April 17, 2008

Broncos Host USF In WCC Action; No. 10 Stanford On National Television

April 17, 2008

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball returns to the Mission Campus this weekend to host the University of San Francisco in West Coast Conference action. The Broncos and Dons begin the three game series on Friday, April 18 at 7 p.m. at Stephen Schott Stadium. SCU and USF continue action on Saturday and Sunday in Santa Clara with first pitches scheduled for 6 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.

The Broncos then continue their 10-games in 12 days with a nationally televised broadcast against Bay Area rival No. 10 Stanford on Monday, April 21. The game, which will air on CBS College Sports, is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. at Schott Stadium. SCU then takes to the road on Tuesday to close out the series against Fresno State. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Pete Beiden Field in Fresno.

On The Season
The Broncos are 19-14 on the season and 5-4 in West Coast Conference play. SCU opened the season with a five-game win streak, defeating Utah Valley, Kansas State, Pacific and San Jose State (Feb. 22-Feb. 29).

Offensively, redshirt senior Nathan Faulkner and junior Evan LeBlanc leads the Broncos. Faulkner bats .386 with nine runs, five home runs and 10 RBIs in just 14 games played. Meanwhile, LeBlanc is hitting .370 with 29 runs, three homers, 11 doubles and 22 RBIs. On the mound Thain Simon continues to own a team-best 1.48 ERA and 7-1 record. Sophomore Alex Rivers has also compiled three saves thus far for the Broncos in four relief appearances.

Lights! Camera! Action!
Santa Clara will have two of its regular-season non-conference games televised nationally on CBS College Sports. Highlighting the annual Bay Area rivalry, the televised games are against the Cardinal of Stanford on April 21 and April 28. Both contests, originally scheduled for 6 p.m., will now start at 5 p.m. It is the first time under the direction of Mark O'Brien that the Broncos will play on TV.

Broncos Open Annual Series Against the Cardinal With a 3-1 Loss
The Santa Clara baseball team fell 3-1 to Bay Area rival No. 10 Stanford Monday night in front of a crowd of 1,277 at Sunken Diamond. Matt Long scored the lone run, a home run to right field, for the Broncos.

Santa Clara, however, did not go down without a fight and had the opportunity to close in on Stanford in the top of the ninth. LeBlanc started off the inning with a base-hit up the middle and then advanced to second as Tommy Medica was dealt his second walk of the game. But the runs could not be brought in and the Cardinal took game one of the series.

SLAM-tastic!
Junior Brady Fuerst became the newest member of the Broncos Grand Slam Club. He rocketed in the ninth inning Friday night against Gonzaga to give the Broncos their 12 runs. He joins junior LeBlanc and senior Gabe Alcantar, who have also tallied their first collegiate grand slams for the Broncos this season. Alcantar's came in the eight-run third inning against Pacific on Wednesday, while LeBlanc hit his on the road against San Jose State on Mar. 1.

They are three of four active Broncos to have produced the feat. Last season, Ryan Conan posted his first grand slam in the ninth inning of the rubber game against USF. The four runs gave the Broncos the 10-6 win.

On The National Stage
The four week of national rankings has been released and the Broncos remain mentioned in all 25 categories. The Broncos top 50 rankings as of April 13 are:

Doubles Per Gm - No. 5
Strikeouts Per 9 Inn. - No. 26
Doubles - No. 37
Batting Avg. - No. 49
Slugging Percentage - No. 50

Individually, eight different batters and three different pitchers are ranked in the top 500. The Broncos highest rankings come to LeBlanc with is 81st in doubles. Conan is ranked 51st in the nation in sac flies, Long is 72nd in triples, while Rivers who is 86th overall in walks allowed per nine innings.

Scouting San Francisco
The Dons enter the week with a 21-15 overall record. USF fell to the 10th-ranked Cardinal Wednesday night in an 11-inning 11-10 decision. USF was swept over the weekend by Pepperdine and is currently tied with Santa Clara for third in the league standings. Both teams have a 5-4 record. Joey Railey is the only member of the Dons' squad to see action in all 35 contests. He averages .299 at the plate with 21 runs, two home runs, 20 RBIs and eight doubles. On the mound, Santa Clara will face Matt Baugh and Matt Lujan on Saturday and Sunday, while their Friday starter is TBD. Baugh owns a 4-2 record starting in all eight of the games he's competed in. He has a 3.69 ERA and has pitched two complete games for USF. Lujan is 4-1 on the season, starting in six of his nine appearances. He has a 3.19 ERA.

Last Time Out vs. USF
The Broncos won the series against the Dons last season taking two of the three games. Friday starter Nate Garcia earned the win in game one, while Jeff Lombard registered the win in game three.

All-Time vs. USF
Friday is the 216th meeting between SCU and USF. The Broncos lead the all-time series, 153-61-1.

Scouting Stanford
The Cardinal travel to UCLA for the Pac-10 weekend series before making its way to Schott Stadium on Monday. Going into the weekend, No. 10 Stanford is 19-11-1 on the season. Cord Phelps leads the Cardinal batting .376 with 27 runs, six home runs and 28 RBIs. Stanford's Monday pitcher has not been announced yet. Max Fearnow earned the win in relief on April 14 against the Broncos. He improved to 2-1 on the season.

Last Time Out vs. Stanford
The Cardinal opened the series with a 3-1 win over the Broncos at Sunken Diamond. Last season, Santa Clara went 3-1 against Stanford.

All-Time vs. Stanford
Monday's contest marks the 346th meeting of the two teams in a series that dates back to the 1892 season. The Cardinal owns a 179-159-7 all-time record.

Scouting Fresno State
The Bulldogs enter Tuesday's contests after facing New Mexico State in a four game WAC series over the weekend. Prior to leaving for Las Cruces, Fresno State fell 10-7 to Cal Poly. Alan Ahmady leads Fresno State offensively, hitting .380 with 23 runs, a team-best seven home runs and 43 RBIs. Erik Wetzel is right behind him batting .370 with a team-best 46 runs. It has not been announced who the Broncos will face on the mound. However, the Bulldogs have a team ERA of 4.19 with Justin Miller leading the way with a 5-0 record and a 1.29 ERA. Meanwhile, Tanner Scheppers has struck out a team-best 76 batters.

Last Time Out vs. Fresno State
The Broncos and Bulldogs last met on March 4 at Schott Stadium where the Broncos rallied to a 6-5 victory in 10 innings. The final run of the game was scored by Medica who advanced home as Patrick Glenn was dealt a walk with bases loaded.

All-Time vs. Fresno State
Tuesday's contest is the 114th meeting of the two programs in a series in which Fresno State leads 70-43-0.

On Deck
The Broncos return to Schott Stadium to host the Vulcans of the University of Hawai'i-Hilo for a three-game weekend series. SCU and UHH begin action on Friday, April 24 at 7 p.m. The two teams continue play on Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

The Broncos then host the Cardinal for game three of the four single game series. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Schott Stadium and will be nationally televised on CBS College Sports. Santa Clara closes out its home-stand with a non-conference battle against Sacramento State. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m.