May 14, 2008

SCU And Pepperdine Battle For Trip To WCC Championship Series

May 14, 2008

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball team will battle for a trip to the West Coast Conference Championship Series this weekend. The Broncos host the Waves of No. 13 Pepperdine in the final weekend of WCC regular-season action. The Broncos and Waves are half a game apart and begin action in the three-game series on Friday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at Schott Stadium. The series continues with Senior Night with a 6 p.m. start time on Saturday, May 17, and comes to a close on Sunday, May 18 at 1 p.m.

The Broncos officially close out the regular-season on Tuesday, May 20 against the Tigers of Pacific. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Schott Stadium.

Fan Fun Packed Final Weekend
The final weekend of SCU baseball this season starts off with a tribute to the Broncos' four graduating seniors on Saturday, May 17 and continues with fun-filled fan and athlete festivities on Sunday.

May 18 marks the Broncos' Second Annual Student-Athlete BBQ prior to first pitch. Student-athletes from all 19 NCAA Division I sports will parade the field at Schott Stadium and highlights for the 2007-08 season will be shared throughout the ball game. Santa Clara Athletics will then honor the anniversary of the passing of Pat Malley with a pregame tribute. The honorary first pitch of the day will be thrown out simultaneously by the grandchildren of Malley, Christina Malley and Caitlin Bellotti.

On The Season
The Broncos have compiled their best season under the direction of head coach Mark O'Brien and look for their first postseason berth since 1997. SCU is 32-19 (.627) overall and 12-6 in WCC play.

Offensively, junior Evan LeBlanc and sophomore Jon Karcich remain on top of the Bronco stats sheet. LeBlanc leads the team batting .376 with 52 runs, 14 doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 39 RBIs. Karcich is second on the squad, hitting .368 and leads the team with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs. He also has 43 runs and 14 doubles. Thain Simon continues to own a team-best 2.80 ERA and 9-2 record. Sophomore Nate Garcia is second on the team, with a 3.69 ERA and a 6-3 overall record, while Mark Willinsky leads the Broncos with five saves.

Broncos' Hit Parade
The Broncos are one the top teams in the nation in hits and doubles per game. SCU is ranked No. 17 with 604 hits on the season, while being ranked No. 21 overall, averaging 2.33 doubles per outing. Santa Clara also leads the West Coast Conference in hits and home runs.

Broncos Sweep Gaels
SCU completed its fourth series sweep of the season Sunday night as they defeated Saint Mary's in WCC action. The Broncos won game one, 12-6; game two, 9-8 in 10 innings; and game three, 14-6. LeBlanc homered twice over the weekend, scored six runs and drove in four. Karcich tallied home run No. 11 and scored six runs. Both Brady Fuerst and Curtis Wagner posted six RBIs each. Wins were awarded to Garcia, Willinsky and Steve Kalush.

Most Wins For The Skipper
With the win Sunday afternoon, the Broncos reached the 32-win plateau, the most wins for head coach Mark O'Brien during his seven season and the most victories for the club since 1997.

This Week's Record Books Update

  • LeBlanc entered the career batting average list. His average of .342 places him seventh all-time. Tommy Medica also moved into this category and is ranked sixth with an average of .347.
  • Matt Wickswat is 19 strikeouts shy of entering that career list. He has a count of 201 after this weekend.

    Deuces Wild!
    Seventh year head coach O'Brien is just two wins away from his career 200th (198-187). The Broncos have four more games in the regular season to help their skipper reach the milestone. When O'Brien reaches the mark, he will join John Oldham and Sal Taormina as the only Bronco baseball head coaches earn 200 wins. Both Oldham and Taormina reached the feat in the seventh season.

    Two Broncos To Be Inducted Into Santa Clara's Athletic Hall Of Fame
    The celebrated athletic tradition of Santa Clara University will come alive on Thursday, May 15 with the induction of seven deserving members into the institution's Athletic Hall of Fame. Two of those inductees are former Bronco baseball stars Mike Frank '97 and Mike Macfarlane '85.

    On The National Stage
    The national rankings have been released for May 4 and the Broncos remain mentioned in all 25 categories. The Broncos top 50 rankings as of May 12 are:

  • Hits - No. 17
  • Doubles Per Gm - No. 21
  • Batting Avg. - No. 18
  • Strikeouts Per 9 Inn. - No. 21
  • Doubles - No. 50
  • Sacrifice Flies - No. 36
  • Slugging Percentage - No. 36
  • Home Runs - No. 50
    Individually, eight different batters and four different pitchers are ranked in the top 500. The Broncos highest rankings come to Long, who is No. 37 in triples and No. 46 in triples per game. Medica is the 73rd toughest batter in the nation to strike out and Conan is No. 35 in sac flies.

    Gone Streaking
    Medica owns a career-high and team-best 28 game hitting streak, with 13 games being multi-hit performances. He passed junior LeBlanc's team-high streak of 14 games over the weekend. It began on April 5 against Portland and includes 22 runs, three home run, four doubles, two triples and 23 RBIs.

    Extra Fun
    The Broncos took Saint Mary's to extra innings this weekend and came out on top with a 9-8 victory. Santa Clara is now 3-1 in extra innings.

    Going, Going, Gone!
    Nine different Broncos have registered home runs thus far this season for Santa Clara. Shortstop Karcich leads the group with 11 home runs. He notched his 11th against Saint Mary's. Long is second on the team with nine homers.

    Scouting Pepperdine
    The Waves enter the weekend ranked No. 13 by Rivals.com and sitting in second place of the West Coast Conference standings. Pepperdine is 33-16 on the season and 12-5 in WCC action. Last weekend, the Waves swept the Pilots to remain a half game ahead of the Broncos. Eric Thames leads the squad hitting .404 with 58 runs, 11 doubles, 13 home runs and 58 RBIs. The Waves have a team ERA of 4.40 and will face Nathan Newman (7-2) and Matt Bywater (7-2) on the mound on Friday and Saturday. Sunday's starter has not been announced.

    Last Time Out vs. Pepperdine
    Last season, Pepperdine took two games to win the series over Santa Clara. The Broncos evened the score in game two with a 4-3 edge in Malibu, but the Waves came back to take the rubber game, 2-0.

    All-Time vs. Pepperdine
    Friday's game marks the 138th meeting between the two teams. Pepperdine leads the all-time series, 82-53-2.

    Scouting Pacific
    The Tigers will host Cal State Northridge in their Big West finale before traveling to Santa Clara on Tuesday. Pacific is 11-37 on the season. Nick Longmire continues to lead the program batting .331 with 23 runs, three home runs and 27 RBIs. It has not been announced who the Broncos will face on the mound, but Pacific has a team ERA of 6.77.

    Last Time Out vs. Pacific
    The Broncos and Tigers last met on May 7 in Stockton where Pacific prevented the series sweep with an 11-7 win. SCU leads this year's series, 2-1.

    All-Time vs. Pacific
    Wednesday's game marks the 112th meeting between the two teams. Santa Clara leads the all-time series 73-38-0.