February 6, 2003

Five Broncos Honored at Hot Stove Baseball Banquet

Feb. 6, 2003

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University baseball had five of its own honored at the annual Hot Stove Banquet presented by the Santa Clara County Baseball Association Tuesday night at the San Jose Elks Club.

The Broncos had two current and three former players honored at one of the biggest annual baseball gatherings in the South Bay. Current players Jim Wallace and Andrew Slorp accepted their awards as did former players Joey Gomes, Mike Crudale and Randy Winn.

Catcher Jim Wallace was honored with the Loyd Christopher award given annually to the players from Stanford, San Jose State and Santa Clara whose performance on the field and in the clubhouse is most notable. As a junior in 2002, Wallace earned All-West Coast Conference honorable mention honors after batting .330 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI. He was twice named WCC Player of the Week and earned conference Player of the Month honors in April.

Freshman Andrew Slorp was given the high school award for academic excellence for his work at Bellarmine Preparatory in 2002. He maintained a 3.0 GPA while posting an 18-3 career record for the Bells. Thus far in his collegiate career, Slorp has made three appearances in which he has allowed only two hits while striking out three in three full innings of work.

Joey Gomes was honored with the Co-College Player of the Year award alongside Adam Sorsher from San Jose State. Gomes led the nation in doubles with 31 as a senior for the Broncos in 2002, helping him earn first team All-America and All-WCC honors. His .408 batting average, 97 hits and 51 RBI all led the Broncos, while his hit total was one shy of tying the SCU single-season mark held by Mike Frank.

Mike Crudale played on the Mission Campus from 1996-1999 and was honored Tuesday as the Co-Major League Pitcher of the Year. He posted 10 saves in that time, ranking him fourth all-time in Santa Clara history. After rising through the minor league system quickly, Crudale made his Major League debut in 2002 with the St. Louis Cardinals. During his rookie year, Crudale made 49 appearances in which he posted a 3-0 record with a 1.88 ERA in 52 1/3 innings of work. He struck out 47 batters while walking only 14 and limited his opponents to a meager .228 batting average.

Randy Winn became only the third back-to-back winner of the Major League Player of the Year award at the Hot Stove Banquet Tuesday night. Following his three-year stint at Santa Clara, Winn rose through the minor league system of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays very quickly and has established himself as one of the rising stars in the outfield of Major League Baseball. In his fifth year at the Major League level, Winn posted a .298 average with 14 home runs and 75 RBI, earning him his first appearance in the MLB All-Star Game. After an off-season trade, Winn will now be playing a little closer to home, guarding the left field wall at Safeco Field for the Seattle Mariners.

Santa Clara also had one more indirect tie as the other MLB Co-Pitcher of the Year, Jason Simontacchi, was coached by current Bronco skipper, Mark O'Brien, at DeAnza College. Simontacchi made his big league debut for the Cardinals as well last year, posting an 11-5 record with a 4.02 ERA in 24 starts.

O'Brien leads his current squad back into action this weekend as they host UC Irvine for a three-game series at Buck Shaw Stadium. Friday's first game will begin at 3 p.m. while Saturday and Sunday's contests are slated for 1 p.m. starts.