May 8, 2002
Santa Clara vs. Gonzaga
The Broncos and Bulldogs have met 39 times on the field since the series inception in 1973. Santa Clara holds the all-time advantage in the series with a 23-16 record, but the series has drawn closer over the last six seasons as the Broncos have won just over half the games, going 13-12 since 1997. Santa Clara and Gonzaga have met six times in each of the last two seasons, with the Bulldogs taking four of the six games. Earlier this season, the Broncos took the first two of a three game set from Gonzaga at Buck Shaw Stadium by scores of 10-4 and 5-4, before losing the series finale 17-2.
WCC Coast Division Battle Heats Up
After a weekend in which Santa Clara swept Pepperdine and Saint Mary's swept Gonzaga, the WCC Coast Division has essentially flipped upside down from just two weeks ago. On April 24th Saint Mary's and Santa Clara were in third and fourth place respectively in the division, while Pepperdine sat atop with an 11-5 record and Gonzaga trailed by just one game with an 11-7 record. Now with only two weeks remaining in conference play, the pack is again jumbled but should feature a key matchup in the final week between the Gaels and the Broncos.
Gomes Ranks Second in Nation, First in Santa Clara History for Doubles
Entering the week, senior right fielder Joey Gomes was ranked No. 2 in the nation in doubles per game in 2002. He is averaging 0.56 per game entering the Gonzaga series. James Boyd from UMBC ranks first in the nation with his 0.62 per game average. After stroking his 25th double of the year against Loyola Marymount last Sunday, Gomes tied the all-time single season mark in Santa Clara history that was originally set by Mike Frank during the 1997 season. He collected his 28th double of the season against Stanford Tuesday night, roping a fast ball down the right field line in the ninth inning.
Sizing Up the Bulldogs
Gonzaga enters the weekend with a 23-25 mark and a 11-13 record in West Coast Conference play. The Bulldogs have lost eight straight dating back to April 24 when Lewis-Clark State defeated them by a score of 5-1. Since then Gonzaga has dropped three to San Diego, one to Washington and most recently, three to Saint Mary's last weekend in Moraga, Calif. Jeff Culpepper leads the team in batting average, hitting at a .361 clip, but it is Nate Gold who is the most feared offensive threat on the team. Gold is batting .342 with a nation-leading 30 home runs and 65 RBI. Greg Brooks leads the pitching staff with his 5-1 record and 3.13 ERA. Ed Clelland leads the team in appearances with 14, 12 of which have been as a starter. As a team the Bulldogs are hitting .304 while their pitching staff maintains a 5.52 ERA. Head coach Steve Hertz is in his 23rd year at the helm of the Gonzaga program, where he has posted an overall record of 604-597-5.
Probable Starters by Position
Santa Clara Gonzaga 18 Joe Diefenderfer 1B 34 Nate Gold 1B 4 A.J. LaBarbera 2B 3 Eric Rodland 2B 15 Pat Peavey SS 11 Grant Zurmley SS 7 Mark Folgner 3B 27 Jeff Culpepper 3B 8 Jim Wallace C 33 Kevin Richardson C/DH 35 Ryan Chiarelli LF 5 Sam Hess LF 3 Jack Headley CF 24 Garth Blumberg CF 21 Joey Gomes RF 35 Kemp Quackenbush RF 5 Scott Dierks DH 12 Brian Munhall DH/C
Probable Starting Rotation
Santa Clara Gonzaga 10 Matt Travis 5-2, 4.48 ERA 13 Ed Clelland 5-5, 4.92 ERA 22 John Redmond 5-5, 4.39 ERA 15 Brent Dayton 3-4, 3.79 ERA 18 Joe Diefenderfer 4-6, 4.55 ERA 21 Errol Simonitsch 3-4, 5.17 ERA
Broncos Sweep Pepperdine for First Time since 1997
Santa Clara complete a three-game sweep Sunday of Pepperdine with a thrilling 8-7 victory. The Broncos won their third consecutive game over the Waves in their final at bat, giving them their first sweep of Pepperdine since 1997. Friday's series opener was capped off by a two-run ninth inning for the Broncos, giving them a 12-11 win. Saturday's eighth inning proved to be the deciding one as Santa Clara scored three times, giving them a 6-4 win. After Pepperdine rallied to score three times in the top of the ninth inning to tie the score, Santa Clara loaded the bases and Jim Wallace delivered his fourth RBI of the game to give the Broncos the 8-7 victory in Sunday's finale.
Bronco Catcher Named WCC Player of the Month
Santa Clara University catcher Jim Wallace added West Coast Conference Player of the Month honors to his already banner year Friday, just days after earning WCC Player of the Week honors. The junior from Reno, Nev. led the Broncos to an 8-8 overall record and a 7-6 WCC mark during the month of April. During that time span he went 28-for-63 (.444) with eight home runs, five doubles and 26 RBI. He led the team in home runs, RBI, runs scored (18), total bases (56), slugging percentage (.949) and on base percentage (.515). His .444 batting average during the month lifted it from .267 up to where it stands now at .342. Behind the plate he notched 80 putouts and seven assists while not committing any errors or allowing any passed balls.
Fillinger Picks Up Win and Save Against Waves
Sophomore Chad Fillinger is adjusting to his new role out of the bullpen quite nicely, picking up the series opening win Friday night against Pepperdine, then preserving the 6-4 victory in Saturday afternoon's game for his second save of the season.
April Numbers Jump for Two Broncos
The month of April and the Broncos seemed to agree with one another as many Santa Clara players put up good numbers during the team's 16 games. Jim Wallace led the Broncos to a 8-8 overall record and a 7-6 WCC mark during the month of April. During that time span he went 28-for-63 (.444) with eight home runs, five doubles and 26 RBI. He led the team in home runs, RBI, runs scored (18), total bases (56), slugging percentage (.949) and on base percentage (.515). Matt Travis made four starts during the month of April, going 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA. In his 29 1/3 innings of work he struck out 17 batters while walking only six and limited opponents to a .263 batting average. He recorded a win over San Francisco at home and wins over San Diego and Loyola Marymount on the road. His ERA before the month of April was at 6.26, but after April he has lowered it to where it stands now at 4.45. The Broncos as a team finished the month with an 8-8 overall record and a 7-6 mark in the WCC.
WCC Baseball Standings (as of May 7, 2002)
WCC Overall Coast Division Team W L Pct. GB W L Pct. Saint Mary's 13 10 .565 - 21 22 .488 Santa Clara 13 11 .542 0.5 23 27 .460 Pepperdine 12 11 .522 1.0 24 28 .462 Gonzaga 11 13 .458 3.0 23 25 .479
West Division Team W L Pct. GB W L Pct. San Diego 17 10 .630 - 35 18 .660 Portland 13 11 .542 2.5 21 24 .467 LMU 11 12 .478 4.0 18 29 .383 USF 7 19 .269 9.5 15 36 .294