Feb. 19, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball team opens the 2009 season at the first annual Summit Hospitality Invitational on Feb. 20-22 in Raleigh, N.C. The Broncos begin the weekend against the Musketeers of Xavier on Feb. 20 at 8 a.m. SCU then faces Rhode Island on Feb. 21 at 8 a.m., and N.C. State on Feb. 22 at Noon.
The Broncos produced one of their more successful seasons under the direction of head coach Mark O'Brien in 2008. With a record of 33-22, Santa Clara compiled its most wins in a single season since the 2003 season when SCU tallied 31 victories. SCU also had its largest group of players since 1996 honored by the West Coast Conference and continued its tradition of freshman All-Americans with Thain Simon earning three honors. The Broncos finished third in the WCC with a record of 13-8.
SCU returns 23 letterwinners and welcomes a talented class of freshmen and a junior college transfer. The Broncos' experience comes from All-WCC honorees Brady Fuerst, Nate Garcia, Jon Karcich, Matt Long, Tommy Medica and Simon.
The Musketeers begin the season returning eight of their starting position players and 18 letterwinners. Last season Xavier tied for first in the Atlantic-10 Conference with a 19-8 record and had a 27-31 overall mark. Key returners for Coach Scott Googins are seniors Steve Brown (IF/OF - .350, 72 H, 41 R, 29 RBI, 7 SB) and Jordan Conley (IF/RHP - .306, 64 H, 34 RBI, 1.19 ERA, 2-2, 10 SV).
All-Time/Last Time vs. Xavier
Friday's game marks the first-ever meeting of the two programs.
Scouting Rhode Island
The Rams will face the Wolfpack of N.C. State in the first round of the tournament before battling the Broncos on Saturday. URI returns six starting position players, 20 letterwinners and 10 pitchers. Last season, Coach Jim Foster led the team to a 31-27-1 overall record and a fifth place Atlantic-10 finish with a 15-11 record. Key returning players for the Rams are senior Dan Rhault (INF - .316, 35 RBI, 6 SB) and junior Tim Boyce (RHP - 4-1, 0.89 ERA, 36 K, 5 SV).
All-Time/Last Time vs. Rhode Island
Saturday's game is the first meeting of the two programs.
Scouting N.C. State
The Wolfpack posted a 42-22 overall record in 2008 and finished second in the ACC with an 18-11 mark. N.C. State advanced to the Athens Super Regional but lost the series against Georgia 2-1. Coach Elliott Avent returns 22 letterwinners, eight relievers and just four starting position players. Key returners for the Wolfpack are redshirt senior Pat Ferguson (IF - .320, 11 2B, 9 HR, 41 RBI) and junior Jimmy Gillheeney (LHP - 2-0, 1.12, 10 SV).
All-Time/Last Time vs. N.C. State
Sunday's game marks the first meeting of the two programs.
Santa Clara opens its home schedule on Wednesday, Feb. 25 against California. First pitch between the Broncos and Golden Bears is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Stephen Schott Stadium. SCU continues action that weekend with a three-game series against San Jose State. The Broncos travel down the Alameda on Friday, Feb. 27 and Sunday, March 1 to play the Spartans at Municipal Stadium. Santa Clara will host SJSU on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 1 p.m.
Medica, Simon Earn Preseason All-America Honors
Junior Medica and sophomore Simon picked up three preseason All-America honors as they both were named to the Louisville Slugger, Recruiting Closer and CollegeBaseballInsider.com Preseason lists. Medica, a unanimous All-WCC honoree, led SCU in on-base percentage and tied for second in doubles (15) and ranked second in triples and walks. Simon earned three freshmen All-America honors in 2008 and was named the WCC's Freshman of the Year.
Medica Goes Streaking
Junior catcher Medica enters the season riding a career-high and team-best 29 game hitting streak. Of those 29 games, he produced 27 multi-hit performances. The streak began on April 5 against Portland and includes 25 runs, four home runs, six doubles, two triples and 26 RBIs.
Simon Named to Two Watch Lists
RHP Simon was named to two preseason watch lists. He was one of six West Coast Conference athletes to be named to the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award and one of three from the WCC named to the NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year watch list.
One To Go!
Head coach O'Brien heads into the 2009 season just one win away from his career 200th (199-190). When O'Brien reaches the mark, he will join John Oldham and Sal Taormina as the only Bronco baseball head coaches earn 200 wins.
Lights! Camera! Action!
Santa Clara will return to the bright lights of national television this season. The Broncos' final game against the Toreros of San Diego on April 5 will be aired on ESPNU. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. from Stephen Schott Stadium. Last season, Santa Clara played Bay Area rival Stanford in two games televised on CBS College Sports. The Broncos are 1-1 in TV games.