March 26, 2003

Baseball Hosts Pepperdine This Weekend

March 26, 2003

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This Week
Santa Clara returns home to Buck Shaw Stadium for a three-game West Coast Conference series with Pepperdine. The Broncos and Waves will begin the series Friday night at 6 p.m., followed by 1 p.m. contests on Saturday and Sunday. Santa Clara trails the all-time series against Pepperdine, holding a 42-67-2 record against the Waves. Over the last five years, Pepperdine has a 13-5 record against SCU, with three of the Broncos' wins coming last year.

Last Year vs. Pepperdine
The Broncos and Waves played six times in 2002 with each team sweeping all three games at their respective home fields. In Malibu, Pepperdine came away with 6-3, 8-7 and 4-3 wins. The Saturday and Sunday wins for the Waves each came in the bottom of the ninth inning, as they scored one run both times to break the tie. At Buck Shaw Stadium during the first week of May, the Broncos came away with three wins by scores of 12-11, 6-4 and 8-7. The Friday night win was made possible when Joe Diefenderfer was walked with the bases loaded forcing home Pat Peavey. The win on Sunday came after the Waves scored three times in the ninth inning to tie the score and the Broncos answered right back with one in the bottom of the ninth for the win. A.J. LaBarbera scored the winning run on a Jim Wallace fielder's choice.

Scouting The Waves
Pepperdine enters the weekend with a 14-12 overall record and a 5-1 mark in league play. Offensively the Waves are led by David Uribes who is batting .344 with six doubles, one home run and eight RBI. Chris Kelly leads Pepperdine in the power numbers with his eight home runs and 22 RBI to go along with his .270 average. Brandon Boesch and Jacob Barrack each have three wins on the season to pace the pitching staff with Boesch having a team-low 1.58 ERA, followed closely by Barrack who has a 2.31 ERA. Their team ERA of 4.21 and team fielding percentage of .977 both are tops in the WCC.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
Santa Clara: Joe Diefenderfer, LHP (4-3, 4.65 ERA)
Pepperdine: Brandon Boesch, RHP (3-3, 1.85 ERA)

Saturday
Santa Clara: Kellan McConnell, RHP (1-2, 4.72 ERA)
Pepperdine: Greg Ramirez, RHP (2-2, 2.66 ERA)

Sunday
Santa Clara: Matt Travis, LHP (1-5, 3.88 ERA)
Pepperdine: Ed Clelland, RHP (3-1, 2.31 ERA)

Santa Clara vs. Gonzaga - Series Recap
The Broncos headed to the Pacific Northwest last weekend for a three-game series with Gonzaga University. The series was pushed back one day originally to accomodate Santa Clara final exams, making the game Saturday-Monday. After rain cancelled Saturday's series opener, the two teams gathered for a Sunday doubleheader. In the first game, the Zags defeated Santa Clara by a 9-7 score, rallying from behind with five runs in the sixth inning for the win despite five home runs from the Broncos. The second game of the doubleheader was dominated by the Broncos who captured the game by a 10-0 score. Joe Diefenderfer threw a complete game shutout in which he allowed only six hits while striking out seven and walking only two. He improved to 4-3 on the season while lowering his ERA down to 4.65. Diefenderfer did not allow a runner past second base in the outing. Monday's series finale was an epic battle with the Bulldogs pulling out the narrow victory by a score of 5-4 in 11 innings. Gonzaga rallied for one run in the ninth to tie the score and scored the game-winner in the 11th on a single up the middle.

Power Surge
During its last series at Gonzaga, Santa Clara belted out a season-high in home runs for a series with eight over the three-game span. The Broncos connected for five home runs, four of which were solo shots, in the series opening loss. During game two of the doubleheader, Santa Clara hit two more, while finishing the series on Monday with another big fly.

Dierks Goes MARCH-ing On
Senior Scott Dierks has had a big month in March, leading the team in almost every offensive category during the month. His .435 average, 11 runs, 20 hits, three doubles, six home runs, 12 RBI, 41 total bases and .891 slugging percentage are all tops on the team since March 1. His season average of .421 and slugging percentage of .860 lead the Broncos while his seven home runs is tied for the team lead with Will Thompson. Over the weekend in Spokane, Wash., Dierks lit up the Gonzaga pitching staff for six hits, three of which were home runs, in 13 at-bats.

Headley Picks It Up
Senior Jack Headley has settled into a rhythm during the last 11 games, going .350 at the plate with three doubles, two home runs, seven RBI and three stolen bases. He is currently batting .292 on the season, the highest his batting average has been since he finished the 2001 season with a .341 mark. During the last series against Gonzaga, Headley went 5-for-12 with a double, two home runs and three RBI.

Runs Batted In
Six Broncos currently have 11 RBI or more on the season, led by sophomore transfer Will Thompson whose 19 RBI have come in only 16 games and 62 plate appearances. Scott Shapiro and A.J. LaBarbera are next on the team with their 16 batted in, followed by Jack Headley (14), Scott Dierks (13) and Jason Matteucci (11).

Youth is Served
Thus far this season 18 of the 20 underclassmen on the Bronco roster have seen time on the field, either on the mound, at the plate or around the diamond. Freshmen Jason Matteucci and Michael Thompson are two of only three players this season to have started in every game, joining senior A.J. LaBarbera. The only two to not see action are freshmen Scott Dougherty and Scott Lonergan. Dougherty missed most of the beginning of the season as he finished his time with the men's basketball team where he was a redshirt this season. Lonergan will miss the entire season after having surgery during the fall season to repair a faulty blood vessel in his arm.

Diefenderfer Remains Consistent
Senior left hander Joe Diefenderfer improved his season record to 4-3 with a complete game shutout over Gonzaga on Sunday. His 50 1/3 innings pitched this season ranks second on the team while his 5.4 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio leads the team (43 k's, 8 walks). Of his 11 appearances this season, five have come as a starter

Multiplicity
Nine Broncos currently have at least four games this season in which they have gotten multiple base hits. A.J. LaBarbera, Jim Wallace and Jason Matteucci each have nine games this year in which they have posted multiple hits. LaBarbera and Wallace have each had eight two-hit games and one three-hit game while Matteucci has four two-hit games, four three-hit games and one four-hit game. Will Thompson joins Matteucci as the only other player to have a four-hit game, but both trail Scott Dierks who is the only Bronco to have a five-hit game this season, posting the impressive number at Saint Mary's in the WCC opener on March 14.

Oh So Close!
The Broncos have played 13 games this season in which the winning team won by two runs or less. SCU is 4-9 in those types of games this season including a 1-8 record in their last seven two-runs or less games. Additionally the Broncos have played in six extra inning contests this year, posting a 2-4 record.

Next Week: Broncos Make Up Game with SMC, Travel to USF
Santa Clara will make up its postponed game with Saint Mary's from two weekends ago on Tuesday, April 1 at Louis Guisto Field in Moraga, Calif. The game, originally schedule for Sunday, March 16th was postponed due to rain. Following that game the Broncos will continue on the road with a three-game series with the University of San Francisco. That series is scheduled for Friday-Sunday, April 4-6 at Benedetti Diamond on the USF campus.