April 30, 2012

Bronco Baseball Ready for Short Week with Two Games at Seattle

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Playing only two games this week, Santa Clara baseball will travel to play Seattle University on Tue., May 1 at 6 p.m. and Wed. May 2 at 12 p.m. before taking a weekend off. It is the Broncos weekend off from WCC play.

Santa Clara is 20-20 overall with a 3-12 mark in the WCC. Last week the Broncos took the finale of a three-game series with rival Saint Mary's 9-4. Santa Clara blasted five home runs over the weekend, including two each from Lucas Herbst and Pat Stover.

Seattle sits at 19-17 overall and 13-7 at home. They have bested BYU twice this season as well as taking down San Jose State two times. The Redhawks took two games vs. Concordia on April 20 and 21 by scores of 4-1 and 9-4. In their most recent game, April 23, they lost to Washington State 8-6.

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 (4-3; 3.24) has lived up to the title of Friday night starter for the Broncos in 2012. He has made 10 starts while also appearing in relief once. Nance leads the team with 75.0 innings pitched, including two complete games, and is second with 38 strikeouts. He has walked 25 while allowing a .255 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 3.51. In 14 appearances, including nine starts, he has tossed 56.1 innings while striking out 25 and walking just 13. 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; 3.38) has been one of the top bullpen arms thus far for Coach O'Brien. Twining has made 22 appearances, including two starts, to lead the team. He has struck out 27 batters in 32.0 innings. He also leads the team with seven 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; 2.87). Deering has appeared in 20 games spanning 31.1 innings. He has surrendered 34 hits and struck out 16 while walking 11. Deering is second on the team with three saves.

BRONCO OFFENSE
INF/OF Greg Harisis has started 17 games while making 26 appearances overall and leads the team with a .412 (28-68) batting average. He has scored 18 runs to go with seven RBI and four doubles. Harisis blasted his first career home run on April 28 vs. Saint Mary's over the right field wall at Schott Stadium. He has a terrific .467 on-base percentage that is helped by is six walks. 

OF Matt Ozanne has show that he is a power and speed threat. He is third 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. He is hitting .301 (37-123) with a .374 on-base percentage while playing stellar defense in center field.

OF Lucas Herbst and OF Pat Stover have been very good for the Broncos in 2012. Herbst is second on the team with .389 batting average (37-95). He is second on the team with 22 runs scored and has added 19 RBI while hitting six doubles and four triples. Herbst has blasted two home runs, including going back-to-back with Harisis on April 28 vs. Saint Mary's. With seven walks and six HBP, his on-base percentage stands at a terrific .450 which has helped him steal four bases. Stover is hitting .297 (44-148). Stover leads the team with 28 RBI and has also scored 23 runs. He has eight doubles and five home runs. His eight steals in 11 attempts are second on the team.

Others doing well include 1B Andrew Biancardi who has 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 SEATTLE
INF Trent Oleszczuk has been the offensive leader for Seattle this season. He is hitting .302 (39-129) with 11 doubles. His 21 runs scored leads the team and he has added 12 RBI. His 21 walks is also tops on the team and he has a .429 on-base percentage that has helped him swipe six bases. 

1B Riley Tompkins is second on the team with a .287 (31-108) batting average and leads the team with three home runs and 18 RBI. He has added seven doubles and scored 12 runs.

OF Marcelino Morales has been the biggest base thief for the Redhawks. He has seven steals in nine attempts to go along with his .279 (24-86) batting average. He has scored 10 runs and added seven RBI with one home run.

RHP Grant Gunning leads the team in ERA with a 2.68 mark in 37.0 innings. Gunning has a record of 3-3 in nine appearances, including four starts. He has only struck out 16 batters and walked nine.

LHP Garrett Anderson leads the team in wins with six while making 17 appearances and four starts. He has pitched 44.2 innings and only given up 30 hits while fanning 27. He is tied for the team-lead with three saves.

RHP Seafth Howe has made 10 starts with a 3-3 record and a 3.19 ERA. He has pitched 53.2 innings while striking out 22 and walking 15.

GOING, GOING, GONE
The 2012 edition of Bronco baseball is showing a lot more power than their 2011 counterparts. In 40 games Santa Clara has smacked 19 home runs, with seven players having at least one home run and five players have at least two. In 51 games in 2011 Santa Clara hit only 11 home runs. C/DH Pat Terry and CF Matt Ozanne tied for the team lead with three each. No one else had more than one big fly. 

LF Pat Stover leads the team with five, including a deep bomb to left vs. Illinois-Chicago to help the Broncos win their home-opener 9-3 on Feb. 24. 1B Andrew Biancardi has smacked four homers while Ozanne has tied his total from last year with three. INF/OF Greg Harisis hit his first collegiate home run vs. Saint Mary's on April 28, an opposite field shot far over the right field wall at Schott Stadium.

The increase in power has helped put the Broncos on pace to beat their total runs from 2011 of 226. Through 40 games Santa Clara has scored 193 runs. If the Broncos continue at the 4.8 runs per game pace they have been on, the team will finish with 256 runs, 30 more than last year.

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 its goal of $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 40 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 six errors in 168 chances. 

The junior is hitting .214 (25-117) but has a solid .340 on-base percentage which is helped by his team-leading 16 walks and seven hit-by-pitch. Viele has added one triple and three doubles while scoring 17 runs and knocking in nine 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 then-No. 35 Texas State, then-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 Broncos also beat 2011 College World Series participant Cal on April 11. Santa Clara has taken down eight 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

25 

17 

Won 5-4 (13) 

Wichita State

27 

20 

Won 8-5 

Cal Poly

25 

17 

Won 5-2 and 11-6 

Nevada

24 

19 

Won 8-4 

Portland

23 

16 

Won 5-4 

Cal

23 

18 

Won 8-5 

Pepperdine

24 

16 

Won 6-2 

Saint Mary's

21 

19 

Won 9-4 

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. 

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.

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 May 22 vs. Stanford, May 25 vs. LMU and May 27 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.