SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara baseball closes out its 2016 schedule this week with a West Coast Conference series at BYU. The Broncos and Cougars meet Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Miller Park in Provo, Utah. All games are slated to start at 5 p.m. PDT and Saturday's season finale will be broadcast on ESPNU.
The Broncos are coming off a WCC sweep of the Portland Pilots at Schott Stadium, marking their first conference series win of the year and first sweep of the season. The Cougars won two of three games at San Francisco last weekend before falling at 8-1 at Utah on Tuesday. They are tied for second place in the WCC.
Santa Clara (23-26, 10-14 WCC) at BYU (34-15, 15-9 WCC)
Thursday, May 19, 2016 | 5 p.m. PDT | Game #50 | Away Game #21
Friday, May 20, 2016 | 5 p.m. PDT | Game #51 | Away Game #22
Saturday, May 21, 2016 | 5 p.m. PDT | Game #52 | Away Game #23
Provo, Utah | Miller Park
Thursday: SCU RHP Steven Wilson (5-4, 3.54 ERA) vs. BYU RHP Mike Rucker (10-0, 2.78 ERA)
Friday: SCU RHP Mitchell White (3-6, 3.49 ERA) vs. BYU LHP Riley Gates (2-1, 4.61 ERA)
Saturday: SCU LHP Jason Seever (6-2, 4.65 ERA) vs. BYU TBD
All-Time Series: BYU Leads 10-9
First Meeting: 1968
Tuesday, May 10 — STAN 10 SCU 3: Santa Clara fell behind 7-1 after a couple of early big innings by Stanford and could not recover. The Broncos had won their previous three matchups with the Cardinal.
Friday, May 13 — SCU 9 POR 5: Bronco closer Max Kuhns made history in the win by earning his 14th save of the year, the most by a Bronco pitcher in a single season. The Broncos set a new season-best mark with 17 hits Friday night.
Saturday, May 14 — SCU 9 POR 1: Mitchell White allowed only one run in his first complete game with the Broncos and struck out a career-high 15 batters. Santa Clara took an early lead by scoring four runs in the second inning.
Sunday, May 15 — SCU 6 POR 5 (10 innings): Santa Clara capped its 2016 home schedule with a walkoff win on Senior Day. Stevie Berman hit a one-out single up the middle with the bases loaded in the 10th to score Evan Haberle. Sunday's victory marked the first time Santa Clara overturned a ninth inning deficit this season as well as the team's first walkoff win.
Broncos in the Field
Kyle Cortopassi led Santa Clara by going 7-for-11 (.636) with five runs scored in last weekend's sweep of Portland. He drew three walks and was hit by a pitch three times for an on-base percentage of .765 during the series. Cortopassi reached base safely in each of his first 10 trips to the plate between Friday and Saturday. He leads the team with a .303 batting average.
Stevie Berman hit .444 (8-for-18) with three doubles, five RBIs, two runs scored and three walks against the Pilots. The Saratoga native posted a .524 on-base percentage and a .611 slugging percentage. Berman's biggest hit of the weekend came in the Broncos' 6-5 win over Portland on Sunday's Senior Day; with one out and the bases loaded in the 10th of a tie contest, he hit a single up the middle to drive in the game-winning run for Santa Clara's first walkoff win of the season. Berman posted multiple hits in each game against Portland and led all batters with three hits Sunday afternoon.
Broncos on the Mound
Steven Wilson has quality starts in more than half of his outings this season (8 QS in 13 starts). He matched a career-best mark with nine strikeouts and allowed two earned runs on five hits with three walks in 6.0 innings of Friday night's win. Both runs were scored on solo homers by Portland. Wilson capped his outing with four consecutive strikeouts.
Reigning WCC Pitcher of the Week Mitchell White allowed only one run in his first complete game with the Broncos and struck out a career-high 15 batters in a 9-1 win over Portland Saturday night. White threw 100 pitches, allowed four hits and did not issue a walk in his 14th start of the year. He pitched six 1-2-3 innings and retired 10 straight batters over the last four frames. The right-hander struck out six consecutive Portland hitters from the final out of the seventh through the second out of the ninth. His 116 strikeouts rank fourth in the NCAA and first in the WCC. White needs two more strikeouts to tie for 10th in the Broncos' single-season ranking and 10 more to tie for fifth.
Jason Seever has pitched a career-high 7.0 innings in three of his last five starts. He allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 5.1 innings to finish with a no decision last Sunday. The Broncos have won four of Seever's last five starts and are 8-4 when he takes the hill this season.
Max Kuhns earned his 14th save of the year Friday night to break Santa Clara's single-season save record. Anthony Rea set the Bronco record with 13 saves in 2004.
The Cougars are the most offensively prolific team in the West Coast Conference this season. Brennon Lund leads the team and the conference with a .385 batting average while Colton Shaver tops the team and the conference with 55 RBIs. Lund has recorded 85 hits on the year, 17 more than the next highest batter, LMU's Cassidy Brown. Brennon Anderson is the reigning WCC Player of the Week; he hit .538 with two homers and had a 1.000 slugging percentage against San Francisco.
BYU has three of the WCC's top four hitters in both batting average and RBIs. The Cougars have 13 players that have played in at least 16 games this season; eight of those batters are hitting better than .300 and the lowest batting average among them is .284.
Mike Rucker is the only undefeated weekend starter in the WCC this year and the only one with double-digit victories (10-0). He has allowed just 16 extra-base hits in 87.1 innings. Riley Gates entered the weekend rotation for the Cougars on April 30 against Gonzaga and made his first collegiate start against the Bulldogs.
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