Baseball Begins Four-Game Road Trip Tuesday Afternoon

March 31, 2003

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This Week
Santa Clara will make a return trip to Moraga, Calif., on Tuesday to play a West Coast Conference game that was originally scheduled for March 16 but was postponed due to inclement weather. Following their makeup game with Saint Mary's, the Broncos will remain in the Bay Area for the weekend, making a trip to the North Bay to take on WCC rival San Francisco in a three-game series scheduled for April 4-6. Friday's series opener is scheduled for 3 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday's games are both slated for 1 p.m. starts at Benedetti Diamonds on the USF campus.

Earlier this year vs. Saint Mary's
The Broncos and Gaels split their two games earlier this season with the Broncos winning the conference opener by a 12-8 score. They dropped game two of the series to SMC by a score of 7-2 on Saturday afternoon at Louis Guisto Field on the Saint Mary's campus. Scott Dierks and Will Thompson led the Broncos to the win in game one as Dierks went 5-for-6 at the plate with two runs scored while Thompson went 3-for-6 with two home runs and three RBI in the game. Game two was dominated by Saint Mary's pitching as Matt Yourkin threw 7 2/3 innings in which he allowed only two runs on four hits while striking out six to pick up the win. Dane Dobrinich picked up the save as he threw the final 1 1/3 innings in which he allowed only one hit. Sunday's series finale was postponed due to inclement weather and unplayable conditions at Guisto Field.

Scouting The Gaels
Saint Mary's enters Tuesday's game with a 13-15 overall record and a 4-4 mark in WCC play. The Gaels took two of three from Gonzaga over the weekend, winning the first two games by scores of 9-3 and 6-5 before dropping the series finale by a 13-6 margin. Bryan Byrne leads the team with his .367 average, posting 11 doubles, one triple, two home runs and 26 RBI in the process. Nick Conte is second on the team with his .355 average, helping the Gaels post a .291 average as a team. The team ERA is currently at 4.78 despite allowing an opponent batting average of .298. Gabe Palma's 1.46 ERA and 1-0 record are among the team leaders while Dane Dobrinich and Eric Bowden each have four wins on the year to lead the team.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday
Santa Clara: John Redmond, LHP (1-3, 8.20 ERA)
Saint Mary's: Gabe Palma, RHP (1-0, 1.46 ERA)

Last year vs. San Francisco
Santa Clara swept San Francisco last year on April 5-7 at Buck Shaw Stadium by scores of 7-6, 12-1 and 4-0. Game one last year saw the Broncos rally from a two-run deficit to score five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to propel them to the one run victory. Joe Diefenderfer picked up a complete game victory in game two, allowing only one run while scattering 13 hits in the game. A.J. LaBarbera and Jim Wallace combined for seven hits in the game to go along with five runs scored and two runs driven in. Matt Travis picked up the win in game three, going 6 2/3 innings in which he did not allow a run on only four hits. John Redmond came on and threw 1 2/3 innings before giving way to Grant Feichtmeir who secured the shutout by recording the final two outs of the game.

Scouting The Dons
San Francisco enters the week with a 12-19 overall record and a 6-6 mark in WCC play. The Dons have been playing well of late, winning eight of their last 14, including three wins over San Diego, two over Loyola Marymount and another over San Jose State. They are currently in third place in the WCC West Division, two full games behind division leader San Diego who has a 8-4 mark in league play despite splitting six games with San Francisco earlier in the season. Offensively the team has a .285 average led by Jonnie Knoble's .379 mark. Nick Cirbo has posted a .295 average but leads in the power numbers with his four home runs and 23 runs batted in. Defensively the Dons have struggled, posting a .952 team fielding percentage, making 59 errors in 31 games. The pitching staff has posted a 5.30 team ERA led by Kevin Annis' 1.71 mark. His low ERA is combined with a 2-2 record and two saves. Bryan Williams has a team-high three wins to go along with one loss and a 4.78 ERA. Opponents are batting .302 against the Dons.

Joe Diefenderfer takes his team-leading four wins into action Saturday afternoon in San Francisco. (Jedlovec Photo)


Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
Santa Clara: Matt Travis, LHP (2-5, 3.60 ERA)
San Francisco: Kevin Rose, RHP (2-4, 8.31 ERA)

Saturday
Santa Clara: Joe Diefenderfer, LHP (4-3, 4.37 ERA)
San Francisco: Bryan Williams, RHP (3-1, 4.78 ERA)

Sunday
Santa Clara: Kellan McConnell, RHP (1-3, 8.16 ERA)
San Francisco: Brian Borgmann, LHP (0-5, 7.20)

Santa Clara vs. Pepperdine - Series Recap
The Broncos won two of three games from the Coast Division leaders to pull within 1 1/2 games of the division lead. Matt Travis picked up the complete game victory on Friday night as the Broncos rolled to a 10-2 victory in the opener. Saturday's 4-3 win in 10 innings was hard fought as Scott Shapiro blasted a walk-off home run in the 10th inning for the Broncos third extra inning win of the season. Sunday's series finale was dominated by Pepperdine pitching as Jacob Barrack shutdown the Broncos for seven full innings before giving way to the bullpen. SCU could generate no momentum in the 8-2 loss, but the lone bright spot came in the seventh inning when Michael Lange connected on his first collegiate home run.

Going Deep
Thus far this season the Broncos have connected on 31 home runs, six more than their opponents. In the month of March alone Santa Clara has flexed its collective muscles, going deep 21 times in 14 games compared to giving up only 11 home runs during that same time span. Scott Dierks and Will Thompson provided much of that power surge in March as Dierks connected on seven big flies during the month while Thompson hit five.

Scott Dierks came up huge for the Broncos during the entire month of March. (Jedlovec Photo)


Dierks Has Monster Month
Senior Scott Dierks put up some monstrous numbers during the month of March, leading the team in almost every offensive category during that time span. His .446 average (25-for-56), 13 runs, 25 hits, five doubles, seven home runs, 15 RBI, 51 total bases and .911 slugging percentage are all tops on the team since March 1. His season average of .433 and slugging percentage of .881 leads both the Broncos and the WCC while his eight home runs also lead the team but ranks him second in the WCC. Over the weekend against Pepperdine, Dierks went 5-for-10 with three doubles, one home run, three RBI and two runs scored.

McColgan Tough to Run On Early in Career
Freshman Matt McColgan has played in 16 games this season, starting seven of those contests behind the dish. In his time behind the plate, McColgan has had only five baserunners attempt to run on him, gunning down four of those would be base stealers. In the seven games that McColgan has started behind the plate, the Broncos are 4-3.

Streaking Seniors
Seniors A.J. LaBarbera and Scott Dierks are each currently on eight game hitting streaks. The last time either player did not get a hit was in the 5-4 loss to San Jose State on March 9. The two have successfully gotten a hit in all eight WCC games this year and have produced 28 of the team's 82 hits in league play.

Double-Digit RBI
Seven Broncos currently have 11 RBI or more on the season, led by sophomore transfer Will Thompson whose 20 RBI have come in only 19 games and 73 plate appearances. Scott Shapiro and A.J. LaBarbera are next on the team with their 18 batted in, followed by Scott Dierks (16), Jack Headley (14), Michael Thompson (12) and Jason Matteucci (11).

Teach Them Young
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 this season joining senior A.J. LaBarbera.

Travis Tosses Second Complete Game of Year
Senior left hander Matt Travis tossed his second complete game of the year, but first for a victory in Friday's series opening 10-2 win over Pepperdine. Travis allowed only two runs on seven hits while striking out four to pick up his second win of the season. Travis' first complete game of the year came in the 5-1 loss at UC Santa Barbara on February 21.

Multi-Hit Madness
Nine Broncos currently have at least five games this season in which they have gotten multiple base hits. A.J. LaBarbera leads the team with 11 multi-hit games while Jim Wallace, Michael Thompson and Jason Matteucci each have nine such games this year. LaBarbera has two hits in a game 10 times this season to go along with one game in which he posted three hits. Matteucci and Thompson have each posted four three-hit games this season to lead the team, while Matteucci and Will Thompson lead the team in four-hit games with one apiece. Scott Dierks is the only Santa Clara player this year to have five hits in a game.

Oh So Close!
The Broncos have played 14 games this season in which the winning team won by two runs or less. SCU is 5-9 in those types of games this season including a 2-8 record in their last 10 two-runs or less games. Additionally the Broncos have played in seven extra inning contests this year, posting a 3-4 record.

Next Week: Broncos Host Stanford and San Diego
Not only will the Broncos welcome in the WCC West Division leading San Diego Toreros for a three-game series next weekend at Buck Shaw Stadium, but they will also host a midweek game against the fourth-ranked Stanford Cardinal. Tuesday's night game with the Cardinal is scheduled for 6 p.m. as is Friday's series opener with San Diego. Saturday and Sunday's games with the Toreros are slated for 1 p.m. first pitches.