April 27, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Riding high on a three-game winning streak and a decisive win over Stanford Tuesday night, the Santa Clara University baseball team will aim to climb right back into the thick of the WCC playoff race as it hosts the first-place Saint Mary's Gaels this weekend at Stephen Schott Stadium.
Friday night's contest is scheduled for a 7 p.m. first pitch while Saturday and Sunday's games are set to get underway at 1 p.m. Tickets are available by calling (408) 554-4660 or by visiting the Leavey Center ticket office.
The Broncos (24-18, 5-7 WCC) head into this weekend's series tied for sixth in the conference but only two games off the pace for second place and a spot in the WCC Championship Series. Currently, Saint Mary's (23-16, 8-4 WCC) leads the pack but four teams are log-jammed at 7-5 in conference play.
Santa Clara has had recent success against conference-leading teams, having taken two of three on the road against then-WCC-leading Gonzaga three weeks ago. With the bats connecting on all cylinders and the bullpen corps coming off of a superior effort against Stanford in which Daniel DeMarco, Chris Stansbury and Jeff Lombard shutout the Cardinal offense allowing only one hit and one walk over the final seven innings, SCU brings the right amount of momentum into this weekend's series at home.
Eric Newton continues to lead the WCC with 12 home runs and is also among the conference leaders in runs scored (41), RBIs (41), slugging percentage (.595) and total bases (91). Matt Long (.358) and Daniel Nava (.351) are among the loop's best hitters while Kris Watts' .323 average, 13 doubles and seven homers make him one of SCU's dangerous all-around batting threats.
Saint Mary's, meanwhile, currently sits atop the conference standings after sweeping the Portland Pilots last weekend. The Gaels are riding a five-game winning streak and SMC's Sam Carter was named WCC/Rawlings Co-Player of the Week Monday after hitting .435 with three homers and nine RBIs in last week's contests. Carter (.378, 11 doubles, 10 home runs, 45 RBIs) and Preston Young (.301, 12 doubles, nine homers, 27 RBIs) provide the power for the Gaels while Corey Madden (6-1, 2.49 ERA) and Joel Fountain (7-3, 5.40 ERA) pace the staff.
Following this weekend's series the Broncos travel to San Diego for three games next Friday-Sunday, May 5-7 before returning home for its final homestand of the 2006 season to host the Stanford Cardinal Tuesday, May 9 and the Portland Pilots over the weekend of May 12-14.