April 24, 2012

Santa Clara Baseball Prepares To Host Rival Saint Mary's

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – With no midweek game scheduled, Santa Clara baseball will spend all week getting ready to welcome conference-rival Saint Mary's to the Mission Campus for a weekend series. The first game will be Fri., April 27 at 6 p.m.

Santa Clara is 19-18 overall with a 2-10 mark in the WCC. Last week the Broncos fell 4-0 at Cal before taking one of three from Pepperdine at Schott Stadium.

Saint Mary's is 18-18 overall with a 3-8 record in the West Coast Conference. Last week the Gaels lost two of three on the road to conference-leader San Diego. The lone win came on April 20 by a score of 7-1 before losing the second two games of the series by scores of 12-4 and 7-3.

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 (4-2; 3.03) has lived up to the title of Friday night starter for the Broncos in 2012. He has made nine starts while also appearing in relief once. Nance leads the team with 68.1 innings pitched, including two complete games, and is second with 35 strikeouts. He has walked 25 while allowing a .247 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 very good as Santa Clara's mid-week starter. He has a team-high five wins and an ERA of 3.75. In 13 appearances, including eight starts, he has tossed 50.1 innings while striking out 23 and walking just 10. 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 (1-5; 4.08) 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 nine starts and thrown 57.1 innings. His 39 strikeouts lead team and he has only allowed 14 walks.

RHP Paul Twining (3-4; 3.45) has been one of the top bullpen arms thus far for Coach O'Brien. Twining has made 20 appearances, including two starts, to lead the team. He has struck out 24 batters in 28.2 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 (2-2; 1.86). Deering has appeared in 19 games spanning 29.0 innings. He has surrendered 29 hits and struck out 15 while only walking nine. Deering is second on the team with three saves.

BRONCO OFFENSE
INF/OF Greg Harisis has started 14 games while making 23 appearances overall and leads the team with a .429 (24-56) batting average. He has scored 14 runs to go with five RBI and four doubles. He has a terrifc .484 on-base percentage that is helped by is five walks. 

OF Matt Ozanne has show that he is a power and speed threat. He is tied for second on the team with three home runs, including a no-doubt shot over the batting cages in left field vs. Pepperdine on April 22, and leads the team with 11 steals in 15 attempts. He is hitting .277 (31-112) with a .354 on-base percentage while playing stellar defense in centerfield.

OF Lucas Herbst and OF Pat Stover have paced the Broncos in 2012. Herbst is second on the team with .395 batting average (34-86). He is tied for the team lead with 20 runs scored and has added 14 RBI while hitting six doubles and four triples. With six walks and four HBP, his on-base percentage stands at a terrific .449 which has helped him steal four bases. Stover is hitting .279 (38-136). Stover leads the team with 24 RBI and has also scored 20 runs. He has eight doubles and three home runs. His eight steals in 10 attempts are second on the team.

Others doing well include 1B Andrew Biancardi who has a team-best four home runs and four doubles while adding 23 RBI and scoring 19 runs. C Peter Summerville has started to pick up more at-bats and is making the most of his opportunity. In 21 games, including 17 starts, Summerville is third on the team with a .313 batting average (20-64). He went 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 SAINT MARY'S
The Gael's strength is on the hill as they have a team ERA of 2.95. The team has five players with an ERA under 3.00. 

Saint Mary's best pitcher has been RHP Martin Agosta who sports a 6-2 record with a 1.70 ERA. He has made 10 starts and pitched 74.0 innings while allowing just 56 hits. He has 63 strikeouts against 21 walks.

RHP Patrick Keane leads the team with a 1.67 ERA in 12 games and one start. In his 27.0 innings pitched he has struck out 20 while walking 11 and picking up two saves. He is a perfect 3-0 for 2012.

LHP Ryan Brockett has made a team-high 14 appearances, all out of the bullpen. He is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 29.2 innings. He has struck out 32 batters and walked 12. His strikeout rate of 9.7 K/9 is the best on Saint Mary's.

On offense INF Troy Channing is hitting a team-best .376 (41-109). He has hit 10 doubles and two home runs to go with 20 RBI and 17 runs scored.

INF Collin Ferguson has a batting average of .345 (41-119). He has smacked two home runs and 14 doubles while knocking in 13 runs.

INF Patrick Wisdom leads the team with four home runs and INF Ricky Boas has a team-leading eight steals.

SHAVE FOR CHANGE
After the game vs. Pepperdine at Schott Stadium on April 21 Santa Clara players and coaches shaved their heads in support of St. Baldrick's "Base Bald" program. The volunteer-driven charity funds research to find cures for childhood cancers and to let survivors long and healthy lives. St. Baldrick's funds more childhood cancer research than any organization besides the U.S. government.

Even though the team raised $9,000, the event was about more than just money. The Broncos wanted to bring awareness to the public about children with cancer and show their support for the kids that are fighting every day.

Salon Blu and Art of Shaving, both Santa Clara businesses, sponsored the event and did the shavings.

O'Brien and his coaching staff have made reaching out to the community an emphasis in their first year on the Mission campus. When the players heard about the program, they all were eager to participate.

"In a pre-practice meeting earlier this season we were asked to raise our hands if any of us have been affected by cancer and it blew my mind to see almost every hand go up," said sophomore pitcher Max Deering. "It put into perspective just how devastating cancer has become to our society. It motivated me to do everything in my power to raise as much money as I possibly can."

"For our guys to be this excited to shave their heads for a good cause says everything you need to know about them as a group," said O'Brien before the event. "We're honored to be associated with St. Baldrick's for such a worthy event and to do what we can for children fighting this disease."

To find out more about St. Baldrick's, visit www.stbaldricks.org

IRON BRONCO
Only one Bronco has started all 37 games in 2012 and he plays one of the most demanding positions on the diamond. Shortstop Justin Viele has flashed the leather all season while anchoring Santa Clara's infield defense by making only five errors in 158 chances. 

The junior is hitting .213 (23-108) but has a solid .348 on-base percentage which is helped by his team-leading 16 walks and seven hit-by-pitch. Viele has added one triple and two doubles while scoring 16 runs and knocking in eight RBI. He has also swiped four bases.

Durability is nothing new for Viele, as he was the only player to start every game for Santa Clara in 2011 as a sophomore. He hit .237 (44-186) while scoring 26 runs and knocking in 12. He had six doubles and one of 11 Santa Clara home runs. He drew 17 walks, just one more than he has so far in 2012, and was hit by a pitch 10 times. He committed just seven errors in 224 chances.

As a freshman Viele started 28 of Santa Clara's 54 games. He hit .310 (27-87) with 10 doubles, 12 RBI and 23 runs scored while walking 10 times and stealing two bases.

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. The Brocnos also beat 2011 College World Series participant Cal on April 11. Santa Clara has taken down seven 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

 

23

 

16

 

Won 5-4 (13)

 

Wichita State

 

24

 

19

 

Won 8-5

 

Cal Poly

 

22

 

16

 

Won 5-2 and 11-6

 

Nevada

 

21

 

18

 

Won 8-4

 

Portland

 

21

 

14

 

Won 5-4

 

Cal

 

22

 

15

 

Won 8-5

 

Pepperdine

 

24

 

16

 

Won 6-2

 

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. 

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.

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). 

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 April 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.