Baseball Plays Four Games in Six Days This Week

March 4, 2003

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This Week
Santa Clara will play four games in the span of six days for the second consecutive week, taking on the University of the Pacific Tuesday night in Stockton before returning home to the Bay Area for a three-game set with crosstown rival San Jose State. Friday's series opener with the Spartans will be played at Municipal Stadium, while Saturday's game will be played at Buck Shaw Stadium. Sunday's series finale will be played at Blethen Field on the SJSU campus. Belthen Field is located at 10th and Humboldt, across from the old track.

Last Time vs. Pacific
The last time that Santa Clara took on UOP was during the 2001 season when the Tigers came to Buck Shaw Stadium for a doubleheader on March 3. Pacific swept the twin bill, taking game one by a 11-2 score and game two by a count of 7-6 in 10 innings. The last time the Broncos defeated UOP was in 1995 when Santa Clara took an 8-1 decision from the Tigers at Buck Shaw Stadium. The two teams have met only four times since 1995.

Scouting The Tigers
Pacific enters Tuesday night with a 13-5 overall record, having won 11 of their last 14 games. Included during that time span is a three-game sweep of Washington State and a four-game sweep of Coppin State. They also took two of three from Portland but dropped two of three to Saint Mary's over this past weekend. Cory Lake leads the team with his .500 batting average, registering 18 hits, five of which have been doubles, and 12 RBI in 36 at bats. The Tigers have five home runs hit as a team, of which Adam Alverson and James Stanford have two apiece. Matthew Pena leads the UOP pitching staff with his 4-1 record and 2.72 ERA in five starts. Jason Godkin is 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in four starts. The team ERA is a very good 3.41, holding opponents to a .233 batting average and striking out 136 batters with only 53 walks.

Santa Clara vs. San Jose State - The Rivalry Series Continues
The Broncos and Spartans will renew their crosstown rivalry later this week with added incentive to winning. The two schools began a Rivalry Series competition for the 2002-2003 season that gives points to the winning team. The points will be given to the winner of each team in 13 different sports, with a maximum value of three points per sport. The total number of points that can be won this year is 32, and with only three sports remaining, the Broncos hold a commanding 20-3 lead. This weekend, the winner of each game will get one point for their school, leaving only men's golf and women's water polo left to be decided.

Last Year vs. SJSU
Last year Santa Clara and San Jose State played only twice with the Spartans coming out on top both times. The first game was played at Municipal Stadium where SJSU won going away by a score of 20-2 in early March. The Broncos made it much more of a game in mid April at Buck Shaw Stadium when the fell to the Spartans by a 5-1 score.

Scouting The Spartans
San Jose State enters the week with a 6-8 overall record having just been swept by Loyola Marymount last weekend in Los Angeles, Calif. The Spartans are led offensively by Kevin Frandsen who is batting .467 with six doubles, one home run and 12 RBI. All-in-all, SJSU has four players batting about .400 with their team average currently at .305. The team ERA is currently at 4.50, paced by staff ace Matt Durkin who is 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA. Durkin has struck out 26 batters while walking only 11 in 26 full innings of work.

California Recap
Santa Clara played its first midweek game of the year last Tuesday night against the Golden Bears of California. The Broncos dropped the game to Cal by a score of 7-5 as their late-inning rally came up just short. The good news for the Broncos in the game was the return of Kellan McConnell. The redshirt sophomore returned to the mound after having to miss last season because of Tommy John Surgery. His return comes almost one year following the surgery.

Cal Poly Series Recap
Santa Clara took on the Mustangs of Cal Poly in a three-game series at Buck Shaw Stadium over the weekend, winning one of three contests. The Broncos dropped the series opener on Friday by a score of 11-3 as three SCU errors led to six Cal Poly runs in the game. Scott Shapiro, Jim Wallace and Will Thompson each picked up a hit and a RBI in the loss. Saturday's roller coaster ride came to an end after 3 hours and 12 minutes with the Broncos on top by a score of 11-10. Kellan McConnell picked up his first win since returning from Tommy John Surgery after throwing a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth. The Broncos then scored five runs in the bottom the eighth inning, highlighted by Scott Dierks' two-run single to center field. Patrick Overholt came on in the ninth and picked up his third save of the year. Sunday's series finale went to Cal Poly by a score of 9-6. John Redmond took the loss after allowing seven runs, five of which were earned on only four hits in four full innings of work. Dierks' again provided the big blow for Santa Clara with a towering three-run home run in the sixth inning that cleared the batter's eye in straightaway center field. The rally was again not enough as the Mustangs scored one run in each of the next two innings to pull away and win by three.

Dierks Earns Starting Spot
Senior Scott Dierks got a clutch RBI single in the series opener against Cal Poly Friday night, prompting skipper Mark O'Brien to give him the starting nod in left field on Saturday and Sunday. Dierks did not disappoint, going 5-for-8 in those two days with a double, home run and five RBI. For the week, Dierks batted .543 (7-for-12) with two home runs, one double and seven RBI. His second home run of the week came Sunday afternoon against Cal Poly where he took a sixth-inning offering over the batter's eye in center field for a three-run homerun. The batter's eye is 400 feet away from home plate and at least 40 feet high.

Will Thompson Earns WCC Player of the Week Honors
Sophomore first baseman Will Thompson made a big splash in his debut with Santa Clara at UC Santa Barbara, going 7-for-9 on the weekend with two home runs, two doubles, one triple, four runs scored and seven RBI. The numbers were enough to earn him WCC Player of the Week honors for the final week of February. The transfer from the University of Arizona made his first plate appearance of the season on Friday, February 21, going 0-for-1 in a pinch hitting role. He then made his first start in Saturday's 13-6 win over the Gauchos, a game in which he proved to be the offensive hero. He stepped to the plate in the top of the first inning and promptly belted an opposite field grand slam on the first pitch he saw. From there the dominoes started to fall as he finished the day by going 4-for-4 with the grand slam, one triple, two doubles, three runs scored and six RBI. He followed that day with a 3-for-4 day on Sunday in which he picked up another home run, one more run scored and one more RBI.

Next Week: WCC Play Begins
Santa Clara will begin play in the West Coast Conference next weekend, taking on Saint Mary's Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Friday's conference opener will begin at 2 p.m. while Saturday and Sunday's contests are scheduled for 1 p.m. Louis Guisto Field is located on the campus of Saint Mary's which is located in Moraga, Calif. Last year SCU went 2-3 against SMC, with the final game of the year being rained out in Moraga.