SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball will play against No. 9/11 Stanford on Wednesday in what is the final game for the Broncos in Stephen Schott Stadium this season. This is the second midweek matchup of the year between the Broncos and the Cardinal.
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Game #50 | Home Game #34
Santa Clara, Calif. | Stephen Schott Stadium
All-Time Series: The Cardinal owns a 194-165-7 advantage over the Broncos in the all-time series between the two clubs that dates back to 1892. Stanford won the first matchup of the season on April 25 by a score of 8-2 at Sunken Diamond.
Probable Starters (2017 Stats)
Wednesday, May 17 • 6 p.m. PT
SCU RHP Bryson Spagnuolo (1-3, 12.68 ERA) vs. STAN LHP Erik Miller (3-1, 3.38 ERA)
Last Time Out
Santa Clara earned a series win in its final three-game set of the season at Stephen Schott Stadium. The Broncos won 5-3 on Friday with Jake Brodt driving in all five runs for SCU and Grant Nechak earning the win on the mound. Saturday's 7-2 win saw Jacob Steffens earn his fourth complete-game victory of the season as he struck out nine batters. Pacific won the series finale on Senior Day by a score of 6-2.
Jake Brodt continued to perform well at the plate as he drove in all five runs for SCU on Friday night, a career high, on a 3-for-4 effort from the plate, which included a pair of home runs. It was the first multi-home run game of his career. For the weekend, he went 6-for-13 at the plate and helped the Broncos to a series win against Pacific.
Santa Clara (13-36, 9-15 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 .303. He has started every game this season and has recorded 60 hits including eight doubles and three home runs while driving in 22 runs. He leads the team in stolen bases with 10 (on 13 attempts) and has recorded 139 putouts and six 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 second-best ERA on the team at 2.97.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Alonzo Billips, who hails from Los Angeles, California, has made 11 appearances out of the bullpen for Santa Clara and thrown 13.2 innings for an ERA of 3.95. He earned two wins at Pepperdine and is now 2-0 for his collegiate career. Billips also picked up his first collegiate save against Pacific. He has allowed six earned runs (nine total) and 14 hits while striking out five batters.
Catcher Jake MacNichols, a freshman from Napa, California, went deep in his first collegiate at-bat on Feb. 18. He has started 27 games this season (appeared in 38) and has hit five home runs. MacNichols also has 212 putouts and 35 assists for a .972 fielding percentage. Opposing baserunners have been caught stealing by MacNichols on 13 occasions this year, the second-best mark in the WCC.
Broncos in the Field
Sophomore third baseman John Cresto, a 2016 WCC All-Freshman Team member, is hitting .308, which is the second-best mark on the squad. He is second on the team and is tied for seventh in the league in doubles with 16. Cresto has also hit 10 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 25.
Junior Jake Brodt has made 138 starts in his career, playing primarily at first base. Brodt has the No. 1 batting average on the club at .333 and has recorded 67 hits. He is second in the West Coast Conference and tied for 30th in the nation with 19 doubles (0.39 per game). Brodt will crack the SCU all-time top-10 list for doubles in a single season if he reaches 20. His 32 runs batted in are the most on the squad and he is tied for second on the club with five home runs.
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 .243 with six doubles and five home runs while driving in 20 runs on the year. He has 104 putouts as the starting left fielder and two assists.
Junior designated hitter Niko Holm recovered from a slow start at the plate to have the best on-base percentage on the squad at .427 and the No. 4 batting average at .286. He has been walked 23 times and hit by a pitch 13 times on the season. His 13 times being hit by a pitch is a top-50 mark in the nation. The junior has recorded 40 hits (140 at-bats), including seven doubles, a triple, two home runs and nine runs batted in on the year.
Junior second baseman Evan Haberle has a batting average of .287 on the year. He has made 30 starts (played in 39 games) on the season and has recorded 27 hits in 97 at-bats. Haberle has recorded three doubles, a triple and two home runs for SCU while driving in 15 runs. He also has an on-base percentage of .407, drawing 19 walks and reaching base via hit-by-pitch on two occasions.
Junior shortstop Austin Fisher has started in 37 games for SCU and been very steady for the Broncos. He's recorded 58 putouts and 104 assists for a .964 fielding percentage. He has recorded 24 hits at the plate including two doubles, a triple and two home runs while driving in 11 runs and scoring 15 himself. He's also walked 12 times and been hit by a pitch once.
Santa Clara is third in the WCC in home runs (44) and home runs per game (0.90) on the season with 13 different student-athletes hitting those home runs.
Broncos on the Mound
Redshirt senior RHP Jacob Steffens stepped into the starting rotation after being a relief pitcher in 2016 (recovering from Tommy John). He is 4-6 on the year with a save and a 4.66 ERA. 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 and earned his third complete-game victory of the season at Pepperdine (April 30). In his final start at Stephen Schott Stadium against Pacific (May 13), Steffens earned his fourth complete-game victory, allowing just two earned runs while striking out nine batters. He has thrown 94.2 innings, allowing 49 earned runs (58 runs total) while striking out 93 batters. His 93 Ks rank as the No. 33 mark in the nation and No. 3 in the conference. Steffens is also sixth in the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 4.65.
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 3-8 on the year with a 4.32 ERA in 77.0 innings pitched. He has recorded 68 strikeouts, the seventh-best mark in the league. Lex threw a career-high 8.0 innings against San Francisco (April 21) and it was arguably the best outing of his career. He allowed six hits, two earned runs, did not walk a batter and struck out four.
Freshman Grant Nechak has made 11 starts on the year and 17 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. He was handed the loss against San Francisco (April 22) but he had a strong outing, throwing 7.0 innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs (three total). He walked two batters and struck out four. Nechak earned his second collegiate win against Pacific (May 12) with an impressive outing where he threw 8.0 innings and allowed just four hits and three earned runs. The 6-4 right-handed pitcher is 2-6 on the year and has thrown 66.1 innings with a 4.75 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 Cardinal is 33-14 this season and 15-9 in Pac-12 action. The squad has won 15 of its last 17 games heading into Wednesday's game. The Cardinal owns the No. 22 ranked ERA in the nation at 3.46 while scoring 5.1 runs per game. Colton Hock has recorded 14 saves on the year, tied for the No. 4 mark in the country. In the latest rankings, Baseball America has the team ranked ninth in the nation while D1Baseball regards them as the 11th-best team in the country.
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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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