SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball welcomes the Gonzaga Bulldogs to Stephen Schott Stadium for a three-game series that begins on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT.
Games #33-35 | Home Games #21-23
Santa Clara, Calif. | Stephen Schott Stadium
All-Time Series: Gonzaga holds a 46-43 advantage in the all-time series over the Broncos that dates back to 1973. SCU won the series at Gonzaga last year, taking two games from the Bulldogs.
Probable Starters (2017 Stats)
Thursday, April 13 • 6 p.m. PT
SCU Brandon Buckley (0-1, 2.22 ERA) vs. GON RHP Eli Morgan (5-1, 2.02 ERA)
Friday, April 14 • 6 p.m. PT
SCU Grant Nechak (1-4, 4.79 ERA) vs. GON RHP Justin Vernia (5-2, 1.79 ERA)
Saturday, April 15 • 1 p.m. PT
SCU RHP Jacob Steffens (2-4, 4.53 ERA) vs. GON Casey Legumina (0-4, 5.23 ERA)
Last Time Out
Santa Clara won one of three games at Loyola Marymount last weekend. Sophomore third baseman John Cresto had a strong week at the plate, going 8-for-18 with four doubles, two home runs and six runs batted in while scoring five runs himself. On Tuesday, the Broncos played a midweek game at Cal Poly and lost by a score of 15-0.
Santa Clara (7-25, 3-6 WCC) has 15 newcomers on the 2017 squad and many of them will play significant roles this season. "We really focused on getting humble, hard working, grinders," head coach Dan O'Brien said on Feb. 14 at Bay Area Baseball Media Day.
Andre Nnebe, a freshman centerfielder who hails from Oakland, California, boasts the third-best batting average on the squad at .297. He has started every game this season and has recorded 38 hits including seven doubles and three home runs while driving in 19 runs. He has also recorded 76 putouts and three assists in the outfield.
Brandon Buckley, a freshman out of Kentfield, California, has been a bright spot for SCU out of the bullpen. He has made 14 appearances and pitched 28.1 innings, allowing just seven earned runs (13 runs total) and 20 hits while striking out 39 batters. He also has the best ERA on the team at 2.22.
Catcher Jake MacNichols, a freshman from Napa, California, went deep in his first collegiate at-bat on Feb. 18. He has started 25 of 32 games and has hit four home runs on the year. MacNichols also has 198 putouts and 32 assists for a .970 fielding percentage. Opposing baserunners have been caught stealing by MacNichols on 13 occasions this year, the best mark in the WCC.
Broncos in the Field
Sophomore third baseman John Cresto, a 2016 WCC All-Freshman Team member, is hitting .312, which is the best mark on the squad. He is second on the team and is tied for seventh in the league in doubles with 10. Cresto has also hit six home runs on the season, which is the most on the team and tied for the sixth-best total in the WCC. He is second on the squad in runs driven in with 17, two behind Nnebe.
Junior Jake Brodt has made 121 starts in his career, playing primarily at first base. Brodt has the No. 2 batting average on the club at .307 and has recorded 39 hits (127 at-bats). He is first in the West Coast Conference and 31st in the nation with 13 doubles (0.42 per game).
2016 West Coast Conference Honorable Mention honoree Tyler Meditz, a senior outfielder, has started every game for the Broncos this season. The Honolulu, Hawaii native is hitting .239 on the year. He has hit three home runs while driving in nine runs on the year. He has 62 putouts as the starting left fielder.
Junior designated hitter Niko Holm recovered from a slow start at the plate to have the best on-base percentage on the squad at .425. He has been walked 15 times and hit by a pitch seven times on the season. He has a .277 batting average with 23 hits, including six doubles, a triple and five runs batted in on the year.
Redshirt freshman Ryan McCarthy has seen time at designated hitter as well lately and has performed for the Broncos. He owns a .264 batting average, recording 14 hits in 53 at-bats. McCarthy has already hit five doubles, one home run and driven in seven runs.
Junior shortstop Austin Fisher has started in 20 games for SCU and done a good job offensively and defensively for SCU. He's recorded 36 putouts and 51 assists for a .956 fielding percentage. He has recorded 11 hits at the plate including a double, a triple and two home runs while driving in five runs and scoring 10 himself. He's also walked nine times and been hit by a pitch once.
Santa Clara is third in the WCC in home runs (25) and home runs per game (0.78) on the season with 10 different student-athletes hitting those home runs.
Broncos on the Mound
Santa Clara is second in the league in strikeouts per nine innings at 8.2.
Redshirt senior RHP Jacob Steffens has stepped into the starting rotation after being a relief pitcher in 2016 (recovering from Tommy John). Steffens threw his first-career complete game against Northwestern (March 3) and tied a career high in strikeouts with 11. Steffens threw another complete game at Portland (April 1), also striking out 11 batters. He has thrown 55.2 innings, allowing 28 earned runs (35 runs total) while striking out 61 batters. His 61 Ks is the No. 36 mark in the nation and No. 2 in the conference. Steffens is also third in the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 5.08.
Redshirt sophomore RHP Eric Lex has been the No. 2 starter for SCU this season after missing the 2016 season (due to Tommy John surgery). He is 2-5 on the year with a 3.77 ERA in 45.1 innings pitched. He has recorded 46 strikeouts, the fifth-best mark in the league.
Junior Michael Bono has made seven starts this season and has shown a lot of improvement in his time as a Bronco. He has thrown 34.0 innings and has an ERA of 6.88.
Freshman Grant Nechak has made six starts on the year and 12 appearances total. He earned the first win of his collegiate career on March 4 against Northwestern. Nechak allowed just four hits in his 7.0 innings pitched and struck out eight batters without allowing a single walk in that game. The 6-4 right-handed pitcher is 1-4 on the year and has thrown 35.2 innings with a 4.79 ERA.
With 15 newcomers, the Broncos have a very young squad but the team was also dealt two injury blows prior to the start of the 2017 season. Pitchers Steven Wilson and Travis Howard, both of which were likely to be weekend starters, suffered season-ending injuries.
The Bulldogs own a 17-14 record overall but have gone 8-4 in WCC play. Gonzaga is fresh off a series win at home against then-No. 19 San Diego. The Bulldogs were scheduled to play at No. 1 Oregon State on Tuesday night but it was canceled due to rain. Starting pitcher Eli Morgan has been named WCC Pitcher of the Week four times this season. He has thrown three complete games, allows 5.43 hits per nine innings (No. 26 in the nation), has recorded 72 strikeouts (No. 9 in the nation) and has a WHIP of 0.84. As a pitching staff, they allow just 2.68 walks per nine innings, the 11th-best total in the country. The team has an ERA of 3.16, a top-25 mark in the nation, but scores just 4.3 runs per game, which is eighth in the conference.
WCC Friday Night Baseball on TheW.tv
Hot Chocolate Hitter: Join us every Friday night for the Hot Chocolate Hitters of the game! In each inning, if the leadoff batter for the Broncos gets a base hit, hot chocolate is only $1 at Bronco concessions for the remainder of that half inning. Spice up your hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and more!
Strikeouts for Sandwiches presented by Sub Hub: Join us every Friday for Strikeouts for Sandwiches presented by Sub Hub. If the Bronco pitching staff collects at least 5 strikeouts, all fans will go home with a Sub Hub coupon redeemable for a $5 sandwich meal that includes chips and a drink. Sub Hub is located on the corner of El Camino and Palm Drive, across from campus.
Sub Hub Saturday: If the Broncos win, all fans will leave the stadium with a Buy One, Get One 1/2 voucher to Sub Hub. Sub Hub is located on the corner of El Camino and Palm Drive, across from campus.
Parking: Parking is available in the Guadalupe lot, adjacent to 455 El Camino Real. The Guadalupe lot is reserved beginning 60 minutes before game time through the end of the event for free parking. Baseball parking is no longer allowed in the lot behind Schott Stadium's left field wall. ADA parking is available in the lot directly in front of the main gates; there is no general public parking in this lot. Overflow parking is available in the Leavey Center lot, located on Accolti Way off El Camino Real. Spectators who plan to arrive more than an hour prior to game time on weekdays are encouraged to purchase a parking permit for the Leavey lot. During the weekend, campus parking facilities are free (except for permit required locations). Click here for a campus map and parking restrictions.
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