Fresh Off Walkoff Win, Baseball Turns Sights Quickly to Cal Poly Tuesday
SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — After a 10th-inning walkoff victory to wrap up a run of four games in three days Sunday, Santa Clara baseball plays its fifth game of the season Tues., Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. vs. the Cal Poly Mustangs at Schott Stadium.
The Broncos went 1-3 on opening weekend. They dropped 4-1 contests to Nevada in the season opener Friday night and Boston College Saturday afternoon. In game one of its Sunday doubleheader, Santa Clara used a four-run second inning to jump out to a 5-0 lead over the Eagles, who rallied for six runs over the final three innings to win 8-6. In game two of the doubleheader on Sunday, the Broncos and Wolfpack scored all six of their combined runs in the fifth through seventh innings, which featured three ties, before Santa Clara won on a walkoff single to left by pinch hitter C.J. Jacobe.
The No. 26 Mustangs enter Tuesday's game with a 3-0 record after a home sweep of the then-No. 22 Kansas State Wildcats. Cal Poly's starting pitchers earned a winning decision in all three games, defeating Kansas State 3-0 Friday, 5-2 Saturday and 10-1 Sunday. Left-handed pitcher Matt Imhof was named one of eight Louisville Slugger National Players Of The Week after striking out a career-high 14 and conceding two hits and three walks in seven scoreless innings Friday.
Santa Clara: RHP Reece Karalus (2014: 0-0, 9.00 ERA / 2013: 0-9, 7.04 ERA) vs.
Cal Poly: RHP Justin Calomeni (2014: NO STATS / 2013: NO STATS)
Live Stats: santaclara.statbroadcast.com
Greg Harisis posted a team-high six hits, two doubles (tied with Jose Vizcaino, Jr. and Rory Graf-Brennen), one home run, 11 total bases, three runs scored (tied with Vizcaino, Jr.) and a .647 slugging percentage during opening weekend. Vizcaino, Jr. recorded the highest batting average at .385 (5-for-13) and Zach Looney hit .357 (5-for-14) alongside a team-best three walks in his four starts. Casey Munoz was perfect with a 3-for-3 mark in stolen base attempts.
Through the first four games of the season, Santa Clara and its opponents have put up similar offensive numbers: Santa Clara has 32 hits and its opponents have 35, Santa Clara has nine extra-base hits and its opponents have eight, Santa Clara has racked up 44 total bases and its opponents have 46. The Broncos were outscored 19-12 in those four games, all of which were decided by three runs or less.
SCU starters combined to allow 12 runs and eight earned runs over 26 innings in the opening four games for a collective 2.76 ERA. Three of those pitchers threw at least 6.2 innings, and all four threw at least 5.2 innings.
Right-handed pitcher Reece Karalus will look to continue the trend of strong starting pitching Tuesday. The North Bend, Wash. native has made one relief appearance this season, throwing one inning and allowing one earned run on two hits Sunday afternoon against Boston College. Karalus made 12 starts in 2013 and led the Broncos in strikeouts (52) over 62.2 innings. No other returning pitcher from the 2014 team made more than three starts last year.
Nick Medeiros was called on three times out of the bullpen, and delivered in each of his three outings with a total of three innings pitched and four strikeouts. No opposing batter reached safely against Medeiros in the first four games. He earned Santa Clara's only winning decision of the weekend by tossing a scoreless 10th Sunday night, after entering a game tied at 3-3 with no outs and a runner on first.
Scouting Cal Poly
Jimmy Allen led the way for a balanced Cal Poly attack in its first three games by hitting 5-for-12 with six RBIs. All eight of the Mustangs that made three starts recorded at least one RBI, and four of them recorded multiple RBIs. Four Mustangs recorded at least five hits, and they were led in that category by Nick Torres and Jordan Ellis, who ended the weekend with six hits each. Cal Poly out-hit Kansas State 33-11, and 29 of the Mustang hits were singles.
Probable starter Justin Calomeni makes his collegiate debut about a mile from where he played his high school baseball at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose. He threw six complete games and four shutouts during his senior season and earned Cal-Hi Sports First Team All-State honors. He will look to keep the trend of strong starting pitching going for a Mustang staff that combined for 23 strikeouts while conceding seven hits and two runs (two earned) in 18.1 innings.
The Mustangs scored 14 of their 18 runs in the sixth inning or later of their first three games. They trailed Kansas State for less than three innings of the opening series after falling behind 1-0 on Saturday.
Welcome to the New Age
Several Santa Clara freshmen saw a significant part of the action in the team's first four games: Stevie Berman made four appearances and three starts (4-3), Rory Graf-Brennen (4-4), Max Kuhns (2-1 in the field, 2 relief appearances), Seaver Whalen (4-3) and Kyle Czaplak (4-2).
Successful Twin Billings
The opening weekend format featured six games in six days at Schott Stadium, with a doubleheader for Nevada Friday, Boston College Saturday and Santa Clara Sunday. Teams playing in their respective doubleheader days finished 5-1 overall, and the only loss was dealt to Santa Clara on the first game Sunday as the Broncos could not hold on to an early five-run lead against the Eagles.
"With a young team like this, two points of emphasis for us are to remain positive and be the best team in the country in terms of responding to adversity. For the guys to come back and play as well as they did is a testament to those two things." - Head Coach Dan O'Brien
"I'm looking forward to more close games like the last one this weekend. We played in so many of them last year, so a close game win is a big step for us." - Senior pitcher Kenny Treadwell