Baseball Hosts LMU to Begin Second Half of WCC Play

Baseball Hosts LMU to Begin Second Half of WCC Play

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara baseball begins the second half of West Coast Conference play with an April 25-27 series against the Loyola Marymount Lions at Schott Stadium this weekend. Friday night's series opener is scheduled for 6 p.m., followed by first pitch times of 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Last weekend, the Broncos went to San Diego for the second time this season, and swept the host San Diego Toreros at Fowler Park. Junior T.J. Braff led the Broncos by going 4-for-5 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored in an 8-5 victory April 17. On April 18, Peter Hendron pitched 7.0 shutout innings and allowed only five hits to the WCC's leader in batting average as part of a 2-1 win. On April 19, the Broncos came back from a three-run deficit to win 5-3 in 11 innings. With the three-game sweep, the Broncos matched their win total against San Diego from the previous 10 seasons (3-27 from 2003-13).

Santa Clara jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a three-run homer by Stevie Berman in the first inning Tuesday, April 22 against Stanford. The Broncos and Cardinal traded punches the rest of the way, and Stanford came out on top 10-9.

Probable Starters

Fri., April 25, 6 p.m.

SCU: RHP D.J. Zapata (3-5, 4.22 ERA) vs. LMU: RHP Colin Welmon (6-2, 2.70 ERA)

Sat., April 26, 3 p.m.

SCU: RHP Peter Hendron (4-3, 3.20 ERA) vs. LMU: RHP Patrick McGrath (5-1, 4.50 ERA)

Sun., April 27, 1 p.m.

SCU: RHP Jacob Steffens (0-4, 3.82 ERA) vs. LMU: RHP J.D. Busfield (0-0, 1.06 ERA)

Live Stats and Internet Video

Click here to access live stats for the weekend's games.

Click here to access a video feed (no audio commentary) for the weekend's games.

This Weekend's Opponent: LMU

Loyola Marymount enters the weekend with an overall record of 24-17, including a 12-6 mark in the WCC and a 7-8 mark on the road. Last weekend, the Lions lost two of three games to the BYU Cougars in Provo. Welmon pitched a complete-game shutout April 17 as part of a 2-0 Lions win, and the Cougars took the last two games of the series 6-2 April 18 and 4-2 April 19. The Lions traveled to UCLA for a midweek game April 22 and were shut out 3-0 by the Bruins.

Jason Gill is in his sixth season as head coach of LMU baseball, and has an overall record of 158-158 (.500 winning percentage) entering the weekend. The Lions have finished in the top three of the West Coast Conference standings in three of Gill's five seasons at the helm.

West Coast Conference Standings (as of April 21, 2014)

The Broncos are currently in sixth place with a WCC record of 8-7.

The Lions are currently in second place with a WCC record of 12-6.

At the end of the regular season, the top four teams in the conference earn a berth in the West Coast Conference Baseball Championship, a double-elimination format event held May 22-24 at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif.

Reece Karalus Named to NCBWA Mid-Season Stopper of the Year Watch List (Click Here for the full release)

Reece Karalus is one of 50 players named to the mid-season watch list for the 10th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, announced by the association Wednesday. The sophomore closer is one of only three West Coast Conference pitchers and one of only 16 underclassmen to make the list. The North Bend, Wash. native is 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA, eight saves and 30 strikeouts in 31.2 innings between 22 relief appearances and one start this season.

Bronco Offense

The Broncos have produced double-digit hits in four of their last five games, including 16 in an 8-5 win April 17 at San Diego. They recorded 12 hits April 15 vs. San Jose State, 12 hits April 19 at San Diego and 11 hits in their most recent game April 22 vs. Stanford. Prior to the San Jose State game, the Broncos had put up double-digit hits four times in their last 23 contests dating back to March 4.

In his third start of the season April 17 at San Diego, Braff went 4-for-5 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored in an 8-5 win for the Broncos. Braff's three-run homer in the second inning of that game gave Santa Clara a lead it held the rest of the way. His eighth-inning RBI single April 18 would go on to be the game-deciding hit in a 2-1 Santa Clara victory. The Palo Alto, Calif. native led the Broncos with five RBIs as they swept the Toreros on the road to improve to 8-7 in WCC play. He finished the weekend at 6-for-15 (.400) and made 25 putouts, 5 assists and no errors at first base.

Casey Munoz led the Broncos with a .500 batting average (7-for-14), two doubles, and a .643 slugging percentage last weekend at San Diego. He is currently on a six-game hitting streak, picking up multiple hits in and driving in at least one run in four of his last five games.

Jose Vizcaino, Jr. reached base in five of six trips to the plate April 18, and scored a team-best four runs in the three-game set against the Toreros. Since March 28, his batting average has risen from .224 to .318 (96) points, and the sophomore has the longest current hitting streak on the team at nine games. He has recorded six of his 14 RBIs and seven of his 21 runs scored this season in his last five games.

Stevie Berman went 5-for-12 (.417) and scored three runs for Santa Clara last week. He is currently on a five-game hitting streak, going 9-for-20 with six of his 13 RBIs on the season during that stretch.

Munoz's 17 RBIs are a team-best this season and he is tied with Greg Harisis for the team lead in doubles with nine in 2014. Berman tops the Broncos with 19 walks and Vizcaino, Jr. leads the Broncos with nine stolen bases.

Quinton Perry has recorded a walk in four consecutive games, and five of his 10 walks this season have come in that four-game stretch.

The senior duo of Harisis and 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).

Bronco Pitching

Friday's probable D.J. Zapata allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits with one walk and one strikeout in 7.0 innings April 17 to pick up his third win of the season. He retired seven batters in a row from the final out of the fourth through the end of the sixth, and held the Toreros to two hits and three baserunners over his last four innings. The senior has not allowed more than three earned runs in six straight outings, including three starts of at least 7.0 innings for the Broncos during that span.

Saturday's probable Peter Hendron allowed no runs on five hits with one walk and one strikeout in 7.0 innings for the Broncos to improve to 4-3 April 18. He retired the first eight San Diego batters and allowed only three runners into scoring position while giving up no extra-base hits to the Toreros. He outdueled San Diego starter Lucas Long, who threw 8.0 innings and allowed two unearned runs on seven hits with three walks and nine strikeouts. Hendron has thrown at least 7.0 innings his last three starts and allowed multiple runs (two April 5 vs. Portland) just once in that span.

Karalus made three relief appearances for Santa Clara April 17-19 at San Diego, finishing with two saves and a win in 4.2 innings as the Broncos swept the Toreros. The sophomore retired 14 of 16 batters he faced and did not allow a hit or a walk to a San Diego team that entered the weekend hitting .331 on the season. On April 17, he struck out the final two batters he faced to earn his seventh save of the season. One night later, Karalus entered a one-run game with runners on first and third and one out in the eighth, and retired all five batters he faced to pick up his second save in as many nights as the Broncos won 2-1. In the series finale April 19, Karalus entered a 3-3 game in the 10th and retired six of the seven batters he faced, once again ending the game with a strikeout.

Jacob Steffens also pitched in all three games at San Diego, allowing two earned runs on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings. In the series finale April 19, he retired all nine batters he faced with two strikeouts to carry the Broncos into extra innings tied at 3-3. Santa Clara went on to win 5-3 in 11 innings.

Scouting LMU

All four of Loyola Marymount's 41-game starters this season are hitting better than .300. Austin Miller (.353), Tommy Cheek (.329), Tanner Donnels (.321) and David Fletcher (.301) make up part of a lineup that is second in the WCC with a .294 batting average. Cheek is tied for the conference lead with 38 RBIs this season, while Miller ranks first in the WCC with 20 stolen bases and fourth in the WCC with 36 runs scored.

David Edwards leads the Lions in both walks (19) and strikeouts (30) this season. He is one of four Lions to top 20 RBIs this season (21) alongside Cheek, Donnels (27) and Fletcher (25).

Colin Welmon will make his 11th appearance of the season (all starts) for the Lions Friday. In his last outing April 17 at BYU, the junior threw a complete game shutout, allowing six hits and two walks with three strikeouts against the Cougars. The 2013 First-Team All-WCC selection leads the Lions in innings pitched (73.1, 21.1 more than the next-highest pitcher) and strikeouts (44).

Patrick McGrath will make his 10th start and 11th overall appearance for the Lions Saturday. In his last start April 12 vs. Saint Mary's, the senior threw 6.0 innings, allowing one earned run on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts to improve to 5-1. He most recently pitched April 22 at UCLA, allowing one earned run on two hits with one walk and two strikeouts in his first relief appearance of the season.

J.D. Busfield will make his fifth start and seventh overall appearance for the Lions Sunday. In his last outing April 19 at BYU, the freshman allowed one earned run on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts in 5.0 innings and finished with a no decision. He boasts a team-low 1.06 ERA in 17.0 innings this season.

Bret Dahlson, also an NBCWA Mid-Season Stopper of the Year Watch List selection, has appeared more than any LMU pitcher with 24 trips to the mound this season. He currently holds a 1.93 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 28.0 innings.

Welcome to the New Age

Several Santa Clara freshmen have seen a significant part of the action this season: Stevie Berman has made 39 appearances and 37 starts (39-37), Rory Graf-Brennen (23-8), Max Kuhns (18-14 in the field, five relief appearances), Kyle Czaplak (34-24) and Tyler Meditz (21-5).

Five of seven Bronco pitchers to make a start this season are underclassmen: sophomore Reece Karalus, sophomore Peter Hendron, sophomore Jacob Steffens, redshirt-freshman Steven Wilson and freshman Kevin George. The lone upperclassman in the weekend rotation is Friday night starter D.J. Zapata, who is in his second season of college baseball with the Broncos.

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 collected his 46th win at Santa Clara in the victory over the Jaspers.

"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.

Bronco Weekly Sports Wrap!
February 11, 2014 Bronco Weekly Sports Wrap!