Baseball Heads to Pacific for Second WCC Series

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Continuing its stretch of five road games in six days, Santa Clara baseball plays its second West Coast Conference series of the 2014 season on the road at University of the Pacific March 28-30. The Broncos and Tigers meet for the series opener Fri., March 28 at 6 p.m. before start times of 2 p.m. on March 29 and 1 p.m. on March 30.

The Broncos return to northern California after a two-game set at San Diego State University March 25-26. In the opener March 25, the Broncos led 1-0 in the second and 2-1 in the third before the Aztecs scored multiple runs in three of four innings, including a five-run fourth, to win 12-4. On March 26, the Broncos scored three runs in the top of the fourth to take a 3-2 lead and San Diego State scored runs in the sixth and eighth to win 4-3.

Probable Starters

Fri., March 28, 6 p.m.

SCU: RHP D.J. Zapata (1-4, 4.24 ERA) vs. PAC: RHP Mike Hager (2-2, 3.16 ERA) 

Sat., March 29, 2 p.m.

SCU: RHP Peter Hendron (2-2, 3.47 ERA) vs. PAC: RHP Jake Jenkins (1-2, 4.15 ERA)

Sun., March 30, 1 p.m.

SCU: RHP Steven Wilson (0-2, 4.78 ERA) vs. PAC: RHP Will Lydon (1-3, 4.65 ERA)

Live Stats and Radio

Baseball sports information director David Gentile is slated to call the weekend's games.

Click here to access a radio feed for all games this weekend.

Click here for access to live stats Friday.

Click here for access to live stats Saturday.

Click here for access to live stats Sunday.

This Weekend's Opponent: Pacific

Pacific enters this weekend with an overall record of 11-15, including a 3-3 mark in West Coast Conference play. The Tigers took two of three games against the Pepperdine Waves in Malibu in their WCC opening series March 14-16. Each of the three games in that series was decided by two runs. Last weekend, the Tigers won the first of a three-game set against the Gonzaga Bulldogs before the visitors took the last two games of the series. On March 21, Brett Sullivan hit for the cycle and the Tigers rallied with four late runs to break a 2-2 tie and win 6-2. Gonzaga won 10-7 March 22 on the strength of an eight-run second and 5-4 March 23 on Cory LeBrun's game-winning RBI single in the ninth.

After 11 years in the Major Leagues, Ed Sprague took the helm at Pacific in 2004, and is in his 11th season as the Tiger head coach in 2014. Sprague enters this weekend with an overall record of 221-357 (.382 winning percentage). Sprague and the Tigers are in their first season with the West Coast Conference after moving from the Big West for the 2014 campaign. Pacific was one of the founding members of the WCC in 1952, and left for the PCAA (which later became the Big West) in 1971.

Bronco Offense

The Broncos are coming off a two-game set in which they recorded seven runs on 11 hits against San Diego State. Kert Woods led the team by going 3-for-6 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. Quinton Perry and Kyle Czaplak both hit safely in each of the two games. Perry walked twice and added an RBI and a run scored, while Czaplak recorded an RBI, a run scored and a walk.

Woods leads all Broncos with a .362 (17-for-47) batting average, Stevie Berman leads all active Broncos with 23 hits and Zach Looney tops the team with 14 RBIs.

The senior duo of Greg 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

Friday's probable D.J. Zapata is coming off his second complete game outing of the season March 21 against Pepperdine, in which he limited the Waves to one run. He also made the start and threw one inning in Santa Clara's last game against San Diego State two days ago on March 26. The senior has 21 strikeouts in 40.1 innings pitched this season, and is tied with fellow starter Peter Hendron for the team lead in Ks. Zapata recorded a complete game victory Feb. 20 against Notre Dame.

Saturday's probable Peter Hendron threw 6.1 innings in his last outing March 22 against Pepperdine. He held the Waves to no runs on two hits through the first six innings of the game, before Pepperdine scored four in the seventh to win 4-2. He threw a career-best 8.0 innings pitched and struck out a career-best seven batters March 2 against Manhattan.

Sunday's probable Steven Wilson pitched 5.2 innings in his last start against Pepperdine March 23 and recorded a career-best mark with nine strikeouts. The redshirt freshman gave up only one hit through the second out of the fifth before Pepperdine opened the scoring with a two-out rally en route to a 10-0 win. He currently has the lowest opposing batting average of Santa Clara starters at .220.

Santa Clara starters combined to allow one run on nine hits in the 15.0 total innings between the first and the fifth last weekend against Pepperdine. They 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.

The Broncos currently boast three relievers with ERAs of 3.00 or better and at least 13 strikeouts. Kevin George leads the group with a 2.60 ERA and 15 strikeouts, while Reece Karalus is holding opposing batters to a .197 average along with three saves. Jason Seever has a 2.70 ERA in 13 relief appearances with 13 strikeouts and a .200 opposing batting average.

Scouting Pacific

Brett Sullivan is the reigning West Coast Conference Rawlings Player of the Week. He hit for the first cycle in Pacific baseball history March 21 against Gonzaga. On March 22, he went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and he finished the week with five runs scored and nine RBIs overall. He is the only WCC player to earn player of the week honors twice in 2014. Sullivan leads Pacific with a .433 batting average, 23 RBIs, five triples, three home runs, a .660 slugging percentage, and a 9-for-12 mark in stolen bases.

Tyler Sullivan tops the Tigers with 24 runs scored, and is second on the team with 36 hits. Taylor Murphy leads the Tigers with 14 walks, and is one of three Pacific batters with 10+ walks on the season.

Friday's probable Mike Hager has the lowest ERA of the weekend rotation at 3.16, and has thrown the most innings of all Tiger pitchers with 37.0 frames this season. He has batter than a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio with 23 strikeouts and 10 walks in 2014. Hager made the Friday night start against Gonzaga March 21 and threw 6.2 innings with two earned runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

Saturday's probable Jake Jenkins has 35 strikeouts on the season, 11 more than the next-highest pitcher John Haberman entering the weekend. In his last time out March 22 against Gonzaga, he threw 7.0 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits with three strikeouts. Jenkins has struck out seven batters three times this season, including 10 Ks Feb. 22 against Alabama State.

Sunday's probable Will Lydon has thrown at least 6.0 innings in four of his last five outings. In his last start March 23 against Gonzaga, Lydon threw 2.0 innings and allowed four earned runs on five hits with three walks and one strikeout.

Kyle Crawford leads the Tiger bullpen with a 1.17 ERA in 30.2 innings pitched, and Michael Benson has a team-high four saves.

Welcome to the New Age

Several Santa Clara freshmen have seen a significant part of the action this season: Stevie Berman has made 25 appearances and 23 starts (25-23), Rory Graf-Brennen (18-8), Max Kuhns (16-14 in the field, four relief appearances), Seaver Whalen (9-6), Kyle Czaplak (21-14) and Tyler Meditz (17-3).

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

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."

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

Sophomore pitcher Peter Hendron was named the College Sports Madness West Coast Player of the Week for March 3, 2014. 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.

Greg Harisis Named Rawlings WCC Baseball Player of the Week

Greg Harisis won Irish Baseball Classic MVP honors 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 Feb. 20-23. 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.