Baseball Hosts UC Irvine This Weekend

Baseball Hosts UC Irvine This Weekend

Feb. 5, 2003

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This Week
Santa Clara returns home to the friendly confines of Buck Shaw Stadium for a three-game series with UC Irvine. The Broncos and Anteaters will square off in the first game Friday afternoon, February 7th at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's contests are both scheduled for 1 p.m. starts at "The Shaw." 2003 is year two of baseball on the Irvine campus as baseball was brought back in 2002 after a 10-year absence due to funding. After last year's split, the Broncos hold a four-game advantage in the all-time series with their 6-2 mark.

Last Year vs. UC Irvine
Last season the Broncos and Anteaters split the first two games in Irvine but could not finish the series as rain forced the cancellation of Sunday's contest. John Redmond picked up the win in game two as he allowed only two runs on seven hits in seven full innings of work. Jim Wallace finished the series with two hits, one of which was a home run in fourth inning of Saturday's game which proved to be the game-winning RBI. Friday's game was there for the Broncos to win as they entered the ninth inning with a 1-0 lead, but a two-out Anteater rally handed the Broncos their sixth loss of the season.

Scouting the Anteaters
UC Irvine enters the weekend series having played only one contest. They began their season on Tuesday, February 5, hosting Fresno State before traveling to the Bay Area for their series with the Broncos. The UCI starting pitching rotation is comprised of three sophomores, led by Glenn Swanson who earned Freshman All-America honors in 2002 after recording eight wins, 82 strikeouts and a 4.44 ERA. As a team the Anteaters finished 33-26 overall and 14-10 in the Big West.

Probable Pitching Rotation
Game 1
Santa Clara: Matt Travis,LHP (1-1, 2.08 ERA)
UC Irvine: Glenn Swanson, LHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Game 2
Santa Clara: John Redmond, LHP (1-0, 3.38 ERA)
UC Irvine: Brett Smith, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Game 3
Santa Clara: Scott Shapiro, RHP (0-0, 6.23 ERA)
UC Irvine: Michael Koehler, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Hawaii-Hilo Recap
Santa Clara traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii for a four-game series with the University of Hawaii-Hilo last weekend to begin its 2003 road season. The Broncos swept the four-game series from the Vulcans which included a doubleheader sweep on Friday. Friday's first game saw the Broncos rally for one run in the seventh inning and two more in the ninth to capture their first win of the year by an 8-6 score. Freshman Patrick Overholt picked up his first collegiate win after throwing 3 2/3 innings of work in which he allowed only one unearned run on four hits. Game two of the doubleheader saw Santa Clara pummel the Vulcans by a 13-2 score. John Redmond threw seven full innings to pick up the win while Joe Diefenderfer led the offense by going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Pitching dominated game three on Saturday as Matt Travis improved to 1-1 on the season after allowing no runs on only three hits while striking out five in seven innings of work. Jack Headley led the Bronco offense in game three, going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Sunday's series finale saw the Broncos rally back from a three run deficit to claim a thrilling 7-5 victory behind freshman Jason Matteucci's three-run home run in the ninth inning. The home run was not only Matteucci's first as a collegiate, but it was the team's first round tripper this season. Chad Fillinger picked up the win as he allowed only two hits in 1 1/3 innings of relief while Overholt registered his first collegiate save after slamming the door in the ninth inning with two strikeouts and one groundout. The sweep moved the Broncos to 4-2 on the season and 7-1 against the Vulcans in the last two years.

Youth Movement
During the Broncos 8-6 series opening win over Hawaii-Hilo, the Broncos had five freshmen and two sophomores on the field during the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Alongside pitcher Patrick Overholt were fellow freshmen Michael Lange (SS), Eric Newton (3B), Jason Matteucci (LF) and Matt McColgan (C). Sophomores Shawn Epidendio (1B) and Ryan Pierpont (RF) played alongside seniors Jack Headley (CF) and A.J. LaBarbera (2B) during the rallies in the seventh and ninth innings.

OVER-Matching His Opponents
Santa Clara freshman Patrick Overholt has made the most of his time in a Bronco uniform through the first six games of the season. The right-handed reliever from Sandy, Utah, has opened a few eyes with his performances. He has appeared in half of SCU's games, throwing 5 2/3 innings in which he has posted a 1-0 record to go along with his one save and 0.00 ERA. Known as "Ovie" to his teammates, Overholt has placed himself in a postion to be the team's closer during the 2003 season with his outstanding command and 90+ MPH fastball.

Do You Guys Play Football?
The NFL Pro-Bowl was played in Honolulu on February 2nd, the same weekend that the Broncos took on the University of Hawaii-Hilo in a four-game series. Despite being on different islands, Santa Clara players and administrators were often stoped and asked if they were members of a football team. With an average height of just under 6-feet-2 and an average weight of 195 pounds, the Broncos are among the largest of baseball teams on the West Coast. Compare that with the average height and weight of Santa Clara's football team in 1992, which had an average height of 6-foot-1 and an average weight of 197 pounds, and you can see why people questioned the sport that the Broncos played in Hawaii.

Next Week: At San Diego State
Following this weekend's three-game homestand, the Broncos will return to the road for six-straight games beginning with three at San Diego State next weekend. Santa Clara will take on the Aztecs at Tony Gwynn Stadium on the SDSU campus for the first time since the Stadium was re-designed and re-named in 1997. The series with the Broncos will be the first weekend home series for the Aztecs this season.