May 15, 2006

Santa Clara Clashes With Stanford In Season Finale

May 15, 2006

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - One more day, one more chance comes Tuesday evening for the Santa Clara Broncos baseball team as they travel up to Stanford to take on the Cardinal in a 6 p.m. contest. The battle at Sunken Diamond Stadium will be the rubber game in the season series between the Broncos and Cardinal, as each team has taken an extra-inning contest so far this season.

On April 25, Santa Clara (28-25, 9-12 WCC) and Stanford (27-21, 10-11 Pac-10) were knotted at 1-1 after nine innings at Sunken Diamond until SCU's Brady Fuerst connected for a two-run double in the 10th to put the Broncos ahead. RBI singles by Daniel Nava and Dustin Realini helped break the game wide open as SCU posted five runs in the inning on its way to the 6-1 victory.

Two weeks later, on May 9, the Cardinal returned the favor again in extra frames. Tied 2-2 this time after nine innings, both teams continued battling on into the night at Stephen Schott Stadium until the 12th, when Grant Escue's two-run double put Stanford up 4-2.

But Eric Newton's bloop double tied things up in the bottom of the inning, and the teams played on. In the 15th inning, Cord Phelps singled in a run for the Cardinal and Chris Lewis doubled in a couple more on the way to a four-run inning and 8-4 lead, which held up for the victory.

Heading into Tuesday's season finale, Nava leads the WCC with a .393 batting average and .492 on-base percentage. Fellow senior Eric Newton leads the conference with 14 home runs while catcher Kris Watts stands third among the league leaders in runs batted in (52), total bases (113), and fifth in home runs (9) and doubles (17).

Redshirt freshman pitcher Matt Wickswat is also among the nation's top hurlers, holding a 9-2 record and 3.54 earned-run average heading into Tuesday. Closer Mark Willinsky, another freshman, shares the conference lead with nine saves while relievers Daniel DeMarco and Jeff Lombard lead the loop in mound appearances with 28 with Willinsky one behind at 27.

Stanford, which enters Tuesday's contest on a six-game winning streak following a three-game sweep of Washington last weekend, is led offensively by Chris Minaker (.351, 15 doubles, nine homers, 54 RBIs) and Randy Molina (.327, 32 hits, five doubles). On the hill, Greg Reynolds paces the Cardinal staff with a 6-3 mark and 3.17 ERA.

With a victory over the Cardinal, the Broncos will have taken the season series against their neighbors to the north for the second consecutive season.