Baseball Opens WCC Season
March 14, 2002
Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary's
In a series that dates back to 1930, the Santa Clara Broncos hold the all-time series advantage over the Saint Mary's Gaels with a record of 122-72-4. Over the last decade the Broncos have won 32 of the two team's 50 meetings. Last year Santa Clara took two of three from Saint Mary's at Louis Gusto Field in Moraga, Calif., with Joe Diefenderfer and John Redmond each picking up a win in the series.
Sizing Up the Gaels
Saint Mary's enters the week with a 7-8 overall record and will face the University of Nevada on Tuesday before opening up the West Coast Conference season with Santa Clara over the weekend. Recently, the Gaels have won seven of their last nine games, including a three-game sweep over Georgetown last weekend in Moraga. Jason Waugh has provided most of the offensive pop for the Gaels, posting a .508 average through the first 15 games with eight home runs, two triples, six doubles, 18 runs batted in, and a slugging percentage of 1.048. Brian Houle and Mark Teahen trail closely behind with their .345 and .339 batting averages, respectively, and have combined for six doubles, three home runs and 17 runs batted in. Mike Byer and Eric Bowden each have 2-2 records, while posting 3.68 and 4.13 ERAs, respectively. Byer, Bowden and Kevin Trochez, this weekend's starting rotation, have each posted more than 30 innings of work each. No other pitcher on the Gaels' staff has posted more than nine innings on the mound. Defensively the Gaels are fielding at a .968 clip, making 19 errors through their first 15 games.
Broncos Take Three of Four from Hawaii-Hilo
Santa Clara traveled to the Aloha State last weekend to take on the Vulcans of the University of Hawaii-Hilo in a four-game set. The Broncos dropped the series opener by a score of 6-5 in the Vulcans last at-bat. Santa Clara rebounded with a 9-7 victory on Saturday behind a five-run seventh inning that gave the Broncos the victory. Jim Wallace went 3-for-5 with three runs batted in during Saturday's victory. Santa Clara swept the Sunday double-header, winning game one by a score of 7-2 and game two by a score of 7-3. Joe Diefenderfer was the story in game one, throwing a complete game to pick up his second win of the year. He struck out eight in the victory. Matt Travis picked up the win in game two, improving to 2-0 on the season after throwing seven full innings in which he struck out a season-high nine batters. A.J. LaBarbera went 3-for-4 in game two with a home run, two runs batted in, and three runs scored.
Junior A.J. LaBarbera may have found his comfort zone over the weekend in Hawaii against the Vulcans. The transfer from Long Beach State batted lead-off in all four games for the first time all season and moved from shortstop to his natural position of second base, also for the first time all season. As a result he went 8-for-16 from the plate with a home run, four runs scored and seven RBI. He posted a .688 slugging percentage while stealing three bases in four attempts. In the field he did not commit an error while picking up 10 assists.
Can You Top This
Sunday proved to be a day of firsts for the starting pitchers in both games of the double-header. Joe Diefenderfer started the day off with a complete game victory, the first this year for the Bronco pitching staff. The junior went the distance while scattering nine hits, all of which were singles. He allowed only two runs while striking out a season-high eight batters. Matt Travis followed that performance up with a gem of his own, throwing seven innings to improve to 2-0 on the year. Travis allowed only three runs on eight hits, but did one better than Diefenderfer in the strikeout department, ringing up a season-high nine batters.
Through the first 22 games of the season the Broncos have relied on many sources for their offensive production. A.J. LaBarbera, Joey Gomes and Pat Peavey have led the way thus far, producing RBI numbers of 17, 16 and 15, respectively. Despite his batting average being a little down, Jack Headley has also driven in 15, while Jim Wallace and Shawn Epidendio have driven in 11 and 10 runs, respectively.
Probable Starters by Position Santa Clara Saint Mary's 26 Shawn Epidendio 1B 18 Brian Houle 1B 4 A.J. LaBarbera 2B 15 Mike Harris 2B 15 Pat Peavey SS 7 Brett Wayne SS 5 Scott Dierks 3B 10 Mark Teahen 3B 8 Jim Wallace C 17 Brian Vesce C 23 Bobby Wiginton LF 33 Eli Champion LF 35 Ryan Chiarelli CF 8 Jason Waugh CF 21 Joey Gomes RF 28 Neil McSherry RF 9 David Mandley DH 22 Tim Spooner DH
Probable Starting Rotation Santa Clara Saint Mary's 22 John Redmond 3-2, 5.17 ERA 19 Mike Byer 2-2, 3.68 ERA 17 Chad Fillinger 1-2, 4.05 ERA 27 Kevin Trochez 1-2, 5.34 ERA 18 Joe Diefenderfer 2-3, 5.82 ERA 11 Eric Bowden 2-2, 4.13 ERA