Jan. 25, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Although it may not necessarily be baseball weather in the last weekend of January, the Santa Clara University baseball team has no complaints as the team heads off to tropical Honolulu this weekend to begin the 2007 season. The Broncos open things up with a three-game series against 2006 NCAA Tournament participants the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.
Friday's opener is scheduled to get underway at 9:35 p.m. Pacific, with Saturday and Sunday's contests set for a 4:05 p.m. PT first pitch.
The Broncos (0-0) open up the new season with plenty of optimism and confidence. Boasting one of the best young pitching staffs in the West Coast Conference, if not the nation, and with a solid leadership corps of upperclassmen in the lineup, SCU is primed and ready to build off of last season's 28-26 mark.
2006 Freshman All-Americans Matt Long and Matt Wickswat headline a potent sophomore class, which also includes starting pitchers Justin Kuehn, Sean O'Neill, relievers Daniel DeMarco and Mark Willinsky, and shortstop Brady Fuerst, a WCC All-Freshman team selection last season.
Seniors Carl Bacon and Kevin Drever return to provide steady presences behind the plate and in the middle infield, respectively, while the top-rated freshman class in the WCC, according to Collegiate Baseball News, is eager to step up and prove its worth on the diamond.
Hawaii (0-0), representing the Western Athletic Conference, comes into the 2007 season fresh off of a successful campaign in 2006 which saw the team post a 45-17 mark and make the NCAA Tournament. The Rainbow Warriors advanced to the final game of their four-team regional, falling 12-3 to eventual national champion Oregon State.
The 'Bows, led by six preseason All-WAC players, including LHP Ian Harrington (9-3, 3.99 ERA in '06) and third baseman/designated hitter Justin Frash (.359, three home runs, 56 RBIs in '06) have been pegged, along with Fresno State, as the favorites to win the WAC in 2007.
Following this weekend's action, the Broncos will open the home season at Stephen Schott Stadium against the Utah Utes, beginning with Friday night's Home Opener at 6 p.m.