innings in which he allowed only one run to pick up the 2-1 win over No. 11 Fresno State. In his second start he gave up one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings of work to take the 6-1 loss against UC Santa Barbara. In his third start last weekend at UC Irvine, the sophomore southpaw threw 7.0 innings in which he scattered seven hits, allowed two earned runs while striking out three to pick up his second win of the season. Redmond is now 2-1 on the season with a miniscule 1.45 ERA in a team-leading 18.2 innings of work.