April 24, 2006

Santa Clara Battles Stanford Tuesday

April 24, 2006

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - On the heels of an important series victory this weekend against Loyola Marymount, the Santa Clara University baseball team will look to continue their momentum Tuesday evening in a non-conference battle with the Stanford Cardinal. The contest is set for a 6 p.m. start at Sunken Diamond Stadium on the Stanford campus.

Following Tuesday's contest SCU will return to Stephen Schott Stadium for the weekend as they host the Saint Mary's Gaels in WCC action. Friday's series opener is set for a 7 p.m. start while first pitch for Saturday and Sunday's contests is set for 1 p.m.

The Broncos (23-18, 5-7 WCC) have won three of their past four games and are currently only two games out of a berth in the West Coast Conference Championship Series with nine WCC games remaining. This past week SCU took a 16-3 romp over San Francisco State which featured home runs from Eric Newton, Kris Watts and Donald Brandt. Newton drove in seven runs while Brandt drove in three and also struck out three in earning his third win of the season.

After dropping a 10-3 decision in the series opener at LMU on Friday, Santa Clara bounced back with an 11-8 win to even the series before freshman ace Matt Wickswat silenced the Lion bats Sunday in getting his seventh win as the Bronco took the series with the 4-3 triumph. Matt Long had four hits in Saturday's win while Watts hit his seventh homer of the season. Newton also hit his conference-leading 12th home run in Friday's game.

Tuesday's contest will be the first meeting between Santa Clara and Stanford in 2006. The Broncos have already claimed victories over local Bay Area rivals California and San Jose State, and will be looking to complete the cycle with a win over the Cardinal. Stanford leads the all-time series 174-155-7, but last season Santa Clara took two of the three meetings against their then-nationally-ranked neighbors to the north, highlighted by a 12-inning, 6-5 win on Eric Newton's game-winning, two-out RBI single at Schott Stadium.

Stanford (17-17, 3-9 Pac-10) is coming off of a week in which they dropped three of five contests in falling to .500 for the season. The weekend was not friendly to the Cardinal as after taking the first game of a weekend series against the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson, Stanford dropped the last two to fall to 3-9 in conference play. The Cardinal are led offensively by Chris Minaker (.333, 10 doubles, five homers, 37 RBIs) and Michael Taylor (.306, 10 doubles, 20 RBIs) while on the hill, Greg Reynolds (3-3, 4.00 ERA) and Matt Leva (2-0, 4.32 ERA) pace the starters and Jeremy Bleich (2-3, 3.23 ERA, seven saves) brings the heat out of the bullpen.