Baseball Aims for Third Straight Series Win at Gonzaga

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Seeking to win its third consecutive West Coast Conference series, Santa Clara baseball heads north to Spokane, Wash. for a weekend series against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The two teams square off at 6 p.m. April 11 and 12 before an April 13 series finale at 12 p.m. Santa Clara is 13-19 overall, 4-5 in the WCC and 2-5 on the road.

Last weekend, the Broncos won their second consecutive West Coast Conference series two games to one over the Portland Pilots at Schott Stadium. Portland's Davis Tominaga pitched a complete game and helped his own cause by driving in a run in a 9-1 Pilot victory April 4. The Broncos won Saturday's game 7-3 by scoring in five of their final six offensive frames and Sunday's game 3-1 on the strength of 8.0 strong innings from Steven Wilson and a two-run triple from Quinton Perry in the sixth.

On Tuesday, April 8, the Broncos matched Nevada with nine hits apiece and were scored on in the first four innings of a 9-4 loss.

Probable Starters

Fri., April 11, 6 p.m.

SCU: RHP D.J. Zapata (2-5, 4.10 ERA) vs. GON: RHP Taylor Jones (3-2, 3.20 ERA) 

Sat., April 12, 6 p.m.

SCU: RHP Peter Hendron (3-3, 3.99 ERA) vs. GON: RHP Brandon Bailey (2-5, 4.05 ERA) 

Sun., April 13, 12 p.m.

SCU: RHP Steven Wilson (1-2, 4.27 ERA) vs. GON: RHP Andrew Sopko (2-2, 3.57 ERA) 

Live Stats and Internet Radio

David Gentile is slated to call all three games on Stretch Internet. Click here to access a radio feed for the weekend's games.

Click here to access live stats for the weekend's games.

This Weekend's Opponent: Gonzaga

Gonzaga enters the weekend with an overall record of 10-21, including a 6-6 mark in West Coast Conference play and a 1-4 mark at Washington Trust Field. The Bulldogs have lost seven games in a row, including a three-game set last weekend on the road against the San Diego Toreros. They began conference play at 5-1 with a sweep of San Francisco and a two-games-to-one series victory over Pacific.

The Bulldogs had a 4-1 lead in the top of the sixth before the Toreros rallied for four runs in the bottom half of the inning en route to a 6-5 win April 4. San Diego also claimed the last two games of the series, 4-1 on April 5 and 5-1 on April 6.

Mark Machtolf is in his 11th season as head coach of Gonzaga, and 22nd season overall with the Bulldog baseball program. He enters the weekend with a head coaching record of 308-263-2 (.528 winning percentage). The Bulldogs won the 2012-13 West Coast Conference regular season title with a league record of 18-6.

Previous Meeting: Santa Clara 3, Gonzaga 2 (Feb. 22)

The Bulldogs and Broncos met earlier this season at the Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio, Texas. Santa Clara scored in the first, seventh and eighth innings to win 3-2 Feb. 22 at Nelson Wolff Stadium. Quinton Perry led the Broncos with three hits, while Greg Harisis, Stevie Berman and Jose Vizcaino, Jr. each added a pair of hits as part of 12 total on the night.

Steven Wilson threw 6.0 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits, walked five and struck out three for the Broncos. Andrew Sopko also threw 6.0 innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts. The two pitchers that each finished February's game with no decisions are this Sunday's probable starters.

West Coast Conference Standings

 

Bronco Offense

Greg Harisis, who leads the Broncos in several offensive categories, is week-to-week with an undisclosed illness. He went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored in Tuesday's game at Nevada.

Jose Vizcaino, Jr. led the Broncos with a 3-for-4 night Tuesday alongside a run scored. He tops all Santa Clara hitters with a .385 batting average, 10 hits, four doubles and five runs scored (t-Perry, Berman) in conference play.

Kyle Cortopassi, Casey Munoz, Vizcaino, Jr. and Quinton Perry each picked up a pair of doubles last weekend, and the Broncos tallied 10 extra-base hits in the three-game series. Cortopassi went 4-for-8, walked twice and was hit by a pitch for a team-best .636 on-base percentage. He also leads the Broncos with a .342 batting average, and has eight walks against just five strikeouts this season.

Perry drove in a team-high three runs and Vizcaino, Jr. scored a team-best three runs against the Pilots. Perry reached safely in eight consecutive games for the Broncos leading up to Tuesday's loss. He tallied two doubles, a triple, two home runs, seven RBIs and all five of his walks this season in the process and leads the Broncos with six RBIs in nine WCC games.

Kert Woods has reached safely in his last 10 games, the best mark on the team in that span. He has also been effective on the basepaths, tying Vizcaino, Jr. with seven stolen bases on the season.

Stevie Berman leads the team with 16 walks, and is one of two Broncos with more than 10 walks on the season (Zach Looney – 12).

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).

Bronco Pitching

Friday's probable D.J. Zapata threw 5.1 innings while allowing three earned runs on nine hits with one walk and five strikeouts in his last start April 4 vs. Portland. In his prior two Friday starts, Zapata allowed three earned runs on 17 hits in 16.0 innings for a 1.69 ERA alongside two walks and five strikeouts. He leads the team with 52.2 innings pitched and has thrown a pair of complete games this season.

Saturday's probable Peter Hendron improved to 3-3 in his last start April 5, throwing 7.0 innings while allowing two earned runs on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Between Hendron and closer Reece Karalus, the Broncos held the Pilots to 0-for-8 with two outs and 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Hendron's three wins and 3.99 ERA are the best among Bronco starting pitchers in 2014.

Sunday's probable Steven Wilson threw a career-high 8.0 innings in his last start April 6 vs. Portland to earn his first collegiate win. The redshirt freshman allowed one earned run on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts, and held the Pilots to 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Karalus recorded his fifth and sixth saves of the season April 5-6 against Portland. He allowed one earned run on one hit with a walk and a strikeout in 2.0 innings Saturday and struck out two in a scoreless ninth Sunday. Karalus' opposing batting average of .179 is tops among Bronco pitchers, and he has appeared in a team-high 19 games this season.

Second-most used reliever Jason Seever boasts a 3.38 ERA in 18.2 innings over 15 appearances out of the bullpen in 2014, while holding opposing batters to a .194 average. Kevin George has struck out 19 and walked just three in 20.1 innings this season.

Scouting Gonzaga

Mitch Gunsolus enters the weekend as the West Coast Conference leader in walks with 24 on the season. The next-highest batters are USD's Connor Joe and LMU's David Edwards with 19 and 18, respectively. Gunsolus leads the Bulldogs in several major offensive categories, including batting average (.339) and doubles (7).

Jimmy Sinatro tops the club with 17 RBIs on the season, 12 of which have come in 10 West Coast Conference games. He leads the Bulldogs with a .412 batting average in WCC play, and has a .559 slugging percentage.

Caleb Wood has been one of the most effective Bulldogs on the basepaths, scoring a team-high 19 runs and a stealing a team-best seven bases this season.

Alongside Gunsolus and Wood, Payden Lamb is the only other 31-game starter for Gonzaga in 2014. Lamb is hitting .315 this season, and ranks in the top three of most major offensive categories for Bulldog hitters.

Friday's probable Taylor Jones threw 5.1 innings in his last outing April 4, allowing four earned runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He leads the Bulldogs starting rotation with three wins, a 3.20 ERA and a .230 opposing batting average in seven starts this season. He the best opposing batting average of Bulldog starters in conference play at .250.

Saturday's probable Brandon Bailey threw 7.0 innings April 5 at San Diego, allowing four earned runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He threw one of his two complete games this season in a 2-0 loss at home against Loyola Marymount March 29. Gonzaga has combined to score one run in the span of 18 innings over his last two starts.

Sunday's probable Andrew Sopko allowed four earned runs on 10 hits with one walks and two strikeouts April 6 in a 5-1 loss to San Diego. The right-hander allowed four runs in the first three innings, and settled in to pitch 7.0 innings for the Bulldogs in the series finale.

Welcome to the New Age

Several Santa Clara freshmen have seen a significant part of the action this season: Stevie Berman has made 31 appearances and 29 starts (31-29), Rory Graf-Brennen (19-8), Max Kuhns (18-14 in the field, four relief appearances), Seaver Whalen (9-6), Kyle Czaplak (27-18) and Tyler Meditz (20-5).

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. The lone upperclassman in the rotation is Friday night's starter D.J. Zapata, who is in his second season of college baseball with the Broncos.

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 collected his 46th win at Santa Clara in the victory over the Jaspers.

"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.