March 2, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - From the volleyball and basketball courts to the swimming pool, from the beaten running paths to the soccer pitch the Rivalry Series has raged between South Bay rivals Santa Clara and San Jose State. Friday, the rivalry makes its way to the baseball diamond as the Broncos and Spartans open up a weekend series at Stephen Schott Stadium.
Friday and Sunday's contests will take place at Stephen Schott Stadium, with Friday's game set to begin at 6 p.m. and Sunday's at 1 p.m. Saturday's clash at San Jose Municipal Stadium is set for 1 p.m. Tickets for Friday and Sunday are available by calling (408) 554-4660 or by visiting the Leavey Center ticket office.
The Broncos (7-6) are coming off of a solid weekend which saw them take two of three from the nation's No. 22 team in the Cal Poly Mustangs. Combined with an 11-9 win last Tuesday over the Sacramento State Hornets, Santa Clara has won six of its last nine heading into this weekend's series.
SCU's stable of young arms was instrumental in the series win over Cal Poly. In front of a hostile crowd, closer Mark Willinsky faced down the powerful Mustang bats in earning a pair of saves. In Saturday's 7-5 victory, the young flamethrower found himself in a bases-loaded jam with two of Cal Poly's big bats coming up, but buckled down and rung up the first batter before getting the final out with a 1-2 curveball.
On the offensive side, Gabriel Alcantar made an immediate impact in his first extended action for the Broncos. Posting at least two hits in each of the four contests, the sophomore first baseman batted a whopping .600 (9-for-15) for the week with a double, three RBIs, six runs scored and four walks. Kris Watts and Kyle Hartz continued to swing well, with Watts upping his doubles total to a team-leading eight while Hartz continues to pace the Broncos in hits with 16.
Starters Sean O'Neill (0-1, 3.52 ERA), Justin Kuehn (1-2, 4.39 ERA) and Matt Wickswat (2-0, 2.76 ERA) will take the mound for the Broncos this weekend, hoping to continue the strong SCU pitching performance of the first month of the season.
San Jose State (8-6), coming off of a week which saw them drop three of four to a pair of West Coast Conference teams in Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount, is led offensively by David Pierson (.311, double, five RBIs) and on the hill staff ace Branden Dewing boasts a 3-1 mark to go along with a 1.27 ERA.
The Rivalry Series is an annual competition between Santa Clara and San Jose State, with points given to each school based on their head-to-head performances in the 13 sports that the schools face off in. Santa Clara currently leads the competition by a tally of 17-2.