Feb. 21, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball team opens the 2008 season this weekend at Stephen Schott Stadium. The Broncos host the Wolverines of Utah Valley in a double header on Friday, Feb. 22 beginning at 3 p.m. SCU returns to action the following afternoon against Kansas State with a 1 p.m. double header.
Last Time Out
The Broncos enter the 2008 season on a two-game win streak that carries over from the final weekend of play last spring. Santa Clara registered back-to-back 5-3 wins over Sacramento State in non-conference action.
SCU finished last season with a 27-29 overall record and a 9-12 West Coast Conference record.
On The Season
This year, baseball programs around the nation will begin play three weeks later than usual and the Broncos will play their typical 56 game schedule in just 13 weeks instead of 16 weeks.
Of those 56 games, 32 contests will be played in the friendly and comfortable confines of Stephen Schott Stadium.
Lights! Camera! Action!
For the first time under the direction of head coach Mark O'Brien, the baseball team will play for a national audience as two of their home games will be broadcasted by CSTV. Those games will be held on April 21 and 28 and both are against Bay Area rival Stanford.
Broncos Picked Third In WCC Preseason Poll
The West Coast Conference announced its 2008 baseball preseason coaches poll this week with the Broncos chosen to finish third in the league.
San Diego was chose to repeat as WCC champions. The Toreros received the maximum number of points, garnering all seven possible first place points and 49 overall points. Pepperdine was picked second with 42 overall points, while Santa Clara received the remaining first place vote and checked in at No. 3.
Medica Named To Wallace Award Watch List
Santa Clara baseball catcher Tommy Medica was one of six West Coast Conference athletes to be named to the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award; it was announced by the College Baseball Foundation.
Medica compiled one of the best rookie campaigns in Santa Clara history. He led the Broncos and the WCC with a .373 batting average and was named to both the All-WCC First Team and All-Freshman team. The San Jose, Calif., native hammered out 60 hits on the year, including nine doubles, fourth triples and a home-run. He also drove in 23 runs, while scoring 32. Medica posted a 13-game hitting streak from March 30-April 21, and also recorded 17 multi-hit games on the year. He was named to Baseball America's Freshman All-America team as well as Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team by Collegiate Baseball.
The Wallace Award is presented to the nation's top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame's annual induction festivities. The 2008 award banquet will be held Thursday, July 3, in the United Spirit Arena on the campus of Texas Tech University.
Broncos Boast Two Preseason Stopper Of The Year Candidates
Senior Jeff Lombard and redshirt sophomore Mark Willinsky of the Santa Clara baseball team were two of 40 players to be named to the initial watch list for the fourth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, it was announced Thursday. The award is given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.
The Broncos were one of two schools in the nation to have two pitchers named to the list as Arizona's Daniel Schlereth and Jason Stoffel were also named to the list. The West Coast Conference had a total of three players named to the preseason list. Joining Lombard and Willinsky was A.J. Griffin from San Diego.
Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information contacts. The initial list will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 14, including national saves leaders. At the conclusion of the regular season, the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as finalists and released Wednesday, May 28, prior to start of NCAA regional tournament competition.
The NCBWA's All-America Committee will then select the winner, with this year's recipient to be announced Wednesday, June 4, before the opening of NCAA super regional play.
With the shorter season, the Broncos pitching depth will be tested on a weekly basis as SCU will be playing four or five games a week. Luckily for Coach O'Brien, Santa Clara returns seven starting pitchers from last season, along with Mark Willinsky who redshirted last season.
Scouting Utah Valley
The Wolverines open their 2008 season this Friday against the Broncos. UV compiled a 25-30 record last season in Independent action and return 16 letterwinners and four starters.
Of their top returners, the Wolverines welcome back Jace Brinkerhoff who hit .371 last season with 12 doubles and four home runs. On the mound, Marcus Moore returns and will face the Broncos this weekend. Moore compiled a 3.92 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 87.1 innings.
All-Time vs. Utah Valley
Friday's double header marks the first meeting of the two teams.
Scouting Kansas State
The Wildcats will face the Cal Bears in double header action on Friday before battling the Broncos on Saturday. K-State enters the 2008 season after a 34-24 record last season and a 10-12 Big 12 finish.
Wiley Byron returns for his junior season with the Wildcats. In 2007, he hit .366 with eight doubles and seven home runs. On the mound, both Brad Hutt and Chase Bayuk return for their senior season. Hutt compiled a 3.07 ERA last season with 56 strikeouts in 99.2 innings, while Bayuk registered a 5.11 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 74.0 innings.
All-Time vs. Kansas State
Saturday's double header marks the first meeting of the two programs.
The Broncos open the road portion of their schedule on Tuesday, Feb. 26 against the Tigers of Pacific. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Stockton.