Bronco Baseball Takes A Break From WCC Play; Will Take On Fresno State and CSU Bakersfield

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Taking a break from West Coast Conference play, Santa Clara baseball will host Fresno State on Tue., April 3 at 1 p.m. before traveling to Cal State Bakersfield for a three-game weekend series. The Broncos and Roadrunners will play Fri., April 6 at 6 p.m. and a doubleheader on April 7 with the first game starting at 12 p.m.

Santa Clara is 16-9 overall with a 1-5 mark in the WCC. Last week the Broncos swept a doubleheader vs. Brown before dropping two of three to Portland in their second conference series last weekend.

Fresno State is 14-13 with only five games being played on the road thus far. The Bulldogs have a 2-3 mark away from their home field and are yet to open conference play in the WAC.

Bakersfield has been two different teams in 2012. At home it is 10-5 while on the road its record is 1-10. Overall the Roadrunners sit at 11-15 and have yet to open conference play.

Fans should keep an eye on SantaClaraBroncos.com, @SCUBroncos and @SCU_Baseball on twitter or the athletics Facebook fan page for in game updates.

BRONCO PITCHING
Junior RHP Tommy Nance (3-1; 3.09) has lived up to the title of Friday night starter for the Broncos in 2012. He has made six starts while also appearing in relief once. Nance leads the team with 46.2 innings pitched and 27 strikeouts. He has walked 15 while allowing a .240 batting average against. He is second on the team in wins, behind WCC Pitcher of the Month for February LHP Powell Fansler

Fansler has been stellar as Santa Clara's mid-week starter. He has a team-high five wins and an ERA of 2.77. In nine appearances, including five starts, he has tossed 39.0 innings while striking out 18 and walking just six. Fansler was named WCC Pitcher of the Month for February when he picked up four wins while making two starts and appearing twice in relief.

RHP Mike Couch (1-3; 4.46) threw his first complete game and first career shutout vs. San Jose State on Mar. 4. He allowed six hits and one walk while striking out seven. Converting from a bullpen role in 2011, Couch has made six starts and thrown 36.1 innings. His 27 strikeouts lead the team and he has only allowed 11 walks.

RHP Paul Twining (3-2; 3.00) has been one of the top bullpen arms thus far for Coach O'Brien. Twining has made 15 appearances, including one start, to lead the team and has struck out 21 batters in 21.0 innings. He also leads the team with six saves. He pitched the ninth inning in each of the four Santa Clara games in the third annual Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament from Mar. 8-11, picking up three saves.

The other stellar bullpen arm has been LHP Max Deering (2-1; 1.46). Deering has appeared in 13 games spanning 24.2 innings. He has surrendered 24 hits and struck out 13 while only walking five. Deering is second on the team with two saves.

BRONCO OFFENSE
Offensively, OF Lucas Herbst and OF Pat Stover have paced the Broncos thus far in 2012. Herbst is first on the team with .402 batting average (33-82). He has scored a team-high 20 runs and added 14 RBI while hitting six doubles and four triples. With six walks and four HBP, his on-base percentage stands at a terrific .457 which has helped him steal four bases. Stover is third on the Broncos with a .302 (29-96) batting average. Stover leads the team 20 RBI and has also scored 18 runs. He has six doubles and three home runs, both tied for first on the team. His seven steals in seven attempts leads the team. 

Others doing well include 1B Andrew Biancardi who has three home runs and four doubles while adding 18 RBI and scoring 14 runs. C Peter Summerville has started to pick up more at-bats and is making the most of his opportunity. In 19 games, including 15 starts, Summerville is second on the team with a .321 batting average (18-56). He already has four multi-hit games including a 3-3 performance at San Jose State on Mar. 3. 2B Evan Peters hit a big triple against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 26 to help Santa Clara come back from five runs down late in the game.

SCOUTING FRESNO STATE
Fresno State is 14-13 with only five games being played on the road thus far. The Bulldogs have a 2-3 mark away from their home field and are yet to open conference play in the WAC. 

C Trent Garrison and OF Daniel Moultrie are the top two Bulldog hitters. Garrison leads the team with a .311 average (23-74) in 23 games, including 15 starts. He has three doubles to go along with eight RBI and eight runs scored. Moultrie is hitting an even .300 (18-60) with three doubles and a triple. He has scored six runs and added two RBI.

OF Aaron Judge is hit .294 but leads the team with a .425 on-base percentage thanks to his 18 walks. Judge also has two home runs with 11 RBI and a team-best 20 runs scored. IF Patrick Hutcheson leads Fresno State with 19 walks to give him a .412 OBP to go along with a .277 average. He has scored 14 runs and driven in nine runs with one home run.

On the hill Fresno State is led by LHP Tyler Linehan who has made seven starts and pitched a team-high 49.0 inning. He has a 3-2 record with a sparkling 1.47 ERA. His 53 strikeouts also leads the team and he has walked 16. Linehand has given up more unearned runs (9) than earned runs (8).

RHP Taylor Garrison has been the bullpen ace, appearing in 13 games. In his 17.2 innings pitched he has struck out 24 batters against just six walks. He has collected six saves while posting a 2.04 ERA.

SCOUTING CSU BAKERSFIELD
Bakersfield has been two different teams in 2012. At home it is 10-5 while on the road its record is 1-10. Overall the Roadrunners sit at 11-15 and have yet to open conference play. 

INF Oscar Sanay has been red-hot, hitting .367 (36-98) while also adding nine walks to put his on-base percentage ate .441. Both marks lead the team as does his 18 runs scored. He has three doubles and seven RBI in 26 games.

INF D.C. Legg is hitting .309 (25-81) and is showing his power stroke at the plate. He has smacked nine doubles to go along with three home runs. His .531 slugging percentage is tops on the team and he has 16 RBI to go along with 14 runs scored.

OF Jordan Hein is hitting just .237 (22-93) but has already drawn 22 walks to help put his on-base percentage at .398. He has three doubles and two triples to go with his 14 runs scored and two RBI.

In seven starts spanning 47.1 innings, LHP Jeff McKenzie has a 2.28 ERA despite being just 1-3. He has struck out 26 batters against 11 walks and given up 48 hits.

RHP Spenser Messmore leads the team with a 0.67 ERA in 12 games, including one start. In his 27.0 innings, Messmore has struck out 20 and walked eight. He leads the team with two saves.

A REDSHIRT NO MORE
OF Justin Gisch was one of three redshirts who began the year with the Broncos, along with IF Anthony Hascheff and 2B Tyler Olivet. He had been working the camera in the press box during the season. Due to injuries Gisch was added to the active roster vs. Portland on Fri., Mar. 30. He made his first start April 1 and doubled in his first collegiate at-bat to knock in a run for the Broncos and jump start the offense to a 5-4 win vs. Portland. The win marked the first conference win of the season for the Broncos and their first home conference win since a 12-6 victory vs. San Francisco on May 9, 2010. It was also O'Brien's first WCC win. 

"I was so excited when I found out I was starting," said Gisch after hit first start. "Lucas Herbst came up to me and told me I had to go check out the line-up. At first I thought it was an April Fool's joke but it turned out I was really in the line-up and I was thrilled and to contribute to the team on the field was even better. We had struggled to score all weekend so it was important to score quickly. We kept saying it was a dogfight all day because they kept coming back. We just stayed positive in the dugout and we grinded out the win."

BEATING QUALITY OPPONENTS
Santa Clara came out of the gates in 2012 ready to play. Thus far they have defeated No. 35 Texas State, No. 37 Wichita State and a Cal Poly team who swept Oklahoma State in three games and the Broncos WCC rival LMU in a four game series. Santa Clara has taken down five teams with a winning record. 

Below are the teams with winning records the Broncos have beaten in 2012 and their current records.

Team

 

Wins

 

Losses

 

Outcomes

 

Texas State

 

18

 

10

 

Won 5-4 (13)

 

Wichita State

 

17

 

14

 

Won 8-5

 

Cal Poly

 

17

 

10

 

Won 5-2 and 11-6

 

Nevada

 

15

 

11

 

Won 8-4

 

Portland

 

16

 

6

 

Won 5-4

POWELL FANSLER NAMED WCC PITCHER OF THE MONTH FOR FEBRUARY
Santa Clara baseball went 7-2 in new head coach Dan O'Brien's first month on the Mission Campus and LHP Powell Fansler was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Month for February. He picked up four of the seven Bronco wins while making two starts and appearing twice in relief. 

"Being honored as the WCC Pitcher of the Month is indescribable but the award should be given not just to myself but to my team as well," said Fansler. "When I'm on the mound I really focus on executing the pitches that my coach calls. In addition, I have developed a routine that I stick to everyday and when something doesn't feel right I can look to my routine to find out what the problem might be. As for the team dynamic, I have a defense that I know works just as hard as I do, in practice and during the game, it makes pitching a lot easier. Our team mentality is completely different this year and it started with the new energy of the team and coaches. We love to have fun. Furthermore, the coaching staff has fostered a brotherhood that is unbreakable, because of this companionship each and every one of us has grown closer. We trust each other. Thus, the success that the team has been having is a result of the our attitude, trust, and hard work."

"This is great for the program but mostly it's great for Powell," said first-year Bronco pitching coach Gabe Ribas. " I saw a guy who was will to throw strikes and compete in the zone. I think he's done a great job of that all year. He's also done a great job pitching in pressure situations with runners on. He's come out and made some great changes and he's really mindful of where he wants to go this year. He earned it and hopefully we have a bundle more of those coming. Although he's stood out for us, everybody's done a great job. It's great to get individual awards but those are for the individuals. We're a team-oriented program and hopefully we'll get some team awards, too."

Fansler was dazzling for the month, making two starts and two relief appearances. He posted a 2.65 ERA to go along with his four wins. In 17.0 innings pitched he allowed 16 hits and struck out nine against only two walks.

His best start game vs. Nevada on Feb. 28 at Schott Stadium. He scattered five hits over 7.0 shutout innings and struck out three with only one walk.

MOVING DOWN THE ALAMEDA
The 2011-12 Santa Clara baseball team has three members that all played their high school baseball just down the Alameda at Bellarmine College Prep. Freshman Matt Glomb, sophomore Kyle DeMerritt and junior Mike Couch all played at the Jesuit prep school that is just 1.5 miles from the Mission campus. DeMerritt and Glomb played together at Bellarmine, while DeMerritt appeared on the same varsity team as Couch during his sophomore season. Bellarmine, a typical feeder for many Santa Clara students, has funneled many players into a Bronco uniform. Since 2005, each Santa Clara baseball team has had at least two former Bells on its roster with six wearing the Santa Clara uniform in 2009. The Bells have given Santa Clara two Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans – DeMerritt (2010-11 season) and Tommy Medica '09 (2006-07 season).

BROTHERLY LOVE
Twin brothers OF Matt Ozanne and 3B/DH Drew Ozanne look to continue to produce offensively for the Broncos. Matt started 45 games last season and lead the team with 10 stolen bases and added 22 RBI.  He has appeared in 20 games, making 18 starts, in 2012. He has one home run and seven RBI. Drew started 29 games, appearing in 37. He had 16 RBI on the season, including a walk-off RBI single against Bakersfield. This season Drew has appeared in 13 games while making three starts. He has scored six runs and added three RBI. The brothers batted back-to-back in the lineup three times last season and look to anchor the offense in 2012. He has made three appearances.

DEMERRTT ON SUMMER BALL
Coming off of a spectacular rookie season for the Broncos, Kyle DeMerritt has been hard at work preparing for the 2012 season.  He spent time over the summer in the very competitive Northwest League in Wausau, Wis. where he was a member of the Wisconsin Woodchucks. 

"Summer ball plain and simple is a blast," said DeMerritt. "I was given the opportunity to play out of state for two and a half months against players from all around the country. We get fed and housed and our job is to play baseball every day... it doesn't get much better. However, we play 70 games in 75 days which was a grind that really humbled me and allowed me to realize what the next level (professional ball) is all about. On the baseball side I had both success and failures and the competition I faced really helped me mature as a ball player. Lastly, I was fortunate to have an amazing host family and stay in a town where our team was highly regarded. It was awesome playing for the people out there."

Now DeMerritt and his teammates are hard at work trying to become a unit on the field. Coach O'Brien stresses the importance of team chemistry and with DeMerritt as one of the top returners he will be looked upon for a larger leadership role. Thus far in 2012 he has made 18 starts and scored eight runs with seven RBI.

LISTEN UP
Eight select Bronco baseball games, four non-conference and four conference, in 2012 will be called on the Broncos' online Game Central via Stretch internet, for the first time since 2010. All eight broadcast will be done by a two-man student broadcast affiliated with Santa Clara's athletic department. The crew includes John Nash , a junior on the Santa Clara men's water polo team and an Athletic Department student employee, and Brandon Rebboah, also an Athletic Department student employee. In addition to the eight broadcasted games, all home games will have free video streaming via Game Central. The remaining games to be aired will be Apr. 10 vs. Cal, Apr. 20 vs. Pepperdine, Apr. 27 vs. Saint Mary's, May 22 vs. Stanford and May 25 vs. LMU. 

"We're excited to have two passionate and talented Santa Clara students broadcast our games once again. We want people to fall in love with Bronco baseball and who better to help us do that than these two outstanding young men," said O'Brien about the radio broadcasts.

NEARLY SELLING OUT
One of the goals baseball head coach Dan O'Brien had when he started was to get as many people into Schott Stadium for the home-opener on Feb. 24 as possible. While the stadium was not sold out, it was close. A total of 1,273 spectators came to watch the Broncos take on Illinois-Chicago and push their record to 5-0. 

Some of the attractions included fresh popcorn being popped around the stadium, games for children on the concourse and of course, the Bronco baseball team in their old-school baggy uniforms.

"The atmosphere tonight was electric and I'm just so thrilled that the Santa Clara community came out to support us," said O'Brien after the win. "For their support, we promise to give our Bronco faithful a passionate and energetic effort between the lines the entire season. They will be proud of how our team competes and can be excited for an aggressive and fun style of baseball when the Broncos take the field."

HOT START
The 5-0 mark the Broncos posted to open the season was the best start for the team since the 2008 season when it also went 5-0. That team took down Utah Valley, Kansas State, Pacific and San Jose State in its first five games. They won games by scores of 12-1,7-2, 9-2, 15-6 and 7-6 before finally falling at San Jose State 10-9.

The 2008 squad opened the season with a mark of 9-1 and finished the season with an overall record of 33-22. That season the Broncos finished third in the West Coast Conference with a 13-8 record in league play.

"We have the talent on the roster to compete in the West Coast Conference this year but we need to come together as a team," said O'Brien. "The college model is all about team, it's all about the guy to your left and to your right and that's where we're going to spend a lot of our time. Our team chemistry is going to be as strong, if not stronger, than anybody in the country. That college model is going to be in the heart of everything we do."