April 21, 2003

Baseball Plays Four Games in Bay Area this Week

April 21, 2003

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This Week
Santa Clara returns to the Bay Area for four games. The Broncos will take on California in a midweek game slated for a 2:30 p.m. start Tuesday afternoon at Evans Diamond on the Cal campus in Berkeley, Calif. SCU will return to Buck Shaw Stadium for a three-game weekend series with Loyola Marymount University beginning Friday evening at 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's games are both scheduled for 1 p.m. first pitches.

Earlier This Year vs. Cal
The Golden Bears handed the Broncos a 7-5 loss on February 25 in Buck Shaw Stadium. Cal scored twice in the seventh and twice more in ninth for the victory. Scott Dierks picked up his first home run of the season in the game against Cal, starting him on his streak that has seen him belt 16 home runs in the last 27 games. Scott Shapiro looked good in his three innings of work on the mound to start the game for the Broncos, allowing only one earned run on four hits while striking out six batters.

Scouting The Golden Bears
Cal enters Tuesday's midweek matchup with a 23-19 overall record and an 8-7 mark in Pac-10 conference play having taken two of three from USC over the weekend. Conor Jackson leads the Golden Bears with his .369 average, followed closely behind by Chris Grossman's .355 average. Both players have six home runs for second place on the team, but Grossman leads the team with his 39 RBI. As a team the Golden Bears are batting .284 while their team ERA is currently at 5.00. Defensively Cal is allowing its opponents to bat .273 while their team defense has posted a stellar .974 fielding percentage.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday
Santa Clara: John Redmond, LHP (5-3, 5.73 ERA)
California: Joe Todoroff, RHP (4-2, 4.72 ERA)

Last Year vs. Loyola Marymount
The Broncos took two of three contests from the Lions last year at Page Stadium, winning the final two games by scores of 6-3 and 17-1 after dropping the series opener by a 14-6 count. Matt Travis picked up the win on Saturday while John Redmond earned the win on Sunday. Jim Wallace had a tremendous weekend against the Lions in 2002, going 6-for-12 with two home runs, a double, four runs scored and seven RBI. All of his offensive stats for that weekend came in the final two games including a 3-for-4 performance on Sunday that helped the lifted the Broncos' record to 10-10 in league play. LMU starter Vincent Cordova picked up the win on Friday last year, throwing seven full innings in which he allowed only two runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out seven. Jon Higashi went 4-for-4 at the plate in game one while Tommy Perez and Sean Smith each drove in four runs in the victory.

Scouting The Lions
Loyola Marymount enters the week with a 22-19 overall record and a 9-9 mark in West Coast Conference play. They will have a midweek game with Long Beach State before coming to Buck Shaw Stadium for the three-game weekend series. Offensively the Lions are very potent, batting .317 as a team and having nine players at .300 or better. Jon Higashi leads LMU with his .362 average while his 30 RBI rank third on the team. Josh Whitesell is batting .344 with a team-leading 33 RBI, just one ahead of Jon Oller who has a .336 average. Both Whitesell and Oller lead the team in home runs with 10 apiece, accounting for all but five of the team's home runs. Defensively the team has a .968 fielding percentage while the pitching staff boasts a 5.06 team ERA. Vince Cordova and Justin Abreu lead the team with their five wins while Kyle Huddy is close behind with his four, but it is his 2.94 ERA that leads the team.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
Santa Clara: Matt Travis, LHP (4-6, 3.76 ERA)
LMU: Vince Cordova, RHP (5-3, 3.73 ERA)

Saturday
Santa Clara: Joe Diefenderfer, LHP (7-3, 3.50 ERA)
LMU: Kyle Huddy, RHP (4-4, 2.94 ERA)

Sunday
Santa Clara: Kellan McConnell, RHP (1-3, 5.13 ERA)
LMU: Justin Abreu, RHP (5-2, 4.01 ERA)

Santa Clara vs. Portland - Series Recap
The Broncos swept three games from the University of Portland over the weekend including a Saturday doubleheader. SCU took game one of the series by a score of 8-2 behind Matt Travis' dominating pitching performance in which he allowed only two runs on seven hits while striking out eight. Scott Dierks and Jack Headley led off the game with back-to-back home runs, giving the Broncos a lead they would not relinquish. In game one of Saturday's doubleheader Joe Diefenderfer improved to 7-3 on the season as the Broncos busted out the whooping stick, defeating the Pilots by a score of 18-0. Dierks and Michael Thompson each had five RBI in the game. Game two of the doubleheader was much closer as the Broncos rallied from behind for a 5-4 victory. Thompson picked up three more RBI in game three, all of which came on a three-run home run that gave Santa Clara a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning. Thompson finished the weekend by going 6-for-12 with a home run, two doubles, four runs scored and nine RBI.

Power Surge
Santa Clara leads the West Coast Conference in home runs hit thus far in 2003, posting 45 big flies in 42 games. The next closest team in the league is San Diego who has 31 home runs in 46 games. The Broncos have a shot to break the all-time single season team mark for home runs in Santa Clara history which was set in 1984 when that team belted 62 home runs.

WCC Pitching Numbers Continue to Drop
Pitching coach Tom Myers and the SCU pitching staff are having a remarkable year in league play, posting a 13-5 record and a minuscule 3.19 team ERA. Joe Diefenderfer leads the way with his 5-0 record and 1.40 ERA, followed closely by John Redmond who is 4-0 with a 2.84 ERA.

WCC Batting Numbers Continue to Rise
Hitting Coach Mike Oakland has the Broncos swinging the bats with confidence and authority as they watch their numbers in league play continue to rise. SCU is averaging 10.9 hits in league play which has equated to an average of 6.9 runs per game. The Broncos are batting .311 as a team in league play with 28 home runs and 116 RBI in only 18 contests.

Dierks Gaining National Attention
Senior Scott Dierks is having himself an incredible year from the leadoff spot in the batting order. Thus far in 2003 Dierks is batting .454 with 14 home runs, 33 RBI, 32 runs scored, 106 total bases, a slugging percentage of .981 and an on base percentage of .545. His batting average currently ranks as the highest single season mark in SCU history while his 16 home runs is currently the second highest total in program history. Gene Delyon set the single-season home run mark in 1974 with his 19 home runs. Dierks is currently averaging one home run for every 6.75 at-bats, posting the 16 blasts in only 108 at-bats. His home run average in league play is even more impressive, connecting on 12 home runs in only 71 at-bats, good for one home run in every 5.92 at-bats. Of his 16 home runs in 2003, seven have come as leadoff home runs. His batting average and home runs per game both rank among the national leaders with his batting average currently ranking sixth and his home run average ranking eighth in the country.

Matt Travis Named WCC Pitcher of the Week - April 21
Santa Clara's Matt Travis was named the West Coast Conference/Rawlings Co-Pitcher of the Week alongside Pepperdine's Greg Ramirez Monday afternoon as announced by the league office. The senior from Glendora, Calif., picks up the honor after tossing his third complete game of the season during the Broncos' 8-2 win in their series opener against the University of Portland Thursday afternoon in Portland, Ore. The southpaw allowed only two runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out eight for his fourth victory of the season. He lowered his season ERA down to 3.76 during the victory while taking his league only mark to 3-2 with a 4.58 ERA in five starts. Currently the team leader in innings pitched with 81 1/3 innings under his belt, Travis has struck out 48 while walking only 16 and has limited his opponents to a .251 batting average. The pitcher of the week honor is his first this season and second of his career. He earned the honor for the first time on March 7, 2000 after he limited then No. 1 Stanford to one run on five hits in eight innings on the mound during the Broncos' 1-0 loss on March 3rd.

Michael Thompson Produces as Freshman
Freshman third baseman Michael Thompson has had a tremendous impact on the Broncos during his inaugural season on the Mission Campus. He is one of only two players, the other being fellow freshman Jason Matteucci, to have started all 42 games for Santa Clara this season. While his .279 average is very respectable, his 10 doubles and 28 RBI both rank second on the team. His four home runs are the fourth highest total on the team as are his 46 base hits. In WCC play only he is batting .309 with five doubles, three home runs and 21 RBI

Turning HEADs
Senior Jack Headley is back to the form he showed during his first two years on the Mission Campus. He is currently batting .314 with 13 doubles, three home runs, 22 RBI and 13 stolen bases. During the month of April alone he is batting .413 with seven doubles, one home run, eight RBI and five stolen bases, helping the Broncos a 9-2 record through the team's first 11 games in the second to last month of the season.

Lange Picks it Up
Freshman Michael Lange has seen his batting average steadily rise since the beginning of league play. Entering the first weekend of the WCC, the shortstop from West Covina, Calif., was batting only .140 while the team limped to an 8-15 record. Since that point he is batting .333, helping the Broncos to a 13-6 mark. He is currently batting .245 for the season while his mark in league play is an impressive .327, ranking him third on the team in WCC play.

Inside the Numbers
After last weekend's sweep at the University of Portland, the Broncos are now out-scoring their opponents on the season by a 249-234 margin. In league play Santa Clara has out-scored its opponents by 44 runs, 124-80. The Broncos are 19-13 on the year against right handed starting pitchers and are 20-16 during day games. In WCC action only that trend is further personified with SCU holding a 12-4 record during day games and a 12-3 record against right handed starting pitchers.

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 the only two players on the roster that have started in each of the Broncos' 42 games.

Rea of Hope
Redshirt sophomore Anthony Rea made a huge impact since his return from arm surgery during last season. Thus far this season he has made 25 appearances on the mound, five more than the next closest person. In his 30 1/3 innings on the mound this season he has allowed only eight earned runs while striking out 23. In WCC play he has made nine appearances, throwing nine full innings in which he has yet to allow an earned run on only seven hits.

Overholt Tied for 6th on All-Time Single Season Saves List at SCU
Freshman Patrick Overholt picked up his sixth save of the season, moving him into a four-way tie for sixth on the Santa Clara all-time single season saves list. He is only four saves away from tying the all-time single season mark that was set twice by Mike McDonald who recorded 10 saves during the 1996 and 1997 seasons.

Next Week: Broncos Play at Stanford, Travel to Pepperdine for Three Games
Santa Clara will play its fourth and final game against Stanford on Tuesday of next week, with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. at Sunken Diamond. Following that game the Broncos will travel to Malibu, Calif., for a three-game set with Pepperdine. Friday's series opener is scheduled for 3 p.m. while Saturday and Sunday's contests are slated for 1 p.m. first pitches.