SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara baseball begins its quest for the West Coast Conference title this weekend with a Friday-Sunday series against the Pepperdine Waves at Schott Stadium.
Last weekend, the Broncos went 2-1 at home against the Penn State Nittany Lions. The visitors won the first of that three-game set 6-5 on March 13, and neither team led by more than one run at any point in the contest. On March 14, the Broncos trailed 5-1 before scoring nine unanswered runs over a three-inning span to win 10-5. In the series finale March 15, Santa Clara built a 4-3 lead and shut the Nittany Lions out over the final five innings to win 6-3.
Fri., March 21, 6 p.m.
SCU: RHP D.J. Zapata (1-3, 4.75 ERA) vs. PEP: RHP Corey Miller (3-1, 1.62 ERA)
Sat., March 22, 3 p.m.
SCU: RHP Peter Hendron (2-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. PEP: RHP Jackson McClelland (2-1, 4.78 ERA)
Sun., March 23, 1 p.m.
SCU: RHP Steven Wilson (0-1, 4.71 ERA) vs. PEP: LHP Aaron Brown (3-1, 3.93 ERA)
Live Stats and Radio/Video
Santa Clara alum and last year's play-by-play announcer John Nash '13 is slated to call Friday and Saturday's games.
Click here to access a radio and video feed for all games this weekend.
Click here to access live stats for all games this weekend.
This Weekend's Opponent: Pepperdine
While Santa Clara opens conference play this weekend, Pepperdine began its WCC campaign last weekend and won one of three games against Pacific. The Waves took the series opener 5-3 March 14 before falling 6-4 March 15 and 7-5 March 16. They began the month of March on a five-game winning streak, and after losing consecutive games for the first time this season a week ago, rebounded with a 6-0 win at UC Irvine March 18.
Steve Rodriguez is in his 11th season as head coach of the Waves, and graduated from Pepperdine in 2001. He enters this weekend with an overall record of 340-259 (.568 winning percentage). The Waves have won five consecutive games against the Broncos, with Santa Clara's last victory in the series coming on April 20, 2012 at Schott Stadium.
Greg Harisis had another productive weekend, going 5-for-12 (.417) with seven runs scored, three RBIs, a triple, a home run, a walk and two stolen bases as Santa Clara took two of three games from Penn State. Harisis scored at least two runs in each of the three matchups while extending his overall hitting streak to six games. He also homered and tripled in consecutive at bats in the 10-5 victory March 14. He leads the team in hits (29), runs scored (27 of the team's 98), doubles (seven) triples (one – tied with three other players), home runs (three), total bases (47) and slugging percentage (.560). Harisis has reached base16 times out of 28 opportunities in leadoff situations this season.
Stevie Berman has a team-high 12 walks (against 11 strikeouts) and leads all Broncos who have started at least half the team's games with a .356 (21-for-59) batting average. The freshman from Saratoga, Calif. recorded his first multi-RBI game as a collegian with two RBIs in a 6-3 win over Penn State March 15. He is one of two players with more than 20 hits and 10 runs scored on the season alongside Harisis.
Zach Looney added two RBIs last weekend for the Broncos to increase his team-best total to 14 on the season. Mach Hess also notched a pair of RBIs, and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games.
The senior duo of Harisis and Casey Munoz was among the most productive offensive players last season, as Munoz led the Broncos in batting average (.308), hits (64), doubles (10) and RBIs (31) while Harisis led the Broncos in on-base percentage (.399) and stolen bases (13-for-15).
The Broncos produced two of their three error-free games of 2014 in two victories last weekend against Penn State. Santa Clara has not committed an error in its last 20.2 innings.
Thursday's probable D.J. Zapata is coming off his shortest outing of the season: 4.1 innings pitched with five runs (four earned) on six hits with three walks and no strikeouts March 13 against Penn State. The senior from Oceanside, Calif. has 18 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched this season, and is tied with fellow starter Peter Hendron for the team lead in Ks. Zapata recorded a complete game victory Feb. 20 against Notre Dame.
Friday's probable Peter Hendron threw 3.2 innings in his last outing March 15 against Penn State. The Broncos are 4-0 in Hendron's last four starts and have averaged 10.3 runs per game during that span. He threw a career-best 8.0 innings pitched and struck out a career-best seven batters March 2 against Manhattan.
Saturday's probable Steven Wilson finished his last start with a no decision after throwing 4.1 innings March 14 against Penn State. He currently has the lowest opposing batting average of Santa Clara starters at .236.
In last weekend's series against Penn State, the Broncos had one relief pitcher throw at least 3.0 innings in all three games. Jacob Steffens threw 3.1 innings of relief March 13, Jason Seever earned the win by limiting the Nittany Lions to one hit while striking out three in 3.0 innings March 14 and Kevin George struck out three in 4.1 scoreless innings to earn the victory March 15.
Santa Clara's relief pitchers combined to allow one earned run on nine hits with three walks and 12 strikeouts in 14.2 innings for a collective 0.61 ERA last weekend. They accounted for both winning decisions and Reece Karalus recorded his third save of the season March 14.
As of last weekend, George has gone 9.2 innings without allowing a run, while Karalus has gone 7.1 innings without allowing a run over his last seven outings.
SCU starters combined to allow nine runs and seven earned runs over 26.0 innings in the four games Feb. 20-23 for a collective 2.42 ERA. In 26.0 innings and four games of opening weekend, Bronco starting pitching recorded a 2.76 ERA.
Aaron Brown is one of six Waves to start all 20 games on the season, and leads Pepperdine in batting average (.385), hits (30), triples (2), home runs (2, tied with two others) RBIs (17), total bases (44), slugging percentage (.564) and on-base percentage (.430). The two-way player is one of only three NCAA DI pitchers to hit a home run and earn a winning decision in the same game this season, which he did on March 1 against Hawaii.
Three of the other five 20-game starters are hitting about .300: Aaron Barnett at .342, Bryan Langlois at .338 (leads the team with 21 runs scored, second on the team with 10 walks) and Brad Anderson at .306 (second on the team with 16 RBIs).
In last weekend's series against Pacific, Hutton Moyer went 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. The only Wave to attempt a stolen base against the Tigers leads Pepperdine with a 7-for-8 mark in stolen base attempts on the season. He also led the team with six hits and four runs scored in last weekend's series, and tops the Waves with nine doubles and 10 extra-base hits on the season.
Corey Miller is second among Pepperdine starters with a 1.62 ERA (0.01 behind team leader Matt Maurer), and has allowed 10 runs (seven earned) alongside a co-team best 36 strikeouts this season. In his last outing March 14 against Pacific, he allowed three runs (one earned) on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts in 7.1 innings to earn a winning decision. The senior was in the Pepperdine weekend rotation as the team's Saturday starter in 2013 and the team's Sunday starter in 2012.
Jackson McClelland enters this weekend's start after throwing 5.0 innings and allowing three earned runs on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts March 15 against Pepperdine. He was a 2012-13 WCC All-Freshman Team selection after posting a 1.46 ERA in 49.1 innings pitched in a mix of four starts and 18 relief appearances.
Brown threw 6.2 innings and allowed six earned runs on nine hits with four walks and six strikeouts in his last start March 16. He leads all Pepperdine starting pitchers with a 9.5 strikeout per nine innings ratio.
Eric Karch has a 2-0 record and five saves in nine trips out of the bullpen this season. He has given up just one earned run in 13.0 innings for a 0.69 ERA. Entering the weekend, A.J. Puckett has a 1.38 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13.0 innings, while Chandler Blanchard has a 1.46 ERA in 11.0 innings. Both threw 1.1 scoreless innings in a 6-0 shutout of UC Irvine March 18.
Welcome to the New Age
Several Santa Clara freshmen have seen a significant part of the action this season: Stevie Berman has made 20 appearances and 18 starts (20-18), Rory Graf-Brennen (15-7), Max Kuhns (16-14 in the field, three relief appearances), Seaver Whalen (9-6), Kyle Czaplak (18-12) and Tyler Meditz (15-1).
Four of five Bronco pitchers to make a start this season are underclassmen: sophomore Reece Karalus, sophomore Peter Hendron, sophomore Jacob Steffens and redshirt-freshman Steven Wilson. Friday night's starter and senior D.J. Zapata is the lone upperclassman in the current rotation.
Santa Clara Bests Manhattan 10-2, O'Brien Earns 500th Career Win (Click Here for the full game story)
Bronco head coach Dan O'Brien won his 500th career game as the Broncos defeated Manhattan 10-2 on March 2. The third-year Santa Clara head coach won 454 games with his alma mater, UC San Diego, and has 46 wins in his time with the Broncos.
"There's been a ton of great memories and some big team wins in there, but I don't do this for the wins," O'Brien said after Sunday's game. "I coach for the countless lifelong relationships I've developed over the years. Those mean the world to me."
Peter Hendron Named College Sports Madness West Coast Player of the Week
Sophomore pitcher Peter Hendron was named the College Sports Madness West Coast Player of the Week for March 3, 2014. Hendron posted career high marks with 8.0 innings and seven strikeouts in a 10-2 win March 2 against Manhattan at the Sanderson Ford Baseball Classic in Surprise, Ariz. last weekend. He allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits with two walks and held the Jaspers to 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position to earn the winning decision to improve to 2-1.
Greg Harisis Named Rawlings WCC Baseball Player of the Week
Greg Harisis won Irish Baseball Classic MVP honors with a stat line of 9-for-19, three RBIs, seven runs scored, two doubles, one home run and an outfield assist as the Broncos went 4-0 Feb. 20-23. He was named the WCC Rawlings Baseball Player of the Week, becoming the first Bronco to earn the honor since Patrick Terry on May 23, 2011.