SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball and the San Francisco Dons are set to play a three-game series this weekend at Stephen Schott Stadium. The series opener will take place at 6 p.m. PT on Friday.
Games #36-38 | Home Games #24-26
Santa Clara, Calif. | Stephen Schott Stadium
All-Time Series: The Broncos own a 161-80-1 all-time record against the Dons in a series that dates back to 1931. In the 2016 series, the Dons took two of three games from the Broncos at Schott Stadium.
Probable Starters (2017 Stats)
Friday, April 21 • 6 p.m. PT
SCU RHP Eric Lex (2-6, 4.11 ERA) vs. USF RHP Grant Goodman (3-2, 4.09 ERA)
Saturday, April 22 • 6 p.m. PT
SCU RHP Grant Nechak (1-4, 5.09 ERA) vs. USF RHP Thomas Ponticelli (1-1, 2.01 ERA)
Sunday, April 23 • 1 p.m. PT
SCU Jacob Steffens (2-4, 4.97 ERA) vs. USF Daniel Slominski (3-4, 3.81 ERA)
Last Time Out
Santa Clara lost to Cal Poly on Tuesday of last week and then dropped three games to Gonzaga over the weekend. Junior second baseman Evan Haberle had a good week at the plate for SCU, recording seven hits in 10 at-bats, including a double and a home run. Junior right fielder Niko Holm also had a good showing, recording six hits (13 at-bats) with a double, home run and three runs batted in. As a whole, the SCU offense performed well, scoring 21 runs over three games against the Bulldogs.
Santa Clara (7-28, 3-9 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 second-best batting average on the squad at .308. He has started every game this season and has recorded 44 hits including eight doubles and three home runs while driving in 20 runs, the top mark on the squad. He has also recorded 86 putouts and four 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 16 appearances and pitched 33.1 innings, allowing 11 earned runs (17 runs total) and 24 hits while striking out 44 batters. He also has the best ERA on the team at 2.97.
Catcher Jake MacNichols, a freshman from Napa, California, went deep in his first collegiate at-bat on Feb. 18. He has started 25 games this season (appeared in 30) and has hit four home runs. 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 .314, which is the best mark on the squad. He is second on the team and is tied for fifth in the league in doubles with 12. Cresto has also hit seven home runs on the season, which is the most on the team and tied for the seventh-best total in the WCC. He is second on the squad in runs driven in with 19, one behind Nnebe.
Junior Jake Brodt has made 124 starts in his career, playing primarily at first base. Brodt has the No. 4 batting average on the club at .296 and has recorded 42 hits (142 at-bats). He is first in the West Coast Conference and tied for 17th in the nation with 15 doubles (0.43 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 .244 on the year. He has hit four doubles and three home runs while driving in nine runs on the year. He has 80 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 .433 and the No. 3 batting average at .298. He has been walked 16 times and hit by a pitch eight times on the season. He has recorded 28 hits (94 at-bats), including six doubles, a triple, a home run and eight 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 .258 batting average, recording 17 hits in 66 at-bats. McCarthy has already hit six doubles, two home runs and driven in 11 runs.
Junior shortstop Austin Fisher has started in 23 games for SCU and done a good job offensively and defensively. He's recorded 38 putouts and 56 assists for a .959 fielding percentage. He has recorded 14 hits at the plate including a double, a triple and two home runs while driving in seven runs and scoring 11 himself. He's also walked 10 times and been hit by a pitch once.
Santa Clara is third in the WCC in home runs (29) and home runs per game (0.83) on the season with 11 different student-athletes hitting those home runs.
Broncos on the Mound
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 63.1 innings, allowing 35 earned runs (42 runs total) while striking out 68 batters. His 68 Ks is the No. 33 mark in the nation and No. 2 in the conference. Steffens is also fifth in the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 4.86.
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 2-6 on the year with a 4.11 ERA in 50.1 innings pitched. He has recorded 53 strikeouts, the seventh-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 for the club and has posted 21 strikeouts.
Freshman Grant Nechak has made seven starts on the year and 13 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 40.2 innings with a 5.09 ERA.
Santa Clara is second in the league in strikeouts per nine innings at 8.1.
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 Dons are 19-19 on the year and 5-10 in West Coast Conference action. They won two out of three games at home against Portland last weekend and then split two games on Monday and Tuesday against Sacramento State. San Francisco leads the league and is 35th in the nation in fielding percentage at 0.977. The squad also is tops in the WCC in stolen bases at 57, the 26th-best mark in the country. As a team they have an ERA of 3.70 and score 5.4 runs per game.
Tye Dye Night: Join us in the entrance plaza at Schott Stadium for Tye Dye Night! One white Santa Clara t-shirt will be provided to fans that wish to participate.
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.
Ruff Rider Promotions
Tye Dye Night: Join us in the entrance plaza at Schott Stadium for Tye Dye Night! One white Ruff Riders bandana will be provided to Ruff Riders while supplies last.
Enter to win a pair of tickets to see Dierks Bentley, Cole Swindell, and Jon Pardi. Wear your Ruff Riders t-shirt and hat to the game for TWO additional entries into the country concert raffle.
Happy Earth Day!
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.
Bronco Kids Club membership pick-up: There's still time to pick up your Bronco Kids membership packets if you haven't already! Packets are available for pick up at the marketing table located in the entrance plaza.
Parking: Parking is now 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. Overflow parking is available in the Leavey Center lot. Spectators that plan to arrive more than an hour prior to game time on weekdays are encouraged to purchase a parking permit for the Leavey lot. All SCU lot parking is free on weekends. ADA parking is available in the lot directly in front of the main gates; there is no general public parking in this lot. Follow signs for parking instructions.
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