SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara baseball begins its final West Coast Conference series of the 2014 regular season at home against the Saint Mary's Gaels Friday-Sunday May 16-18. First pitch times are 6 p.m. Friday, followed by 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Santa Clara's 14 conference wins entering the last WCC series are the most since 2004, when the team went 16-14 in WCC play.
The Broncos continued a stretch of conference series wins last week at BYU, taking two of three games against the Cougars at Miller Park. In the series opener May 8, Santa Clara overcame a three-run deficit with five runs between the seventh and eighth, including the first home run of the season for Jose Vizcaino, Jr. to take a 7-6 lead en route to an 8-6 win. On May 9, BYU evened the series with a 16-2 win, collecting at least 15 hits for the second straight night. Santa Clara claimed the series with a 5-1 victory May 10, highlighted by a career-high 8.0 innings pitched by starter Jacob Steffens, who earned his second straight win.
The Broncos gave up seven runs in the first four innings of a midweek game at Stanford, and fell to the Cardinal 8-2 Tue., May 6 at Sunken Diamond.
Fri., May 16, 6 p.m.
SCU: RHP D.J. Zapata (3-7, 4.16 ERA) vs. SMC: LHP Ryan Brockett (5-7, 3.52 ERA)
Sat., May 17, 1 p.m.
SCU: RHP Peter Hendron (6-4, 3.83 ERA) vs. SMC: RHP Cameron Neff (5-8, 4.18 ERA)
Sun., May 18, 1 p.m.
SCU: RHP Jacob Steffens (2-4, 3.38 ERA) vs. SMC: RHP Jacob Valdez (1-4, 3.42 ERA)
Live Stats and Internet Radio/Video
John Nash is slated to call Friday and Saturday's games. David Gentile is slated to call Sunday's game. Click here for an audio/video feed.
Click here to access live stats for the weekend's games.
This Weekend's Opponent: Saint Mary's
The Gaels enter this weekend's series with an overall record of 15-36, including a 5-20 record on the road and a 7-17 record in West Coast Conference play.
Last weekend, the Gaels lost two of three games at home against the San Francisco Dons at Guisto Field. In the series opener May 9, Saint Mary's got a complete game effort from Ryan Brockett alongside two RBIs from Darian Ramage and Nate Nolan in a 4-1 win. On May 10, the Dons picked up four runs in the third and added insurance with seven runs in the ninth of a 12-3 victory. In the series finale May 11, the teams combined for all nine of their runs in the first two innings as San Francisco won 5-4.
Eric Valenzuela is in his first year as a head coach of Saint Mary's baseball. From 2010-13, Valenzuela was a pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for the San Diego State Aztecs. He has previous West Coast Conference connections as an assistant coach at San Diego and Saint Mary's, and is an alumnus of Pepperdine.
West Coast Conference Standings (as of May 15, 2014) and Playoff Scenarios
The Broncos are currently tied for fifth place with a WCC record of 14-10. Saint Mary's is currently in ninth place with a WCC record of 7-17. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams in the conference earn a berth in the West Coast Conference Baseball Championship, held May 22-24 at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif.
The following is information distributed directly from the conference regarding postseason scenarios:
* Pepperdine has already clinched a berth, and is the only team to have clinched a berth entering the season's final weekend.
* Five teams (GON, LMU, PAC, USD, SCU) are in contention for the other three playoff spots.
* 17 wins gets a team in this year's tournament for certain.
* There could be a 5-way tie for second place at 16-11.
The following is the West Coast Conference's official tiebreaking procedures:
If there is a tie in the standings after the completion of regular season play, regardless of the number of teams involved, the following factors, in this order, shall be followed until all ties are broken:
a) Head-to-head record against the other tied team, or, if more than two teams are tied, the combined record against the tied teams. Only regular season Conference games shall be considered in the tiebreaker.
b) If a tie still exists, compare the won-loss record against the other teams in the Conference (or the cumulative record of teams tied in a position) based on descending order of finish.
c) If a tie still exists, Boyd's World rankings shall be used to break the tie.
Should Gonzaga, LMU, Pacific, San Diego, and Santa Clara all finish at 16-11, the seeds would be:
2.Santa Clara (by virtue of 8-4 record vs. other 4 tied teams)
- Gonzaga, LMU, Pacific, San Diego all tied for 3-seed
- LMU, PAC, USD all 5-4 vs. other tied teams (GU 3-6)
- PAC has 4-2 record vs. LMU/USD, thus PAC is 3-seed
4. Loyola Marymount (by virtue of 4-2 record vs. Gonzaga and San Diego)
Sunday's game is the final contest of the 2014 regular season and Santa Clara baseball's Senior Day. The Broncos will honor 10 players with a pregame ceremony.
Max Deering has been a staple out of the Santa Clara bullpen since his freshman season in 2011. Deering appeared in at least 20 games in his first three seasons as a Bronco, including team-leading 33 trips to the mound as a junior in 2013. Deering has made 96 appearances — the third-most in Bronco baseball history — with 72 strikeouts and thrown 131.2 innings. Deering recorded multiple wins and saves for the Broncos in his sophomore and junior seasons.
A three-year starter for the Broncos, Greg Harisis was a 2012 First-Team All-West Coast Conference selection by leading Santa Clara with a .398 batting average and a .464 on base percentage. Harisis has made 139 starts and 118 appearances with the Broncos. He has recorded 101 runs scored, 57 runs batted in, 42 extra-base hits and 24 stolen bases. This season, he was named Rawlings WCC Player of the Week on February 24 after going 9-for-19 with three RBIs, seven runs scored two doubles and one home run as he won Irish Baseball Classic MVP honors. Harisis leads the Broncos with 43 runs scored, and either leads or is tied for the lead in doubles, triples and home runs.
Chris Heckert has made 37 relief appearances in three seasons with Bronco Baseball and has a career record of three wins and zero losses. He has struck out 29 opposing batters in 38.1 innings pitched for Santa Clara. In 2014, Heckert earned back-to-back wins in one-run games for the Broncos in February's Irish Baseball Classic.
Mac Hess has made 38 appearances and 23 starts for the Broncos in two seasons with the team. Primarily a starting first baseman for the Santa Clara this season, he hit six doubles and drove in 12 runs in 29 appearances and 22 starts. From February 28 to March 9, Hess put together an eight-game hitting streak for the Broncos and recorded for of his six doubles on the season.
In his four-year career, Zach Looney has made 169 appearances and 127 starts for Bronco baseball. A versatile defensive player, Looney has spent time in the infield, in the outfield and behind the plate. He has scored 74 runs and driven in 47 runs during his four years with the Broncos, including a single-season best 20 RBIs in 2014. This season, he has driven in multiple runs in seven games and drawn 20 walks, the second-most on the Broncos.
Casey Munoz joined the Broncos as a junior in the 2013 season, and brought an immediate impact to the Santa Clara offense as he led the team in with a .308 batting average, 64 hits, 10 doubles and 31 runs batted in. He was one of two Broncos to start all 53 games in 2013, and has appeared in all 104 games during his two seasons at Santa Clara. Munoz has recorded 16 extra-base hits this season, alongside 23 RBIs and 21 runs scored. On March 8 at Schott Stadium, he recorded a walkoff, pinch-hit RBI single as the Broncos defeated University of the Pacific 9-8.
Quinton Perry has made 110 appearances and 88 starts in his time with the Broncos. The senior tied for the team lead in home runs with five in 2012, led the team in home runs with five last season, and is tied for the team lead with four home runs in 2014. In addition to the power numbers, Perry has recorded a career-high 18 walks this season. He has 14 extra base hits alongside 22 runs batted in and 19 runs scored in 2014.
Peter Summerville has made 85 appearances and 55 starts in his Bronco career. As a sophomore in 2012, Summerville hit .313 in 21 appearances and 17 starts. He began the 2014 season with a four-game hitting streak from February 16-21. In 28 appearances this season, Summerville has recorded four doubles and five runs batted in.
Kenny Treadwell has come out of the bullpen to make 27 relief appearances in his time with the Broncos. As a junior in 2013, Treadwell pitched 21.1 innings of relief and struck out eight batters. He scored the game-winning run as a pinch runner in a 9-8 walkoff victory March 8 over University of the Pacific.
In his second year with the Broncos in 2014, DJ Zapata was the team's opening night starter and has been Santa Clara's Friday night starter all season. The senior has thrown two of Santa Clara's three complete games in 2014. Entering the weekend, he led the team with 84.1 innings pitched. In Friday's series opener, Zapata will make his 36th appearance and 15th start as a Bronco.
Greg Harisis leads Santa Clara with 43 runs scored this season, and is tied for fifth in the conference in that category. The senior has a team best 21 extra-base hits entering the weekend, and tops the Broncos in doubles (14), triples (3, t-Vizcaino, Jr.) and home runs (4, t-Berman, Perry).
In the series opener Fri., May 9 at BYU, Jose Vizcaino, Jr. drove in Santa Clara's first run of the game on an RBI groundout and hit a two-run homer — his first of the season — to give the Broncos a 7-6 lead in the eighth of an 8-6 victory. He recorded either a hit or an RBI in each of Santa Clara's four games last week. He ranks second on the Broncos with a .317 batting average and first with 10 stolen bases.
Stevie Berman led the Broncos with a .417 batting average (5-for-12) last week at BYU. He was the only Bronco batter to post more than three hits and better than a .273 average last week. On the season, Berman leads the Broncos with a .319 batting average, four home runs (t-Harisis, Perry), 26 walks (fourth in the WCC) and a .439 on-base percentage (fifth in the WCC).
Casey Munoz leads all Santa Clara batters with 23 RBIs, and is one of five hitters with at least 20 RBIs in 2014. His 13 doubles are second-most on the Broncos.
Quinton Perry was one of three Broncos to hit a home run in last week's three-game series at Miller Park. He leads Santa Clara with 17 two-out RBIs this season, seven more than the next-highest batter.
Kert Woods posted a .455 on-base percentage last week at BYU, collecting two hits and three walks while driving in two runs and scoring four more. He was the only Bronco to record multiple hits, walks, runs and RBIs last week. The sophomore recorded a pair of RBI hits for the Broncos in his first two at-bats to get the offense started in a 5-1 win May 10. Woods' seven stolen bases are second-most on the Broncos this season.
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).
Friday's probable D.J. Zapata allowed three runs (two earned) on ten hits with no walks and one strikeout for the Broncos in his last outing May 8 at BYU. Zapata did not allow a leadoff batter to reach in his 5.0 innings pitched. He has pitched two of Santa Clara's three complete games this season, and boasts a 22:9 strikeout to walk ratio in conference play.
Saturday's probable Peter Hendron allowed five earned runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 3.1 innings for the Broncos during his last start May 9 at BYU. Hendron has allowed one earned run or fewer in six of his 13 starts this season.
Sunday's probable Jacob Steffens pitched a career high 8.0 innings and allowed one earned run on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts Sat., May 10 at BYU. The Phoenix, Ariz. native faced no more than five batters in a single inning and retired seven in a row to end his outing and earn a second straight victory for the Broncos. Steffens issued first pitch strikes to 24 of the 32 batters he faced in the ballgame, and held the BYU offense to seven hits after the Cougars combined for 31 in the first two games of the series. He retired the first two batters he faced in five of Saturday's eight innings as the Broncos won to clinch their fourth straight West Coast Conference series.
Reece Karalus' 31 appearances are the most of all West Coast Conference pitchers entering the weekend series. By earning his 11th save in last week's series opener against BYU, Karalus moved into second place on the Santa Clara single-season save leader list. He trails only Anthony Rea, who recorded 13 saves in 2004.
Scouting Saint Mary's
Anthony Gonsolin leads the Gaels with a .321 batting average, 35 runs scored and 18 extra-base hits, including a conference-best and co-NCAA best eight triples on the season. Collin Ferguson has recorded team-best marks with 13 doubles, 24 RBIs and 26 walks. Darian Ramage tops the team with 13 stolen bases and is tied for fourth in the West Coast Conference in that category.
Friday's probable Ryan Brockett makes his 14th start of the season. In his last outing May 9 at San Francisco, Brockett allowed one unearned run on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts as part of a complete game victory. Brockett's 87.0 innings pitched and 63 strikeouts are the most on the Gaels this season.
Saturday's probable Cameron Neff makes his 14th start of the season. In his last outing May 10 vs. San Francisco, Neff pitched 6.0 innings and allowed four earned runs on 11 hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Neff has thrown five complete games — including two shutouts this season —which puts him atop the West Coast Conference and tied for eighth in the NCAA.
Sunday's probable Jake Valdez makes his 20th appearance and seventh start of the season. In his last outing May 11 vs. San Francisco, Valdez came out of the bullpen to throw 7.1 shutout innings, allowing just three hits and one walk with four strikeouts to the Dons. Opposing batters are hitting .227 against the right-handed batter this season.
Keep Your Enemies Closer
Santa Clara is one of 11 teams in the country to play at least 19 one-run games in the 2014 season*. The Broncos have a 10-9 record in games decided by one run. Nine of Santa Clara's last 19 games have been decided by one run (2-2) and four of the team's last seven losses have come by one run.
In the Broncos' eight West Coast Conference series this season, only two have not featured a one-run game: last week at BYU and April 4-6 vs. Portland. Three of the series have featured multiple one-run games, including all three contests against Gonzaga.
*Information gathered and distributed by Daniel Ruede – University of Hartford
Welcome to the New Age
Several Santa Clara freshmen have seen a significant part of the action this season: Stevie Berman has made 49 appearances and 47 starts (49-47), Rory Graf-Brennen (29-8), Max Kuhns (23-17 in the field, seven relief appearances), Kyle Czaplak (40-27) and Tyler Meditz (24-5).
Six of nine Bronco pitchers to make a start this season are underclassmen: sophomore Reece Karalus, sophomore Peter Hendron, sophomore Jacob Steffens, redshirt-freshman Steven Wilson, freshman Kevin George and sophomore Nick Mederios. The lone upperclassman in the weekend rotation is Friday night's starter D.J. Zapata, who is in his second season of college baseball with the Broncos.
Jacob Steffens Named WCC Rawlings Pitcher of the Week (Click Here for the full release)
Jacob Steffens was named WCC Rawlings Pitcher of the Week for May 5, 2014. Steffens is the third Bronco and first pitcher to win a conference player of the week award this season.
Steffens picked up his first win of the season in a co-career best 7.0 shutout innings and struck out a career-high nine batters Sun., May 4 in a 2-1 victory at San Francisco. The sophomore needed just six outs to best his prior career-high of three strikeouts; he struck out the side in the first and recorded an inning-ending strikeout in the second.
Stevie Berman Named WCC Rawlings Baseball Player of the Week (Click Here for the full release), College Sports Madness West Coast Player of the Week
Stevie Berman was named WCC Rawlings Baseball Player of the Week for April 28, 2014. Berman is the first freshman to win the player of the week award this season, which has now been handed out 11 times.
During Santa Clara's weekend series, the catcher from Saratoga, Calif. went 5-for-11 (.455) with a double, two home runs, four RBIs, four runs scored and three walks. Berman played an integral part in the team's success as part of a two-games-to-one series win over the second-place Loyola Marymount Lions. He slugged at a 1.091 clip and notched a .571 on-base percentage. Berman also excelled behind the plate, committing no errors and limiting the conference's stolen base leader in LMU to 2-for-4 in the three-game set.
On April 26, Berman hit home runs in his first two at-bats and added a single and two walks to reach base in all five of his trips to the plate in a 10-2 victory. He hit a two-run double to put to Broncos on the board in the first inning April 29 in an 8-7 win, and went on to go 2-for-4 with two RBIs, a walk and a run scored.
Reece Karalus Named to NCBWA Mid-Season Stopper of the Year Watch List (Click Here for the full release)
Reece Karalus is one of 50 players named to the mid-season watch list for the 10th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, announced by the association Wednesday. The sophomore closer is one of only three West Coast Conference pitchers and one of only 16 underclassmen to make the list. The North Bend, Wash. native is 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA, eight saves and 30 strikeouts in 31.2 innings between 22 relief appearances and one start this season.
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.
First Pitch Change: May 17, 2014 vs. Saint Mary's
First pitch for the second-to-last home game of the 2014 season — May 17 vs. Saint Mary's — is now scheduled for 1 p.m. The game was originally scheduled to start at 3 p.m.