April 19, 2007

Bronco Baseball Heads South To Malibu For Crucial WCC Series Against No. 11 Pepperdine

April 19, 2007

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The race for one of the top two spots in the West Coast Conference standings, and the opportunity to advance to the WCC Championship Series, heats up this weekend as Santa Clara (19-19, 5-4 WCC) travels to Malibu to face the WCC-leading No. 11 Pepperdine Waves (28-12, 8-1 WCC). Entering this weekend, the Broncos sit three games back of the Waves and two back of second-place San Diego.

About the Broncos
Santa Clara (19-19, 5-4) is coming off of a strong 6-3 win at Stanford Tuesday night, as starter Sean O'Neill allowed only two earned runs on four hits over six innings, and Carl Bacon went 2-for-4 with a two-run double. Last weekend, SCU dropped two of three to the Gonzaga Bulldogs, their first series loss in WCC play this season. Friday night, a late three-run home run gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead which they held onto the rest of the way. The Broncos rebounded for a 5-3 win Saturday behind the pitching effort of Matt Wickswat, who improved to 5-4 on the year, and home runs from Gabe Alcantar and Jon Karcich. But on Sunday, the Bulldogs overcame an early 3-2 deficit to score four unanswered runs and capture the series with the 6-3 win.

About Pepperdine
No. 11 Pepperdine (28-12, 8-1) heads into this weekend looking to bounce back from a 6-2 loss Tuesday night at UCLA. Last weekend, the Waves captured their third straight WCC series victory, taking two of three from San Francisco on the road last weekend. The Waves are enjoying a strong year which includes series wins over Wichita State and UNLV, as well as wins over USC and Oklahoma. Adrian Ortiz leads the Waves with a .398 average, 68 hits, and 42 runs, while Ryan Heroy leads the team with four homers, and Danny Worth and Chase d'Arnaud, each have three. Ace Barry Enright has been dominating on the mound, osting a 9-1 record to go with a 1.41 ERA, while no. 2 starter Ryan Dickmann boasts a 5-1 mark with a 3.67 ERA.

Finding the Form
After suffering a tough loss last week in San Francisco, sophomore lefty Matt Wickswat bounced back nicely Saturday against Gonzaga, allowing only four hits and two runs and striking out 10 in seven innings to help the Broncos to a 5-3 win. The 10 K's mark the third time this season that Wickswat has reached double digits in strikeouts in a game, and with the victory he earned his fifth win of the year and reduced his ERA to 3.45.

Still Battering Away
After batting .769 in four games two weeks ago, it can be comically stated that freshman catcher Tommy Medica "slumped" with a .500 (7-for-14) effort this past weekend against Gonzaga. Medica improved his season average to a team-leading .402, and hit his third triple of the season, leaving him one back of the WCC lead.

Power Surge
The Broncos brought the power in last weekend's series against Gonzaga, pounding out five doubles and four homers over the three games. Ryan Conan led the way with two long balls, bringing his team-leading total to six, tying him for third in the WCC. Gabe Alcantar and Jon Karcich also hit their second home runs of the year against the Bulldogs, while Evan LeBlanc added a pair of doubles.

Production From the Six
Freshman shortstop John Karcich, who also wears No. 6, showed some production from the plate last weekend, batting .400 (4-for-10) with a double, a home run, and three RBIs. While Karcich is a solid defensive shortstop, his recent production from the plate has been an added bonus for the Bronco offense.

Shutting the Door
Junior closer Jeff Lombard continues to make his case as one of the top relievers in the West Coast Conference, getting the final out in Tuesday night's 6-3 win at Stanford to pick up his eighth save of the year. Lombard also earned his seventh save in last Saturday's 5-3 win over Gonzaga. On the year Lombard is second in the WCC in saves, and also posts a 2.48 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 29 innings of work.

Cookin' On a Hot Plate
Following a 2-for-4, two-RBI effort in Tuesday night's win over Stanford, senior catcher Carl Bacon raised his career-high average to .338 and continued his fine season. His eighth-inning double down the left-field line Tuesday night not only gave him eight for the year, but also brought in two runs that gave the Broncos a much-needed three-run cushion over the Cardinal, and provided the winning margin in the 6-3 win.

SCU Offers Live Web Coverage of Home Games
When the Santa Clara baseball program moved into Stephen Schott Stadium, the multimedia coverage on www.santaclarabroncos.com increased. Bronco fans can listen to the WCC action live on Broncos All-Access, and as always, all Bronco baseball games will also be covered on Gametracker.

2007 Freshman Class Noted Among the Nation's Best
The Santa Clara University baseball program received an accolade from the Collegiate Baseball newspaper as the Broncos' 2006 recruiting class was named on of the Top-40 classes in the nation, coming in at No. 28, tops among West Coast Conference schools. The members of this class, who are currently in their first year on the Mission Campus, will look this spring to help lead the squad to its first WCC title since 1997.

Of the freshman class in 2007, Nathan Garcia (Bellarmine College Prep), Patrick Glenn (Amador Valley HS), Matthew Hiserman (Capistrano Valley HS), Steven Kalush (Aragon HS), Jon Karcich (Serra HS), Geoffrey Klein (Ocean View HS), Tommy Medica (Bellarmine College Prep), Alex Rivers (Tokay HS) and Dylan Slocum (Paloma Valley HS) make up the California contingent. Tayler Thomas (Salpointe Catholic HS) hails from Arizona and Jeremy Zink (Garfield HS) will come to the Mission Campus from the state of Washington.

Four Broncos Named to All-WCC 40th Anniversary Team
The West Coast Conference announced its 40th Anniversary Baseball Team in early January, and four Broncos were named to the 40-man squad. LHP Rich Troedson (1969-72), catcher Troy Buckley (1987-89), RHP Bob Pailthorpe (1992-95), and outfielder Mike Frank (1994-97) were all honored for their achievements on the diamond.

SCU Baseball Picked to Finish Sixth in WCC Preseason Poll
The Santa Clara baseball team was selected to finished sixth in the West Coast Conference in the 2007 WCC preseason poll, as selected by the conference coaches. The Broncos were picked to finished behind Pepperdine, San Diego, San Francisco, LMU and Gonzaga. Santa Clara claimed the sixth position with 18 total points.