Baseball Concludes Season at Home This Weekend

May 13, 2003

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This Week
Santa Clara concludes the 2003 regular season with a three-game home series against Saint Mary's at Buck Shaw Stadium. Friday's series opener is scheduled for 6 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday's games are slated for 1 p.m. first pitches.

Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary's
Santa Clara took two of three meetings from Saint Mary's earlier this year in Moraga, Calif., winning by scores of 12-8 and 10-7 in games one and three, but dropping game two by a score of 7-2. The Broncos hold the all-time series advantage over the Gaels with their 126-76 record since 1930. Over the last six seasons Santa Clara holds a 15-11 advantage over Saint Mary's.

Scouting The Gaels
Saint Mary's enters the week with a 18-32-1 overall record and a 8-18-1 mark in West Coast Conference play. They will play midweek games this week with No. 3 Stanford on Tuesday and No. 2 Rice on Wednesday. Bryan Byrne begins the week as the team leader on offense with his .359 average, 14 doubles, five home runs, 41 runs scored and 41 RBI. He leads a team that is batting .284 while their opponents are hitting at a .324 clip leading to a 5.98 team ERA for the Gaels' pitching staff. Eric Bowden leads the SMC staff with his 7-6 record while his 5.49 ERA is the third lowest on the team. He has struck out 66 while walking only 19 this season in 95.0 innings on the mound.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
Santa Clara: Matt Travis, LHP (5-7, 4.39 ERA)
Saint Mary's: Eric Bowden, RHP (7-6, 5.49 ERA)

Saturday
Santa Clara: Kellan McConnell, RHP (3-4, 3.40 ERA)
Saint Mary's: Kevin Trochez, RHP (1-6, 7.08)

Sunday
Santa Clara: John Redmond, (5-5, 7.27 ERA)
Saint Mary's: Matt Yourkin, LHP (1-8, 6.12 ERA)

Santa Clara vs. Gonzaga- Series Recap
The Broncos dropped two of three games to the Bulldogs over the weekend, winning only the middle game of the series by an 8-1 score. Kellan McConnell picked up the win as he threw eight full innings and allowed only one run on five hits to go along with his five strikeouts. A.J. LaBarbera belted a three-run homerun, his third of the season, to cap off the Broncos' win. SCU suffered losses of 10-5 and 11-4 in the series opener and series finale. Each game saw Gonzaga score five runs in an inning to bust open the game. In Saturday's game they plated five runs in the ninth, while Monday's big inning for Gonzaga came in the fifth.

Head Coach Mark O'Brien
Santa Clara enters the 2003 season under the direction of second-year head coach Mark O'Brien. A graduate of San Jose State, O'Brien played under longtime Spartan coach Sam Piraro during his time on the SJSU campus. During his first season at the helm of the Bronco Baseball program, O'Brien led them to a 25-30 overall record and a 15-14 mark in the West Coast Conference. Included in his 25 wins during the 2002 season were victories over No. 1 Stanford and No. 13 Fresno State. He also guided the Broncos to series sweeps over Pepperdine and San Francisco. Under his tutelage senior Joey Gomes earned First Team All-America, All-West Region and All-WCC honors in 2002 after leading the nation in doubles. He also had two honorable mention All-WCC performers in Matt Travis and Jim Wallace. O'Brien picked up the 50th win of his career against his former team and then No. 7 Stanford, with the Broncos' 2-0 victory at Sunken Diamond on April 29. The win not only marked the historic 50th in his career but gave O'Brien the second win in his career over his former team. He guided the Broncos to a victory over then No. 1 Stanford on February 23, 2002. The win was only the second in the last 27 tries for the Broncos against Stanford and the first at Sunken Diamond for SCU since the 1995 season.

Senior Day
Santa Clara has nine players that will see their final game at Buck Shaw Stadium as members of the Santa Clara University baseball team this Sunday. The Broncos will honor Alex Anderson, Joe Diefenderfer, Scott Dierks, Jack Headley, Matt Krueger, A.J. LaBarbera, David Mandley, Matt Travis and Jim Wallace prior to the first pitch on Sunday. The festivites are slated to begin at 12:45 p.m.

The Long Ball
Santa Clara leads the West Coast Conference in home runs hit thus far in 2003, posting 52 big flies in 54 games. San Diego is the next closest team in the league with 42 home runs in 56 games. Left fielder Scott Dierks is only one home run away from tying the all-time single season mark at Santa Clara that was originally set by Gene Delyon in 1974 when he belted 19 home runs. Catcher Jim Wallace has connected on seven home runs this season, giving him 26 for his career on the Mission Campus which ranks his in eighth place all-time for career home runs at Santa Clara.

WCC Pitching Numbers are Impressive
Pitching coach Tom Myers and the SCU pitching staff are having a remarkable year in league play, posting a 18-9 record and a 3.83 team ERA. Joe Diefenderfer leads the way with his 5-0 record and 1.70 ERA, followed closely by Kellan McConnell who has a 3.03 ERA in nearly 40 innings of work.

Broncos Second in WCC Batting
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 6.2 runs per game. The Broncos are batting .311 as a team in league play with 34 home runs and 158 RBI in only 27 contests.

All-America Candidate - Scott Dierks
Senior Scott Dierks is having himself an incredible year from the leadoff spot in the batting order. Thus far in 2003 Dierks is batting .410 with 18 home runs, 39 RBI, 45 runs scored, 129 total bases, a slugging percentage of .827 and an on base percentage of .508. His batting average currently ranks as the third-highest single season mark in SCU history while his 18 home runs is also the second highest single season total in program history. Gene Delyon set the single-season home run mark in 1974 with his 19 home runs while Troy Buckley set the school and WCC single season batting mark with his .442 average in 1988.

One and Only
Freshman Jason Matteucci is the only Bronco this season who has started in all 54 contests that Santa Clara has played in this season. His .302 batting average ranks second on the team while his 68 hits leads the team. He has belted 11 doubles this season while scoring 29 runs and driving in 27. He has stolen nine bases in only 11 attempts and has drawn 17 walks in 2003.

Closing Time
Redshirt sophomore Anthony Rea and freshman Patrick Overholt have proven to be two of the most dominating pitchers on a solid Santa Clara pitching staff. The two have combined for 62 appearances on the year, throwing 84 innings on the mound. They have combined for five wins and 11 saves on the season to go along with their 3.10 ERA. Opponents are batting at a .247 clip and have struck out 72 times against the duo. Overholt has nine saves this season, the most ever for a freshman on the Mission Campus and second on the all-time single season list. He also already ranks him in a tie for fifth all-time in career saves with those nine this season. Rea has two saves this season which move his career total to seven, ranking him in a tie for eight on the all-time saves list at SCU.

Feasting on WCC Pitching
Freshman Michael Lange has turned his season around since WCC play has started. Prior to league play he was batting .155, but since league play he has watched his season average rise to .263. His is batting .341 in league play with three doubles, one home run, one triple and nine RBI.

WCC Divisional Updates
Pepperdine has clinched the WCC Coast Division while San Diego has staked its claim to the WCC West Division. The Waves will host the Lions in a best two out of three game series that will begin Friday afternoon, May 23 at 3 p.m. in Malibu. The winner of the series will get the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.