March 5, 2014

Baseball Begins Ten-Game Homestand with Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament This Weekend

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara baseball will follow its longest road trip of the season — nine games — with its longest homestand of the season — 10 games — as it begins the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament Thursday at 6 p.m. against the Washington Huskies at Stephen Schott Stadium. The weekend features a Friday matchup with UC Davis at 4 p.m., Saturday game against Pacific at 6 p.m. and concludes with a Sunday showdown vs. Washington at 11 a.m.

Last weekend, the Broncos went 1-2 at the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic in Surprise, Ariz. Santa Clara fell to Arizona State 9-6 Feb. 27 and Oklahoma 8-4 Feb. 28 before rebounding for a 10-2 win over Manhattan March 2. The losing team in all three of those games scored at least one run in the first inning. Santa Clara had its March 1 matchup with Oklahoma State cancelled due to rain. The Broncos dropped a fog-shortened contest 6-0 to Cal Poly in a midweek game March 4.

Peter Hendron Named College Sports Madness West Coast Player of the Week

For the second time in as many weeks, a Santa Clara baseball player has received recognition for his efforts on the field. Sophomore pitcher Peter Hendron was named the College Sports Madness West Coast Player of the Week for March 3, 2014 on Monday. Hendron posted career high marks with 8.0 innings and seven strikeouts in a 10-2 win March 2 against Manhattan at the Sanderson Ford Baseball Classic in Surprise, Ariz. last weekend. He allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits with two walks and held the Jaspers to 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position to earn the winning decision to improve to 2-1. Hendron is scheduled to throw again for Santa Clara Saturday against Pacific.

Probable Starters

Thu., March 6, 6:00 p.m. vs. Washington

SCU: RHP D.J. Zapata (1-2, 3.60 ERA) vs. UW: RHP Jared Fisher (0-1, 5.71 ERA)

Fri., March 7, 4:00 p.m. vs. UC Davis

SCU: RHP Steven Wilson (0-1, 4.34 ERA) vs. UCD: RHP Spencer Koopmans (1-0, 3.38 ERA)

Sat., March 8, 6:00 p.m. vs. Pacific

SCU: RHP Peter Hendron (2-1, 1.31 ERA) vs. UoP: RHP Jake Jenkins (0-2, 4.58 ERA)

Sun., March 9, 11:00 a.m. vs. Washington

SCU: TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. UW: RHP Jeff Brigham (2-0, 1.50 ERA)

Live Stats and Video

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This Weekend's Opponents

Washington won all three games last weekend against fellow Jack Gifford Tournament participant UC Davis. The Huskies were victorious 4-1 on Feb. 28, 2-1 on March 1 and 8-3 in the second game of a doubleheader March 1, which was called in the seventh inning. The two teams were scheduled to meet Feb. 2 as well, but the final game of the series was cancelled due to rain. The Huskies currently have an overall record of 6-4-1, and are on a season best three-game winning streak.

UC Davis currently sits at 4-7 overall after last weekend's three-game sweep at the hands of the Huskies. The Aggies will face their third and fourth WCC opponents of the young season in Santa Clara and Pacific this weekend. They lost to Saint Mary's 5-1 Feb. 20 and defeated Portland 8-7 Feb. 21 and 11-2 Feb. 23 as part of the Gael Invitational in Moraga, Calif.

Pacific is coming off a busy weekend due to rescheduling of games from last week. The Tigers swept a March 1 doubleheader with 5-2 and 4-2 wins over Utah Valley before splitting a March 2 doubleheader with a 9-5 win and 8-5 loss. They also fell 8-4 to Nevada March 4, and enter the weekend with a record of 7-7.

Bronco Offense

Fresh off Irish Baseball Classic MVP and WCC Player of the Week Honors, Greg Harisis extended his multi-hit streak to six games and overall hitting streak to seven games at the Sanderson Ford Baseball Classic in Surprise, Ariz. last weekend. The senior from Yorba Linda, Calif. recorded two hits and scored two runs in all three games, with just one strikeout out of the leadoff position for the Broncos. He went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs in a 10-2 win March 2 against Manhattan.

Zach Loooney and Max Kuhns lead the Broncos with eight RBIs each, while Stevie Berman tops the team with 11 walks and a .532 on-base percentage. Kuhns has recorded all eight RBIs in Santa Clara's last seven games, including a four-game RBI streak from Feb. 23-March 2. Berman had a six-game hitting streak snapped and Harisis had a seven-game hitting streak snapped in Tuesday's loss to Cal Poly.

The senior duo of Harisis and Casey 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).

Bronco Pitching

Thursday's probable D.J. Zapata allowed five earned runs in 5.1 innings of his last start Feb. 27 vs. Arizona State, after allowing no more than two earned runs in each of his first two starts including a complete-game victory over Notre Dame Feb. 20. Friday's probable Steven Wilson has pitched through the sixth inning of all three of his starts this season. Saturday's probable Peter Hendron is coming off a career-best 8.0 innings pitched and a career-best seven strikeouts March 2 against Manhattan.

SCU starters combined to allow nine runs and seven earned runs over 26.0 innings in the four games Feb. 20-23 for a collective 2.42 ERA. In 26.0 innings and four games of opening weekend, Bronco starting pitching recorded a 2.76 ERA.

Reece Karalus and Chris Heckert are tied for a team-high six appearances, with Karalus accounting for both of Santa Clara's saves and Heckert picking up a pair of wins out of the bullpen this season. Nick Medeiros began the season with four scoreless outings, and currently boasts a 1.50 ERA and .150 opposing batting average. He has recorded at least one strikeout in all five appearances this season, and has six overall.

Welcome to the New Age

Several Santa Clara freshmen have seen a significant part of the action this season: Stevie Berman has made 13 appearances and 11 starts (13-11), Rory Graf-Brennen (11-7), Max Kuhns (11-10 in the field, two relief appearances), Seaver Whalen (9-6), Kyle Czaplak (13-8) and Tyler Meditz (8-0).

Four of five Bronco pitchers to make a start this season are underclassmen: sophomore Reece Karalus, sophomore Peter Hendron, sophomore Jacob Steffens and redshirt-freshman Steven Wilson. Thursday night's starter and senior D.J. Zapata is the lone upperclassman in the current rotation.

Scouting Washington

The Huskies enter the weekend with four wins in their last five games, allowing only nine runs to the opposition over that stretch, including three games with one run against. In its first six games Feb. 14-22, Washington went 2-3-1 and allowed 49 runs.

Trevor Mitsui headlines a balanced offense that features five players with at least ten hits and four players with at least six RBIs through 11 games. Mitsui leads the Huskies with 12 hits and a .343 batting average, while Alex Schmidt is tops on the team with nine RBIs. Andrew Ely checks in with six RBIs and a team-high five walks, while Robert Pehl has six RBIs and a team-best 21 total bases (four doubles, two home runs).

Washington is 1-for-4 on stolen base attempts this season while its opponents are 6-for-8. Husky batters have been hit with a pitch 22 times on the year, while their pitchers have hit only four opposing batters.

Washington's two starters scheduled to face Santa Clara are the only two Huskies with three starts in 2014. Thursday's probable Jared Fisher has allowed 13 runs (11 earned) on 22 hits with nine walks and 17 strikeouts in 17.1 innings. Sunday's probable Jeff Brigham is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA (three earned runs in 18.0 innings), and is holding opposing batters to a .193 average in his three starts this season.

Trevor Dunlap, who has two of Washington's three saves, has come out of the bullpen a team-most six times entering the weekend, and Will Ballowe has allowed two earned runs on seven hits over 9.1 innings for a 1.93 ERA on the season.

Scouting UC Davis

The last nine games for the Aggies have featured a three-game losing streak, three-game winning streak and another three-game losing streak dating back to their season-opening series against Seattle. In its three-game winning streak Feb. 21-23 at the Gael invitational, Davis scored 29 runs overall and posted double-digit runs in two of those three games.

11-game starters Kevin Barker (15 hits) and Steven Patterson (13 hits), along with 10-game starter Nick Lynch (11 hits) are the three Aggies with more than 10 hits on the season. Patterson is tops on the team with eight RBIs while Lynch is a close second with seven. Overall, the Aggie offense is outhitting its opponents .264 to .239 in batting average, 95 to 79 in hits and 134 to 111 in total bases.

Friday's probablt starter against the Broncos is RHP Spencer Koopmans, who leads Aggie starting pitchers with a 3.38 ERA this season. In his last outing March 1 against Washington, Koopmans threw six innings, allowing one run on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Enterting the weekend, he leads the team with 12 strikeouts on the season.

Orlando Razo has made three appearances out the bullpen, holding opposing batters to four hits and one unearned run 7.2 innings with four strikeouts.

Scouting Pacific

Brothers and Stockton natives Brett and Tyler Sullivan are the offensive leaders for Pacific, as each has hit better than .400 through 14 games this season. Brett Sullivan, a sophomore, leads the team in batting average (.469), hits (23) triples (3), home runs (t-1, two other players) RBIs (10), total bases (32) and slugging percentage (.653) while striking out only twice in 14 starts. Tyler Sullivan, a junior, is hitting .407 with a team-best 15 runs scored and five stolen bases along with 22 hits, three doubles and eight RBIs entering the weekend. He has recorded multiple hits in eight of 14 games this season.

Taylor Murphy put up a four-RBI effort in a 9-5 win March 2 against Utah Valley.

Jake Jenkins is scheduled to make his fourth start and fifth appearance overall for the Tigers Saturday. In his last outing March 2 at Utah Valley, the right-handed pitcher threw 5.2 innings and allowed five runs (two earned) on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. He pitched well and was dealt the loss in his previous start Feb. 22 against Alabama State, going 7.2 innings and allowing three earned runs on seven hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts.

Michael Benson has recorded all three Tiger saves on the season over six appearances and 5.2 innings pitched. He has held the opposition scoreless four times and struck out five over his last 3.0 innings.

Santa Clara and Pacific will meet for their WCC series March 28-30 at Klein Family Field in Stockton, Calif. The Tigers officially rejoined the conference in July 2013, and were former members of the WCC from 1952-1971.

Santa Clara Bests Manhattan 10-2, O'Brien Earns 500th Career Win (Click Here for the full game story)

Bronco head coach Dan O'Brien won his 500th career game as the Broncos defeated Manhattan 10-2 on March 2. The third-year Santa Clara head coach won 454 games with his alma mater, UC San Diego, and has 46 wins in his time with the Broncos.

"There's been a ton of great memories and some big team wins in there, but I don't do this for the wins," O'Brien said after Sunday's game. "I coach for the countless lifelong relationships I've developed over the years. Those mean the world to me."