SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — Santa Clara baseball will head out of California for the second straight weekend as it travels to Surprize, Ariz. for the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic. The Broncos take a four-game winning streak into matchups against Arizona State Feb. 27 at 3 p.m., Oklahoma Feb. 28 at 3 p.m., Oklahoma State March 1 at 3 p.m. and Manhattan March 2 at 10 a.m. (all times Pacific). The first three opponents each made it to the postseason in 2013 and picked up at least a pair of wins in the road to the College World Series.
The Broncos recorded a season-high three game-winning streak once last season, and have an overall best five-game winning streak in Dan O'Brien's two plus seasons as head coach. Santa Clara reached the five consecutive win plateau twice in the first 20 days of the 2012 season.
Last weekend, the Broncos went 4-0 at the Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio, Texas. They defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish twice, 2-1 on the first day of the tournament Feb. 20 and 8-7 in the championship game Feb. 23. Santa Clara also defeated University of the Incarnate Word, 16-3, Feb. 21 and snapped a nine game losing streak against Gonzaga with a 3-2 victory Feb. 22.
Doug Greenwald, Santa Clara women's basketball and Fresno Grizzlies (San Francisco Giants AAA affiliate) play-by-play announcer will call all four games from Arizona. They will be available for free on Stretch Internet. Click here for access to the radio feed
Greg Harisis Named Rawlings WCC Baseball Player of the Week
Greg Harisis won Irish Baseball Classic MVP honors last weekend with a stat line of 9-for-19, three RBIs, seven runs scored, two doubles, one home run and an outfield assist as the Broncos went 4-0. On Monday, he was named the WCC Rawlings Baseball Player of the Week, becoming the first Bronco to earn the honor since Patrick Terry on May 23, 2011.
"More than anything, it just means to me that I did my job for our team as the leadoff man to set the table and help our team put runs on the board and get four road wins this weekend," Harisis said.
Thu., Feb. 27, 3:00 p.m. at Arizona State (Live Stats)
SCU: RHP D.J. Zapata (1-1, 1.84 ERA) at ASU: RHP Darin Gillies (0-1, 8.59 ERA)
Fri., Feb. 28, 3:00 p.m. vs. Oklahoma (Live Stats)
SCU: RHP Steven Wilson (0-0, 3.55 ERA) vs. OU: LHP Adam Choplick (1-1, 4.66 ERA)
Sat., March 1, 3:00 p.m. at Oklahoma State (Live Stats)
SCU: RHP Peter Hendron (1-1, 1.42 ERA) at OSU: RHP Tyler Buffett (1-0, 2.00 ERA)
Sun., March 2, 10:00 a.m. at Manhattan
SCU: RHP Jacob Steffens (0-0, 3.75 ERA) at MAN: LHP Maxx Feldman (0-0, 2.84 ERA)
This Weekend's Opponents
No. 29 Arizona State (NCBWA Top 30) brings a 3-4 record into the weekend, and won its last game 7-2 against Wright State Feb. 23. The Sun Devils' three-game slate from last weekend also featured losses to Long Beach State — 11-0 on Feb. 21 — and UC Irvine — 5-2 on Feb. 22. They were 37-22-1 last season and 2-2 in the NCAA Tournament Fullerton Regional, falling twice to then-No. 3 Cal State Fullerton.
Oklahoma played five games in six days from Feb. 18-23 leading up to the weekend in Arizona. The Sooners started the season at 5-1 and have dropped their last two games to UCF on Feb. 22, 4-1, and to Ohio State Feb. 23, 6-1. They won their opening game in last weekend's UCF tournament 9-7 against The Citadel. In 2013, the Sooners carried an eight-game winning streak into the Baton Rouge Super Regional before falling twice to LSU.
No. 11 Oklahoma State (Collegiate Baseball Top 30) has the best overall record of teams in the field at 8-1. The Cowboys began the season 7-0 before dropping the third of a four-game set 10-7 to Oakland on the back end of a doubleheader Feb. 22. They recorded a 3-2 victory in the first game of the series Feb. 21 along with a 10-4 win in the first game of the doubleheader Feb. 22 and an 11-1 win Feb. 23. The Cowboys are off to another hot start in 2014 to follow up last season's 41-19 campaign which featured a 2-2 run in the Louisville Regional.
Manhattan opened its season last week with two losses against Campbell — 12-2 Feb. 21 and 7-4 Feb. 22 — as well as a two-game split against Delaware with a 7-2 win Feb. 22 and a 4-3 loss Feb. 23. The Jaspers were 24-28 last season, including a perfect 4-0 record at neutral sites.
Greg Harisis increased his team-best hit total to 15 with nine hits last weekend, and is tied for the team lead in batting average with Stevie Berman (.375, 9-for-24). Berman has also walked seven times, which is tops on the Broncos through nine games. Zach Looney collected two RBIs on Feb. 21 and Feb. 23 to give him a total of four during last weekend's action and a team-high six overall.
Santa Clara has a pinch-hit RBI in each of its last four games: Peter Summerville drove in the game-winning run Feb. 20, Mac Hess drove in two Feb. 21, and Casey Munoz drove in single runs as a pinch hitter Feb. 22-23. The Broncos also have a pinch-hit RBI in five of their last six games, with C.J. Jacobe delivering a game-winning RBI single in the nightcap of Santa Clara's Feb. 16 doubleheader.
The senior duo of Harisis and Munoz was among the most productive offensive players last season, as Munoz led the Broncos in batting average (.308), hits (64), doubles (10) and RBIs (31) while Harisis led the Broncos in on-base percentage (.399) and stolen bases (13-for-15).
Santa Clara's pitching staff churned out a solid weekend at the Irish Baseball Classic, holding opponents to 13 runs in four games including six runs in the first three games. D.J. Zapata threw a complete game win and struck out a career-high eight batters in just his second collegiate start Feb. 20.
SCU starters combined to allow nine runs and seven earned runs over 26.0 innings in last weekend's four games for a collective 2.42 ERA. In 26.0 innings and four games of opening weekend, Bronco starting pitching recorded a 2.76 ERA. Santa Clara is scheduled to use the same four starters in Arizona in a different order; Zapata will still throw on Thursday and Steffens will throw on Sunday, while Steven Wilson will take the second start Friday and Peter Hendron will make the third start Saturday.
Relief pitching has also been a steady force for the Broncos, as it combined to allow four runs (two earned) in 10.0 innings for a collective 1.80 ERA in last weekend's four games. Chris Heckert and Reece Karalus picked up the win and the save, respectively, in one-run victories Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.
Nick Medeiros has been called on four times out of the bullpen, and delivered in each of those outings with a total of 4.0 innings pitched and five strikeouts. He has allowed only one hit and one walk.
Welcome to the New Age
Several Santa Clara freshmen have seen a significant part of the action in the team's first nine games: Stevie Berman has made nine appearances and seven starts (9-7), Rory Graf-Brennen (7-4), Max Kuhns (7-6 in the field, two relief appearances), Seaver Whalen (6-4), Kyle Czaplak (9-6) and Tyler Meditz (8-0).
Four of five Bronco pitchers to make a start this season are underclassmen, including three that are scheduled to pitch this weekend: sophomore Peter Hendron, redshirt-freshman Steven Wilson and sophomore Jacob Steffens. Thursday night's starter and senior D.J. Zapata is the lone upperclassman in the current rotation.
Scouting Arizona State
Arizona State's offense has put up at least seven runs in all three of its victories, and been held to two runs or less in three of its four losses. Four of Santa Clara's last six games have been one-run contests (all wins for the Broncos) while Arizona State has not played in a one-run game this season.
R.J. Ybarra and Trever Allen lead Arizona State with eight hits apiece, and Ybarra has a team-best .400 (8-for-20) batting average. Six different position players have at least three RBIs, and the only one with more than three is Dalton Dinatele with seven. No position player has started all seven games for the Sun Devils on the young season, and three (Allen, Bielek, Ybarra) have made six starts. As a team, the Sun Devils have a .269 batting average, more than 20 points higher than their opponents' .248.
Darin Gillies makes his second start and third appearance of the season Thursday. He pitched three innings opening night Feb. 14 and allowed one earned run on one hit with two strikeouts. He exited the game in the eighth in line for the win, before Baylor rallied for three runs in the eighth and four in the ninth to win 9-7. Gillies surrendered six earned runs on nine hits in 4.1 innings of his first start of the season Feb. 18. The junior from Hollister, Calif. started 10 games as a freshman in 2012 before moving to the bullpen for 27 relief appearances and one start as a sophomore in 2013, and during that campaign he went 2-2 with a 4.67 ERA.
During a five-game winning streak Feb. 15-21, the Sooners scored 59 runs on 69 hits, including single-game highs of 16 runs on 20 hits Feb. 18 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Their offense has put up multiple runs three times in the first inning this season, including a seven-run first in the Feb. 18 win.
Oklahoma is outscoring its opponents 68-38 entering this weekend and has hit eight home runs while allowing only one. Sooner batters have struck out 37 times while their pitchers have issued 69 strikeouts in eight games.
Mac James has 12 hits and four doubles, and is one of four Sooners to put up double-digit hits through eight games (Craig Aikin – 11, Taylor Alspaugh – 10, Hunter Haley – 10). Haley leads a balanced attack with three home runs, 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored, while Sheldon Neuse has 10 RBIs.
Scheduled starter Adam Choplick is 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA, allowing five earned runs in 9.2 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts this season. The 6-foot-8, 261-pound left-handed pitcher threw six innings of one-run, four-hit baseball with five strikeouts in his first start of the season Feb. 15 to earn the victory. He finished with the loss Feb. 22 after allowing four earned runs on five hits in 3.2 innings. Choplick started 10 games alongside two relief appearances as a redshirt freshman last season, and went 3-3 with a 5.56 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 34 innings.
Scouting Oklahoma State
The Cowboys have put up double-digit runs in five of their nine games this season and combined for 33 in a two-game, midweek sweep of Alcorn State Feb. 18-19. They recorded four come-from-behind wins in their first six games of the season, which included a pair of one-run wins Feb. 16-21. Oklahoma State's pitching and defense has combined to allow 31 runs in nine games for an average of 3.4 runs/game against.
Donnie Walton won Big XII player of the week honors for Feb. 17-23 after hitting 12-for-24 with 11 RBIs, five doubles and a home run. The team leader with 15 hits and 12 runs scored hit safely in all six games and did not record an error at shortstop. Zach Fish enters the weekend with a .424 average alongside six doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs. The Cowboys are 21-for-23 in stolen base attempts, led by Tim Arakawa's 5-for-5 mark.
True freshman Tyler Buffett makes his first collegiate start and fourth appearance of the season to follow up three solid relief outings. In 9.0 innings, the Albuquerque, N.M. native has allowed two earned runs on six hits with three walks and nine strikeouts. Perfect Game USA named the 6-1, 196-pound right-hander to the 2013 All-West Region Second Team at Albuquerque Academy.
Brendan Slattery and Andre Gorecki both hit better than .500 during Manhattan's opening weekend, with Slattery going 7-for-12 at the plate and Gorecki going 6-for-11. Gorecki recorded a three-hit game in Manhattan's season opener Feb. 21 and Slattery recorded a four-hit game in the team's only win of the season on Feb. 22.
Left-handed pitcher and Sunday probable Maxx Feldman tossed the best statistical start for the Jaspers with 6.1 innings, two hits, three runs (two earned), five walks and five strikeouts Feb. 23 against Delaware. Feldman exited after the first out of the sixth with a no-decision in a 3-3 tie, which the Blue Hens broke with a run in the eighth to win 4-3. Feldman transferred to Manhattan after two years at Pierce College (Los Angeles, Calif.) where he won male student-athlete of the year as a sophomore.