May 23, 2007

Santa Clara Places Seven On All-WCC Baseball Teams

May 23, 2007

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Seven members of the Santa Clara University baseball team were named to the West Coast Conference's all-conference teams, it was announced Monday. Freshman catcher Tommy Medica earned first-team recognition as well as a spot on the All-Freshman team. Nate Garcia, Steve Kalush, and Alex Rivers were also named to the All-Freshman team, while Gabe Alcantar, Ryan Conan, and Matt Wickswat all earned honorable mention recognition. The seven selections match the program's highest total since 2004, when seven Broncos also earned All-WCC honors.

"I'm very pleased to see that these seven Broncos were recognized by the WCC for their outstanding play this season," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "We received great performances this year from many of our players, and the fact that all seven of our All-WCC performers are underclassmen and will return to help this program gives us great reason to look ahead to a successful season in 2008."

Medica, a San Jose native and local product out of Bellarmine College Prep, led the WCC with a .373 batting average on the year, and .400 in 21 WCC games. Despite missing 11 games and being relegated to pinch-hit duty for three others after suffering a hand injury in early February, Medica bounced back, hitting nine doubles and four triples, as well as slugging .497 for the season, and .588 in conference play. He also turned in a 5-for-5 performance on April 7, 2007 against the San Francisco Dons.

The young freshman arms of Garcia, Kalush, and Rivers played a major role on the Bronco pitching staff. Garcia, another former Bellarmine Prep star, went 5-6 in his first collegiate season, highlighted by a 13-strikeout performance on April 13 against Gonzaga. In the bullpen, Kalush and Rivers quickly carved out roles as reliable set-up men, with Rivers going 2-0 with a 1.02 earned-run average over 10 appearances in conference play. Kalush, who eventually took over the closer's role in the final week of the season, posted a 1-2 record, 3.13 ERA, five saves, and 53 strikeouts in 54.2 innings of work over 28 appearances in 2007.

Alcantar, a junior third baseman from San Jose, batted .343 on the year, second on the team, and led the Broncos with 71 hits, 37 runs scored, and 15 doubles. He was one of only two Broncos to appear in all 56 games this season, and also hit three home runs and drove in 33 runs, both figures tied for second on the team.

Conan led all players in the league with six home runs in conference play, and led the Broncos for the entire season with eight homers and 50 RBIs, both in the WCC's overall top three. The junior first baseman from San Jose also slugged .550 in conference play and doubled 13 times on the year.

For Wickswat, the redshirt sophomore lefty from Bellevue, Wash., Monday's honor marked the second consecutive year that he has been named an All-WCC performer. He took home second-team and all-freshman honors in 2006. On the year, he paced the SCU starters with a 7-5 record, a 3.41 ERA, and 88 strikeouts in 97.2 innings of work. This season, Wickswat also posted four outings in which he struck out 10 batters.