February 8, 2005

Baseball Travels to San Diego State for First Road Series

Feb. 8, 2005

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -

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This Weekend
The Santa Clara baseball team will hit the road for the first time this season as it travels to San Diego for a three-game series with San Diego State. The series begins on Friday at 6 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium and will continue on Saturday as first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. On Sunday, the three-game set will conclude with a 1 p.m. contest. Each of these contests can be followed on Gametracker on www.santaclarabroncos.com.

The Aztecs are the two-time defending Mountain West Conference champions as head coach Tony Gwynn has led SDSU to the title in each of his first two seasons in San Diego. He has posted a 64-61 overall record at the helm of the Aztecs and a 37-21 mark in conference action. Last season, the Aztecs and Broncos played a three-game set at Buck Shaw Stadium with SCU taking two of three games.

Game #7 • Fri., Feb. 11 • Tony Gwynn Stadium - San Diego, Calif. • 6 p.m.
Game #8 • Sat., Feb. 12 • Tony Gwynn Stadium - San Diego, Calif. • 1 p.m.
Game #9 • Sun., Feb. 13 • Tony Gwynn Stadium San Diego, Calif. • 1 p.m.

Probable Pitching Matchups
2/11 - Santa Clara - RHP Kellan McConnell - Sr. (0-0, 5.40 ERA)
San Diego St. - RHP Bruce Billings - Jr. (0-0, 1.29 ERA)
2/12 - Santa Clara - RHP Patrick Overholt - So. (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
San Diego St. - RHP Brett Douglas - Jr. (0-1, 18.00 ERA)
2/13 - Santa Clara - RHP Mike Stutes - Fr. (1-1, 4.22 ERA)
San Diego St. - RHP Andres Esquibel - Sr. (0-1, 3.00 ERA)

The Series
Series Began: 1957
Series Record: Santa Clara leads 8-4-0
Last Meeting: San Diego State def. Santa Clara, 4-0, in Santa Clara (2/15/04)

Thompson Named WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week
Junior third baseman Michael Thompson was named the first recipient of the West Coast Conference/Rawlings Player of the Week award for 2005 on Monday after leading the Santa Clara baseball team to a three-game sweep of Utah last weekend. It is the first such honor of Thompson's career after he was named to the All-WCC Second Team last season.

The Villa Park, Calif. native paced the Broncos in six different offensive categories over the weekend. He hit .538 (7-for-13) over the three-game set and led SCU with four RBI and 10 total bases. On Friday, Thompson posted a season-best three hits, including two doubles. In Saturday's contest, he paced the Broncos with three runs driven in as he went 2-for-4 at the plate. In the series finale, Thompson posted his third straight multiple hit game, going 2-for-4.

Thompson becomes the first Bronco to win a weekly award from the WCC since Robert Perry was named player of the week on May 17, 2004. Gonzaga's Josh Monroe was named the conference's Pitcher of the Week after posting a win over Oregon State last weekend.

Instant Relief
The Bronco relief core has been solid early in the 2005 season. With an ERA of 2.30, the SCU bullpen has allowed only seven earned runs in 27.1 innings of action this season. Chris Stansbury, Adam Sanabria and Scott Lonergan have combined to throw 11.2 innings and allow only four runs, none of which were earned. Stansbury, Anthony Rea and Donald Brandt have earned three of the Bronco's four wins this season with strong work late in games, while the opponent's relievers have suffered three losses and have posted an ERA of 6.97. Stansbury has been the middle relief ace to this point of the season with six innings of work under his belt. The redshirt freshman has allowed two runs, neither of which were earns, on four hits and posted five strikeouts. Lonergan paces the team with an opposing batting average of .083, while Sanabria has not walked a batter in three appearances. While Rea and Stansbury lead the relief core with five strikeouts, Thomas Van Buskirk has tallied the team's only save. These relievers, combined with left-hander Dylan Hickey, make the Broncos dangerous no matter who is on the mound.

Adding Watt-age
Junior transfer Kris Watts made his presence known in the Bronco lineup immediately. In his first start behind the plate in the Bronco's season opener against UC Riverside, Watts went 3-for-5 with a team-high three runs scored and an RBI. The Fremont, Calif. native wasn't done there as he returned in the second game of the doubleheader to post another multiple hit performance. Watts was the only Bronco to record two hits in the game as he was 2-for-3 with another RBI and run scored. He also added his first extra-base hit with double. Watts returned to add another multiple hit performance in the Utah series, as he went 2-for-4 on Friday.

Start It Up
After leading the Broncos with a .361 batting average a year ago, senior outfielder Ryan Chiarelli has started right where he left off. Once again in the leadoff spot for Santa Clara, Chiarelli has already posted two multiple hit contests and driven in five runs in only six games. In the season opener, he would score the winning run in the 14-9 come-from-behind win. He was 2-for-5 in the contest with three runs driven in. In Sunday's finale against UC Riverside, Chiarelli paced the team with two hits and scored a run.

New Faces in the Dugout
In the offseason, the Santa Clara baseball coaching staff underwent some changes as former Director of Baseball Operations Mike Zirelli became a full-time assistant coach and Matt Mueller joined the staff. Zirelli, who was a volunteer assistant coach with the Broncos prior to becoming the Director of Baseball Operations, oversees the Bronco pitchers. Mueller, a Cupertino, Calif. native, tutors the Bronco catchers and serves as the team's first base coach.

New Faces on the Mound
Five different pitchers made their Bronco debut in the opening series against UC Riverside, while freshman Mike Stutes recorded his first collegiate start. Dylan Hickey, who transferred from the University of Dayton and freshman Donald Brandt each appeared in the season opening contest. Brandt, a Santa Clara native, earned the win in the game as the Broncos scored nine runs in the eighth inning. In the second game, redshirt freshman Chris Stansbury and senior Adam Sanabria took the mound for the first time in their Santa Clara careers. Sanabria came to the Mission Campus from the University of Florida. In Sunday's series finale, Stutes got the start as he threw 4.2 innings and struck out four batters.

Up Next
After traveling to San Diego this weekend, the Broncos will return to Santa Clara to start a seven-game homestand. Up first for SCU will be Sacramento State in a Tuesday meeting before the Broncos host Washington over the weekend. During the next five weeks, Santa Clara will play 14 home games, including the WCC opening series against Pepperdine.

2006 Recruiting Class Noted Among the Nation's Best
With a strong group of eight incoming players, the Santa Clara baseball team's fall recruiting class was listed as one of the nation's best by teamonebaseball.com. The class consists of five Californians, including three Saint Francis High School students, along with natives of Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Washington. Mark Willinsky of Las Vegas, Nev., Justin Kuehn of Laguna Nigel, Calif., Sean O'Neill of Tucson, Ariz., Jared Lansford of Santa Clara, Brady Fuerst of Atherton, Calif., Matt Long of Los Altos, Calif., John Irby of San Jose, Calif., and Jeff Lombard of Woodinville, Wash. round out the SCU baseball recruiting class for 2006.

Rea Earns Preseason Honors
After setting a Santa Clara record with 13 saves last season, senior right-handed pitcher Anthony Rea picked up numerous honors heading into the 2005 season. The National College Baseball Writers Association named Rea to its preseason All-America Second Team, while Collegiate Baseball named him to its third team. These awards follow 2004 second team All-America honors from the NCBWA. The Palo Alto native was also named to the Brooks Wallace Award Preseason Watch List. The award, which was given to Cal State Fullerton's Kurt Suzuki in its inaugural season a year ago, is awarded to the nation's top collegiate player by the College Baseball Foundation.

SCU Baseball Picked to Finish Fourth in WCC Preseason Poll
The Santa Clara baseball team was selected to finished fourth in the West Coast Conference in the 2005 WCC preseason poll, as selected by the conference coaches. The Broncos were picked to finished behind Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine and San Diego. Santa Clara claimed the fourth position in the poll with 32 total points. Tabbed to finish second in the WCC's West Division this season behind Pepperdine, the Broncos will return seven players who hit over .300 in 2004. Gonzaga, San Francisco, Saint Mary's and Portland rounded out the remainder of the preseason poll.

Crosta, Perry, Rea Recognized by Baseball America
Three Broncos were recognized by Baseball America in its preseason conference breakdowns in early January. Senior outfielder Nic Crosta was the publication's pick to be named West Coast Conference Player of the Year at the conclusion of the season. The Seattle, Wash. native was also selected as the WCC's player with the best raw power, the outfielder with the best arm and the best athlete among the eight teams. Senior right-handed pitcher Anthony Rea was tabbed to have the conference's best breaking ball, while sophomore outfielder Robert Perry had the best strike-zone discipline.