SCU's Tommy Medica Brings 20-Game Hit Streak Into Pepperdine Series

April 8, 2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - All-American Tommy Medica and the hard-hitting Santa Clara baseball team hosts Pepperdine this weekend at Stephen Schott Stadium. Medica leads the league in virtually every offensive category and has hit safely in 20-straight games. The three-game series begins Friday night at 7 p.m.

Pepperdine (10-15; 0-0 WCC) @ Santa Clara (13-14; 0-3 WCC)
April 9-11 | Stephen Schott Stadium | Santa Clara, Calif.
Friday 7 p.m. | Saturday 6 p.m. | Sunday 1 p.m.
LIVE VIDEO & GAMETRACKER: SantaClaraBroncos.com | Tickets

PITCHING PROBABLES
FRI - LH Matt Bywater (2-3, 2.05 ERA) vs. RH Nate Garcia (2-5, 6.02 ERA)
SAT - RH Cole Cook (1-3, 3.47 ERA) vs. RH Alex Rivers (2-4, 4.79 ERA)
SUN - LH Robert Dickman (5-2; 4.66 ERA) vs. RH Chris Mendoza (2-1; 4.55 ERA)

THRILLER NIGHT!
Friday, April 9 vs. Pepperdine -- Music Theme Night #1 = 'Bronco Baseball Thriller Night,' music featuring Michael Jackson.

SANTA CLARA (13-14) | Stats
Without question the Broncos' offense has been impressive this season, giving SCU a chance to win each time out. SCU hits .336 as a team - some 40 points higher than any other WCC team. The Broncos entered the week ranking No. 30 in the NCAA in batting average and No. 8 in doubles (2.8 p/g). The Broncos were swept last weekend at home by Portland in the WCC-opening series for both teams, getting off to a slow start in conference at 0-3. The team bounced-back to beat Pacific Tuesday night 9-3. The series with Pepperdine marks the tail end of 13-game homestand, which concludes Tuesday, April 13 vs. No. 28 Stanford.

PEPPERDINE (10-15) | Stats
The series at Santa Clara and Friday night's game marks the WCC opener for the Waves. Ranked among the nation's top-30 entering the year, Pepperdine has faced a tough non-conference schedule, playing 10 of its 25 games against ranked teams - not including single games with USC, UCLA, Oregon and Long Beach State. The Waves have legitimate front-line pitching in returning All-WCC honoree's LH Matt Bywater (2-3, 2.05 ERA) and RH Cole Cook (1-3, 3.47 ERA) who are scheduled to start Friday and Saturday. Pepperdine's pitching ranks No. 2 in the WCC but its offense is last, hitting .244.

SCU OFFENSE
Medica is far from the only dangerous hitter in the Santa Clara lineup. On Tuesday, head coach Mark O'Brien's starters each owned averages above .316. Medica - who hits third - is surrounded by the WCC's batting leader: 1B Curtis Wagner (.415 BA), who has 11 doubles and 26 RBI. Johnny Bench Award candidate, catcher Geoff Klein (.355 BA), hits cleanup. Klein has 10 doubles and 30 RBI this year. Santa Clara's power numbers are impressive but the team also has drawn a league-best 101 walks, stole 30-of-37 bases and have struck out just 125 times, another league best. INF Evan Peters (.337 BA) has moved from second base to shortstop with the injury of SS Justin Viele (.299 BA). Peters is 16-for-33 (.485 BA) in the last nine games. In a related move, INF Blake Leyva (.390 BA) has moved from third base to second. Since Leyva earned a starting role March 13, he is hitting .404 with a .444 on-base-percentage in 15-straight starts and third base and now at second.

SCU STARTING PITCHING
The Broncos fortunes seem to rest with the performance of their pitching staff. Senior ace RH Nate Garcia (2-5, 6.02 ERA) - a two-time All-WCC First Team honoree and the 2009 WCC strikeout leader - needs just four K's to reach 300 for his career. Just four pitchers in Santa Clara's 125-year baseball history have reached the 300 milestone. Garcia has fanned 51 and walked 18 this season in seven starts. On average, Garcia has pitched into the seventh inning, striking out 7.2 batters per game. RH Alex Rivers (2-4, 4.79 ERA) and RH Chris Mendoza (2-1; 4.55 ERA) are scheduled to start for SCU on Saturday and Sunday. Rivers appeared in mid-relief Tuesday against Pacific and looked sharp. The senior is looking to rebound from a loss to Portland last week, where he was touched-up for seven runs (three earned) in 3 2/3 innings - by far his shortest outing of the year. Sunday will mark the fifth-straight weekend start for Mendoza - a true freshman from San Jose. Mendoza brought a 3.80 ERA into last Sunday's start against Portland. He took his first loss, allowing a season-high seven runs (five earned). Mendoza has yet to allow a homerun this season in 29 2/3 innings.

SCU BULLPEN
Tuesday's win over Pacific was important in a number of ways for Santa Clara. Bronco head coach Mark O'Brien was especially pleased with the performance of his bullpen staff which saw five different arms limit Pacific's powerful offense to three runs. RH Steve Kalush (2-0; 3.86 ERA) pitched out of jams in the sixth and seventh to keep SCU in position to win. Closer RH J.R. Graham (1-1; 4.50 ERA, 2 SV) induced six groundball outs to seal it in the eighth and ninth. "He might not have had the best numbers but (Kalush) pitched his way out of trouble; that's something that has been difficult for us to do this year," said O'Brien Tuesday. "I thought a couple other of pitchers stood out tonight as well."

MEDICA'S HITTING STREAK AT 20
UT Tommy Medica (.407 BA) - who was named a 'WCC Player of the Month' in March - extended his hitting streak to 20 games with an RBI single in the eighth inning of SCU's win over Pacific Tuesday. Medica's streak ranks No. 2 nationally among active streaks (the leader is Kansas State's Nick Martini at 23). Medica has emerged as the best offensive player in the WCC. He entered the week leading the WCC in hits (47), runs (31), doubles (12), RBI (33), total bases (82), slugging % (.726) and stolen bases (11).

CURRENT NCAA D1 HITTING STREAKS
23 - Nick Martini - Kansas State (3/1/10 - present)
20 - Tommy Medica - Santa Clara (3/6/10 - present)
20 - Chris Benson - Utah Valley (3/21/10 - present)
20 - Chris Duffy - UCF (3/5/10 - present)
20 - Grayson Evans - UNC Wilmington (3/6/10 - present)
20 - Jeff Simpson - Stetson (2/27/10 - present) currently injured
20 - Tony Thompson - Kansas (4/26/09 - present) has not played in 2010 - injured
19 - Josh Rutledge - Alabama (3/3/10 - present)

WCC STANDINGS
Portland 3-0/18-7
LMU 15-12
San Francisco 15-14
San Diego 14-14
Pepperdine 10-15
Gonzaga 11-17
St. Mary's 9-15
Santa Clara 0-3/13-14

WCC GAMES THIS WEEKEND
Pepperdine @ Santa Clara (3)
Gonzaga @ San Francisco (3)
St. Mary's @ Portland (3)
LMU @ San Diego (3)

RECENT RESULTS/UPCOMING GAMES
W, 11-10 vs. ALBANY (3/30)
L, 4-2 vs. PORTLAND (4/1)
L, 11-6 vs. PORTLAND (4/2)
L, 11-2 vs. PORTLAND (4/3)
W, 9-3 vs. PACIFIC (4/6)
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PEPPERDINE (4/9)
PEPPERDINE (4/10)
PEPPERDINE (4/11)
#28 STANFORD (4/13)
@ San Diego (4/16)
@ San Diego (4/17)
@ San Diego (4/18)

SANTA CLARA'S GEOFF KLEIN - CANDIDATE FOR JOHNNY BENCH AWARD
The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission has added ten catchers to the official watch list for the 2010 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award delivered by Papa John's Pizza, including Santa Clara University senior catcher Geoff Klein. The award - given the nation's top collegiate catcher - will be announced after the season. Klein, the 2009 co-West Coast Conference batting champion, is off to a great start in 2010. As of April 6, Klein is batting .355 with 30 RBI and three homers. He was named the WCC `Player of the Week' on March 15 after earning all-tournament honors at the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament in Silicon Valley.

TWO BATTING CHAMPS IN LINEUP
Santa Clara catchers Geoff Klein and Tommy Medica have both won West Coast Conference batting titles - Klein doing so as a junior in 2009, hitting .379 with 21 doubles. Medica won the WCC batting crown during a phenomenal freshman season in 2007 when he hit .373 and earned Collegiate Baseball `Louisville Slugger' Freshman All-America honors.

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS
Santa Clara University baseball upperclassmen Tommy Medica and Geoff Klein were named honorable mention preseason All-America catchers by Ping!Baseball, the online publication announced today. Medica - who has fully recovered from a shoulder injury which kept him sidelined in 2009 - returns for his redshirt junior season as one of the nation's most accomplished collegiate catchers. The San Jose native and Bellarmine College Preparatory alumnus played for the USA National Team in 2007 following an All- America season as a true freshman. Klein took over the catching duties for Medica last season and turned in one of the best offensive seasons in Santa Clara's 125-year baseball history. Klein won the 2009 West Coast Conference batting crown, hitting .379 with 21 doubles. Klein owns a .343 career batting average, which ranks 8th all-time in the SCU record books. Another WCC standout was tabbed for 2010 preseason All-American honors. After winning the Triple Crown last year, Saint Mary's Troy Channing was tabbed a Louisville Slugger preseason second team All-American and was ranked No. 6 on the Rivals.com power rankings for third basemen.

UPCOMING GAME PROMOTIONS!
Sunday, April 25 vs. St. Mary's -- Postgame Autograph Day #2 = Meet the team after the game, run the bases 'Sunday Post-Game Run the Bases' - all fans invited to run the bases following each Sunday game
'Bronco Mini-Bat Night' - TBA

AROUND THE HORN PRIZES
Each game a series of 'Lucky Number Giveaways' offer fans who buy a program for $1 a chance to win ... Tony and Alba's Pizza ... Applebee's Gift Certificates ... Lunardi's Grocery Bag Full of Goodies ... FREE dinner's from Smoke Eaters ... various food prizes from Bronco Concessions.

UP NEXT
The Broncos conclude its current 13-game homestand Tuesday, April 13 against No. 28 Stanford. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.