April 7, 2011

Santa Clara Opens Up WCC Play At Home Against LMU

by Brandon Rebboah

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SANTA CLARA, Calif.- After a hard-fought series with Cal State Bakersfield, including a 13-inning win, Santa Clara (12-13) aims to get off to good start in West Coast Conference play as it continues its 18-game homestand against Loyola Marymount. Coming into the weekend, LMU sits in second place in the WCC overall standings with a record of 16-11, and are coming off of a loss to USC on Apr. 5 (10-3).

The three-game set is scheduled for this weekend with the series-opener Fri., Apr. 8, with the second game Sat., Apr. 9 and the series-finale Sun., Apr. 10. Fans should keep an eye on SantaClaraBroncos.com, @SCUBroncos on Twitter or the athletics Facebook fan page for in-game updates.

Game Notes Week # 8 Apr. 8- Apr. 9, 2011
Loyola Marymount (16-11) @ Santa Clara (12-13)
Fri., Apr. 8, 2011 6 p.m. Stephen Schott Stadium
RHP Cory Hall (3-3; 3.59 ERA) vs. LHP Jason Wheeler (3-1; 3.70 ERA)
Sat., Apr. 8, 2011 1 p.m. Stephen Schott Stadium
LHP Powell Fansler (3-0; 2.78 ERA) vs. RHP Alex Gillingham (4-2; 2.62 ERA)
Sun., Apr. 9, 2011 1 p.m. Stephen Schott Stadium
TBD vs. TBD

Santa Clara Pitching
Santa Clara senior RHP Cory Hall continues to perform well for the Broncos after taking over the Friday night starting role. In his last outing, Hall pitched a nine-inning no decision in which he allowed just two runs. Through seven appearences, Hall leads the team in innings pitched (47.2) and strikeouts (39). He tallied a season-high 11 strikeouts in his Mar. 26 complete game against Brown. Senior closer RHP J.R. Graham (1.59 ERA) continues to impress with strong outings, including a four-inning stint in a 13-inning win against Bakersfield. From Mar. 1 to Apr. 3 Graham posted a 0.60 ERA. Look for RHP Brock Simon to get some work this weekend and improve on his 6.58 ERA and record of 2-3. LHP Powell Fansler (3-0; 2.78 ERA) continues to have a strong rookie season, and has moved into the weekend rotation. Fansler has started three games, including a victory over Brown in which he had a no-hitter through 5.2 innings.

Santa Clara Offense
Senior C/DH Patrick Terry continues to post solid numbers for the Broncos, hitting .333 on the year. Terry leads the team in slugging percentage (.429) and has 15 RBI on the season. Freshman 3B Kyle DeMerritt has been impressive offensively, he leads the team in batting average (.337), runs (23), hits (29) and RBI (19). DeMerritt takes advantage of his opportunities, hitting .500 with runners in scoring position. All-WCC preseason selection, senior 1B Curtis Wagner leads the team in doubles (7) and is tied for first in total bases (39). Sophomore OF Matt Ozanne is second on the team with 18 RBI.  His twin brother, 3B/DH Drew Ozanne saw a spike of productivity this weekend, knocking in 6 RBI including a game-winning single in the 13-inning victory over Bakersfield on Apr. 1.

LMU
Entering the weekend LMU sits in second in the WCC overall standings with a record of 16-11, and is coming off a midweek loss to USC.  C Matt Koch and OF/IF Matt Lowenstein lead the Lions offensively. Koch is hitting for a .320 avearage, while leading the team in doubles (14), homeruns (3) and RBI (22). Lowenstein has the highest batting average on the squad (.369) and boasts a team-high .446 on-base percentage. On the mound, Saturday starter RHP Alex Gillingham has the lowest ERA of all the team's starters (2.62). Gillingham and RHP Aaron Griffin have both won four games this season.

Quotable

--- "Well from the pitching side, we need to set the tone early," said RHP Cory Hall. "We need to go out there and compete. I feel like if we go pitch by pitch we will be fine [going into WCC play]. I think I've been pitching through some adversity, but I've just been trying to keep the ball down and attack hitters."

--- "We haven't lost anything yet," said RHP J.R. Graham. " I want to keep doing what I'm doing. I like where we are at. Conference is a grind. [Our goal] is to win conference, if you don't want that then I don't know why we'd be here."

--- "We now have to start preparing for our new season," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "It's really simple, it's a 21-game world series. I like where we are at headed into this. If we play good baseball we'll have a chance to compete."