May 18, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team swept Saint Mary's by a score of 8-3 Sunday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium, concluding the season for both squads. The Broncos finish the year having won 19 of their last 26 games and a 31-26 overall record. Their West Coast Conference mark of 21-9 was the second best record in the league, finishing three games ahead of WCC West Division Champion, San Diego. The Gaels fall to 18-37-1 overall with the loss, while their WCC record drops to 8-21-1.
Joe Diefenderfer picked up the win for the Broncos on Senior Day as the left handed senior tossed five full innings in which he allowed only three hits to go along with three strikeouts. His record improved to 8-3 on the year while his ERA fell down to 3.40 for the season. In conference play alone he finished the year with a 6-0 record and a minuscule 1.54 ERA.
Jack Headley was the offensive star of the day for the Broncos as he ended his Santa Clara career by going 3-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored. Fellow senior David Mandley connected on his first home run of the season as he was the second half of the back-to-back home runs in the two-run seventh inning. Mandley went deep to left field, following Will Thompson who led off the inning with a line shot over the right field fence, giving him 11 home runs on the year.
Seniors A.J. LaBarbera, Jim Wallace and Scott Dierks also added to the SCU offense in their final game as LaBarbera belted a two-run single in the fifth, scoring Wallace who reached earlier in the inning on a single. Dierks picked up his 42nd RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly in the second inning that put the Broncos up by a 1-0 score.
Anthony Rea came in for 1 1/3 innings of effective relief, filling in for John Redmond who allowed three runs on two hits in just 2/3 of an inning to go along with two walks and two strikeouts. Patrick Overholt closed out the game for the Broncos, throwing the final two innings and recording two strikeouts in the process despite it not being a save opportunity.
Tim Spooner, James Gaulke and Jeff Cunningham each had two hits in the game for Saint Mary's, accounting for all but one of the Gaels' hits in the game. Adam Thompson notched the other SMC hit as Cunningham posted two RBI with a single to center in the sixth inning with Gaulke picking up the other as he drove in Cunningham with a triple to center field just one batter later.
Matt Yourkin falls to 1-9 on the season as he allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings on the mound. Gabe Palma allowed four runs, two of which were earned, on four hits with a walk in two innings of relief. Tom Carroll and Dane Dobrinich combined to throw the scoreless eighth inning for the Gaels.
The win was not only a great way to end the season for the Broncos, but it brought the overall record under the new coaching regime back to .500 after their first two seasons. Mark O'Brien now has a 56-56 career record at Santa Clara after guiding the Broncos to a 25-30 record in his first season. His mark in the WCC is even more impressive after two seasons as the second-year skipper now has a career league record of 36-23.