2003 Baseball Season Wrap-Up

June 2, 2003

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30-Win Plateau
Santa Clara reached the 30-win plateau in 2003 for the first time since the 1997 season. The Broncos have posted 30-win seasons only 20 previous times in their 119-year history prior to the 2003 season. Mark O'Brien becomes only the third coach in SCU history to attain the milestone victories in one of his first two seasons. Jerry McClain went 36-26-1 in his second year on the Mission Campus in 1982 while legendary coach John Oldham went 33-25 during his first year in 1985.

Scott Dierks belted 18 home runs in 2003.


Scott Dierks Named WCC Co-Player of the Year
The Santa Clara University baseball program picked up its ninth West Coast Conference player of the year honor on Friday when Scott Dierks earned Co-Player of the Year alongside Kevin Estrada of Pepperdine. He becomes the first SCU player since Mike Frank in 1997 to receive player of the year accolades. In his final year on the Mission Campus, Dierks put together one of the most memorable single-season performances in school history, batting .394 with 18 home runs, 14 doubles, 45 runs scored, 42 RBI, a slugging percentage of .794 and an on base percentage of .485. In the 30 league games alone he captured the league's Triple Crown, batting .425 with 14 home runs and 32 RBI, all of which came as the team's leadoff hitter.

Two Broncos Earn Unanimous Selections to All-WCC First Team
SCU Baseball had two of the four unanimous choices for all-conference honors in 2003 in Scott Dierks and Joe Diefenderfer. Dierks' accolades were made clear in his Player of the Year selection, but Diefenderfer was also an easy choice after posting the numbers he did in 2003. He earns his first all-league selection after finishing his final year with an 8-3 record and a 3.40 ERA. He limited his opponents to a .269 average while striking out 69 and walking only 12. His record in league play was even more amazing, going 6-0 with a 1.54 ERA, striking out 38 and walking only seven in seven starts.

A.J. LaBarbera earned second team All-WCC honors in 2003


Three SCU Players Earn All-WCC Second Team Honors
Joining Diefenderfer and Dierks on the All-WCC teams were Seniors Jack Headley and A.J. LaBarbera, along with freshman Patrick Overholt, as each were named to the second team. Headley concluded his stellar Santa Clara career with the third all-league selection in the last four years. He earned first team honors as a sophomore while his second team selection in 2000 was paired that included Freshman of the Year honors in 2000. As a senior he batted .335 with a team-high 17 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 39 runs scored, 30 RBI and 19 stolen bases. In WCC only games he batted .371 with 11 doubles, three home runs and 17 RBI. LaBarbera, who signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants just a few days following the completiong of the season, earns his first All-WCC honor after batting .300 with nine doubles, two triples, four home runs and 30 RBI. He scored 37 times and made only six errors all season long at second base, but it was his 28 walks with only 23 strikeouts that proved him to be a very patient and potent offensive threat. In league games alone he batted .317 and made only three errors in 30 contests. Overholt became the all-time single season saves leader at Santa Clara, posting 10 during his rookie season in college ball, and tying Mike McDonald who registered 10 saves in both the 1996 and 1997 seasons for the Broncos. The freshman from Sandy, Utah, also posted a 4-4 record and a 3.00 ERA, striking out 47 batters in only 48 innings of work whlie limiting his opponents to a .228 batting average

Jim Wallace ended his career at SCU with 26 home runs.


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. Under his tutelage, walk-on Scott Dierks became the WCC Co-Player of the Year in 2003.

The Long Ball
Santa Clara led the West Coast Conference in 2003, posting 57 big flies in 57 games. San Diego was the next closest team in the league with 48 home runs in 61 games. Left fielder Scott Dierks finished the year 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 in 2003, 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.

Joe Diefenderfer was a first team All-WCC selection in 2003.


WCC Pitching Numbers Show Remarkable Turnaround
Pitching coach Tom Myers and the SCU pitching staff had a remarkable year in league play, posting a 21-9 record and a 3.88 team ERA. Joe Diefenderfer led the way with his 6-0 record and 1.54 ERA, followed closely by Kellan McConnell who has a 2.82 ERA in nearly 45 innings of work. In 2002 the team posted a 15-14 record and a 5.25 team ERA. The 2003 staff allowed 34 fewer runs in 11 more innings of work.

Broncos Finish Second in WCC for Team Batting Average
Hitting Coach Mike Oakland had the Broncos on quite an offensive tear during the last half of the season. Santa Clara finished fifth in overall team batting average in the league this year with their .290 mark, but in conference only play the Broncos batted .313 which was second in the league. The potent offense produced 50 more runs than their opponents on 43 more hits, eight more doubles, three more triples and 23 more home runs in the 30 league games.

One and Only
Freshman Jason Matteucci was the only Bronco this season who started in all 57 contests that Santa Clara played in 2003. His .311 batting average ranked fourth on the team while his 74 hits led the team. He has belted 12 doubles this season while scoring 30 runs and driving in 30. He stole 10 bases in only 12 attempts and has drew 18 walks in 2003. He also led the team with 25 multi-hit games during his rookie season, posting 20 games with two hits, four games with three hits and one four hit game. He was third on the team with nine multi-RBI games, driving in two runs on seven occasions and driving in three in two games.

Anthony Rea was selected to the WCC All-Academic team in 2003.


Anthony Rea Earns WCC All-Academic Team Honors
The Santa Clara University Department of Athletics and Recreation had five student-athletes earn Spring All-Academic honors from the West Coast Conference on Wednesday. The Broncos had five athletes represented on the six spring teams that were selected by the league office from many well-credentialed nominees. Anthony Rea earned the honor for the first time in his career as he posted a 3.39 overall GPA. During the 2003 season on the mound for Rea, he appeared in 37 contests and posted a 1-1 record with two saves and a 3.05 ERA in 41 1/3 innings of work. He struck out 31 and walked only 14 while limiting opponents to a .274 batting averages. His 37 appearances, all in relief, not only led the team but was the top mark in the WCC.

End of Season Honors Handed Out at Team Banquet
The Santa Clara University baseball team honored several deserving players while celebrating its successful 2003 season that saw the Broncos post the program's first winning campaign since 1997. Scott Dierks, who was named the West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Year, was honored with two awards Wednesday night, earning team MVP honors and being selected as the Most Valuable Hitter. Fellow senior Joe Diefenderfer was honored as the team's Most Valuable Pitcher. The southpaw posted an 8-3 record and a 3.40 ERA in 17 appearances on the mound, 10 of which were as the starter. He struck out 69 and walked only 12 in 87 1/3 innings of work. Jack Headley was selected as the team's Defensive Player of the Year for the second season in a row. He made only two errors on the season but it was his ability to track down fly balls in the right center and left center field gaps that earned him the honor in 2003. Freshmen Jason Matteucci and Patrick Overholt had outstanding rookie campaigns in 2003, earning them Rookie of the Year and Reliever of the Year honors, respectively. Matteucci batted .311 on the season while leading the team with 74 hits in 238 at-bats. Overholt posted a 4-4 record with 10 saves and a 3.00 ERA in 29 appearances this year. His 10 saves ranked him 24th in the country and tied the all-time single season mark in Bronco Baseball history. Fellow freshmen Michael Lange and David Hoffmire were both selected as recipients of the Most Improved Player award. Lange entered WCC play with a batting average that was hovering around .150, but after batting .316 in league action he finished the year with a very respectable .250 average. Hoffmire appeared in 31 games during his freshman campaign but came up big in his nine starts. Seven of his nine hits in 2003 came during those nine starts, including three hits and three runs scored in team's final four games. Redshirt sophomores Kellan McConnell and Anthony Rea were both honored as the team's comeback players of the year. Both pitchers returned in 2003 after sitting out the 2002 seasons because of arm surgeries.

Patrick Overholt tied a single-season school record in 2003 with 10 saves.


McConnell returned to the bump following Tommy John Surgery last spring and promptly posted a 4-4 record with a 3.18 ERA. Rea returned this season following shoulder surgery in 2002. He posted a 1-1 record with a 3.05 ERA while leading the team with his 37 appearances. The final awards handed out on Wednesday night were the Coaches' Awards. Unlike the other awards, which were voted on by the players, these three awards were selected by the coaching staff for various reasons. Senior catches Jim Wallace and David Mandley each earned Coaches' Awards on the evening for their hard work and dedication to the program over the years. Wallace who came on strong at the end of the 2003 season recovered from a broken wrist and broken ankle suffered just prior to the school year and was forced to miss most of the team's fall practices this year. Mandley proved to be a valuable member of the team in both pinch-hitting and other various roles. In his final game as a Bronco, he connected on a home run that helped SCU to an 8-3 victory over Saint Mary's. The final Coaches' Award went to freshman Scott Lonergan who was sidelined during the 2003 season following arm surgery that repaired a blood clot in his right arm. Lonergan was credited for being a positive and upbeat leader despite having no chance to physically contribute to the team in 2003.