Baseball Begins Three-Game Series at San Diego State Friday Evening
Feb. 12, 2003
Santa Clara resumes its 2003 road schedule with a three-game series against first year head coach and likely first ballot MLB Hall of Famer, Tony Gwynn, and his San Diego State University Aztecs. The series will take place Friday - Sunday at Tony Gwynn Stadium on the SDSU campus, with Friday's series opener scheduled for 6 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday's contests slated for 1 p.m. first pitches.
Mark O'Brien Participates in Online Chat
Second year head coach Mark O'Brien will participate in a live online chat Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., Pacific Time, from the team's hotel in San Diego. To submit your question for Coach O'Brien, please click here. Remember to check out the chat at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com on Friday afternoon.
Last Time vs. San Diego State
The last time that the Broncos and Aztecs met for a baseball contest was in 1974 when the Broncos and Aztecs split a two-game series in San Diego. Overall the Broncos hold a 5-1 all-time series advantage over SDSU. Santa Clara won the first game in the series by a score of 11-10 on the Mission Campus in 1957. The Aztecs returned to the Bay Area in 1963 when the Broncos handed them a 2-0 loss. The two teams met against in 1966 and 1967 on neutral sites, with the Broncos winning both games by scores of 5-3 and 10-3, respectively.
Scouting the Aztecs
San Diego State enters the week with a 2-4 overall record and faces No. 20 South Alabama in a brief two-game series at Tony Gwynn Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. As a team the Aztecs are batting .261 with 11 doubles, one triple and one home run. Their pitching staff has a 3.93 ERA while limiting opponents to a .249 batting average. They began the season in Tempe, Ariz., where Arizona State swept SDSU in the three-game series. They then travelled to UC Santa Barbara where they took two of three games from the Gauchos. Joe Carque is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two starts for the Aztecs while James Guerrero has a .304 average with one double, one triple and a team leading six RBI.
UC Irvine Series Recap
Santa Clara returned home for its first home series of the 2003 season, hosting UC Irvine in a three-game set at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos and Anteaters went into extra innings in the series opener with UCI claiming victory on Friday afternoon by a score of 2-1 in 10 innings. The loss snapped SCU's four-game win streak that occurred the weekend before when the Broncos swept Hawaii-Hilo. Game two saw two errors lead to four Anteater runs as UCI took game two by a 9-4 score. The series finale on Sunday also took extra frames, going 13 innings before the Broncos scored in the bottom half of the inning for a 5-4 win. The win improved the Broncos' record to 5-4 on the season and 2-1 in extra inning games. For the weekend Jason Matteucci led all SCU batters with his .455 average, going 5-for-11 with one RBI. Joe Diefenderfer want 3-for-8 with two runs scored in addition to throwing 5 1/3 innings of work on the mound in which he allowed two runs on five hits while striking out five. Freshman Patrick Overholt improved his season record to 2-0 with the win on Sunday as the closer threw five full innings in which he did not allow a run and gave up only two hits while striking out four batters. Anthony Rea made two appearances out of the bullpen, throwing 3 1/3 innings in which he gave up only one hit to go along with three strikeouts.
Three of Santa Clara's five wins this year have been made possible in large part because of late inning rallies. The series opening win at Hawaii-Hilo and the series finale win against UC Irvine were made possible when the Broncos scored one run in the last inning to force extra innings. The series finale at Hawaii-Hilo did not go extra innings, but a ninth inning, three-run home run by Jason Matteucci lifted SCU to the series sweep. From the seventh inning on, the Broncos are out-scoring their opponents by a 21-9 margin.
Senior A.J. LaBarbera is currently batting .308 with one double and five RBI. He has the longest current hitting streak of any Bronco, seven games, and has delivered in the clutch more than any other Bronco. He is currently batting a team-leading .417 with runners on base, has a .444 average with runners in scoring position and is a perfect 3-for-3 with a runner on third base and less than two outs. His 12 hits and .426 on base percentage both rank second on the team, while his 24 assists, 10 putouts and 1.000 fielding percentage anchors a Bronco defense that has a .973 fielding percentage, up 16 points from last year's team.
Through his steady play and workman like mentality, Matt Travis has established himself as the program's Friday night starter. The senior from Glendora, Calif., has started three games for the Broncos this season, throwing a team-leading 18 2/3 innings. He has limited opponents to a .185 batting average while posting a 1-1 record with his 1.93 ERA. He has only given up four runs on 12 hits while striking out 12 and walking only four. One of his best performances of the year may have been the loss at No. 3 Stanford where he limited one of the most potent offenses in the country to three runs on five hits in six full innings of work.
Senior Joe Diefenderfer must have confused everybody who saw the boxscore from Sunday's series finale with UC Irvine, but could not actually make it to the game. Diefenderfer, known to his teammates as "Red" because of his red hair, began Sunday's game against the Anteaters in left field. He then moved to the pitcher's mound in the fourth inning where he threw four full innings of work in which he allowed only one run on four hits to go along with four strikeouts. He moved back out to left field in the eighth inning when Anthony Rea took over on the hill. Diefenderfer remained in left field through the remainder of the game that ended with the Broncos winning by a 5-4 score in 13 innings. He also made his presence felt at the plate, going 3-for-6 with a double and a walk. His three hits came from the left side of the batter's box, while his walk came from the right side, adding more versatility to one of the better athletes on the team.
Matteucci Impressive Early in His Career
Local prospect Jason Matteucci has made the most of his opportunity to play everyday for the Broncos during his inaugural season on the Mission Campus. Through the team's first nine games Matteucci is second on the team with his .342 average while his 13 hits, one home run and seven runs scored all lead the team. His first collegiate home run could not have come at a more opportune time as the San Jose native connected on a three-run blast in the top of the ninth inning to lift the Broncos to a 7-5 win over Hawaii-Hilo, giving SCU the series sweep.
Next Week: At UC Santa Barbara
Following this weekend's three-game series with the Aztecs, the Broncos remain on the road for their next three games, driving down Highway 101 for a series with UC Santa Barbara. The Broncos and Guachos met three times in 2002, with UCSB taking two of three from Santa Clara on the Mission Campus. The Gauchos enter this weekend with a 2-5 overall record and will play a three-game series at San Jose State.