SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball will host the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament this weekend at Stephen Schott Stadium. The Broncos will play three games in three days against Creighton, Saint Louis and Michigan.
This weekend's tournament is played in honor of the late Jack Gifford, a longtime supporter of several California collegiate baseball programs.
"We showed signs of being a very solid ball club this past weekend," head coach Dan O'Brien said. "We have a lot to work on, but this group isn't afraid to work and make adjustments, that's why we love this team."
vs. Creighton on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 | 6 p.m. PT | Game #4 | Home Game #4
vs. Saint Louis on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 | 6 p.m. PT | Game #5 | Home Game #5
vs. Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2017 | 3 p.m. PT | Game #6 | Home Game #6
Santa Clara, Calif. | Stephen Schott Stadium
All-Time Series: It is Santa Clara's first-ever matchup against Creighton and Saint Louis while Michigan leads the series 2-1.
The tournament consists of six total games, including:
Saint Louis (v) vs. Michigan (h) | Friday at 1 p.m. PT
Michigan (v) vs. Creighton (h) | Saturday at 1 p.m. PT
Creighton (v) vs. Saint Louis (h) | Sunday at 11 a.m. PT
All day passes for the tournament will be available at $16 for a reserved seat and $14 for general admission.
Probable Starters (2017 Stats)
SCU RHP Jacob Steffens (0-0, 0.0 ERA) vs. CRE RHP Rollie Lacy (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
SCU RHP Eric Lex (1-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. SLU Miller Hogan (1-0, 0.0 ERA)
SCU RHP Grant Nechak (0-1, 6.75 ERA) vs. MICH LHP Michael Hendrickson (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
Santa Clara (1-2) has 15 newcomers on the 2017 squad and many of them will play significant roles this season. "We really focused on getting humble, hard working, grinders," head coach Dan O'Brien said on Feb. 14 at Bay Area Baseball Media Day.
Catcher Jake MacNichols, a freshman from Napa, California, went deep in his first collegiate at-bat on Feb. 18. He started each of the first three games and boasts a .455 slugging percentage while also recording 34 putouts and three assists.
Brandon Buckley, a freshman out of Kentfield, California, came on in relief against Washington (game 2, Feb. 18) and pitched four innings allowing just one unearned run and three hits while striking out eight batters to earn the save.
Broncos in the Field
2016 West Coast Conference Honorable Mention honoree Tyler Meditz, a junior outfielder made 46 appearances and 41 starts for SCU during the 2016 season. The Honolulu, Hawai'i native is hitting .273 after starting in each of the three games against Washington. He also recorded four putouts, including an impressive diving catch out of left field.
Sophomore infielder John Cresto, a 2016 WCC All-Freshman Team member, is off to a hot start at the plate this season. He is hitting .556 (5-9) with two doubles, a triple and a home run while driving in four runs. His batting average currently ranks second in the WCC and he is one of just three players in the league with a triple. Cresto hit .263 for the 2016 season with six doubles, three triples (tied for the team lead), a team-high six home runs and 20 RBI.
"John's at bats over the weekend were a byproduct of his process," assistant coach Keith Beauregard said. "He works hard each day to become more dynamic and adjustable in the box."
Junior Jake Brodt has made 92 starts in his career, playing primarily at first base. He boasts a .444 batting average after starting all three games against Washington. He recorded four hits on nine at-bats, was walked twice and leads the team in runs scored with three. In 2016, Brodt hit .231 with seven doubles, four home runs (tied for third on the team), 22 RBI and 25 runs scored while also going 5-for-6 on stolen base attempts.
Junior outfielder Grant Meylan has made 90 career starts and recorded two hits and a run scored for the Broncos in the series against Washington. In 2016, Meylan hit .274 with two doubles, nine RBI, 17 runs scored (second on the Broncos) and 24 walks in 2016.
"What has impressed me with this crew has been their commitment to learning and self correcting," Beauregard said. "They are a consistent, competitive and supportive group who like to swing the bat."
Broncos on the Mound
After the first weekend of the 2017 season, Santa Clara leads the league in strikeouts per nine innings with 10.7. That mark is also ranked No. 34 in the nation.
Redshirt senior RHP Jacob Steffens, now two years removed from his season-ending Tommy John surgery in 2015, stepped into the starting rotation after being a relief pitcher in 2016 and had an impressive season debut. Steffens threw 7.0 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits while striking out seven batters and walking four.
"Jake Steffens showed that he can compete at the top of a rotation with anyone in the country," said associate head coach Gabe Ribas, who works with the pitching staff. "He is that kind of guy that has good stuff, but a great feel for making big pitches when it counts. It helps that he is one of the most gifted athletes on the field at any time, but it's his toughness, hard work, and attention to detail that make him good. I really look forward to what he is going to be able to do over the course of the season."
Junior RHP Eric Lex spent the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and he also had a strong season debut. He picked up the win in game two of the Washington series after throwing 5.0 innings, allowing just five hits and two earned runs while striking out nine batters and walking just two.
Freshman Grant Nechak, the probable Sunday starter, is a 6-4 RHP out of Calabasas High School. Nechak is one of seven freshmen pitchers on the 2017 squad and he made his first collegiate start in game three against the Huskies. He went 5.1 innings and surrendered four earned runs (five total), gave up six hits and struck out three batters. Junior Michael Bono will also see time on the mound this season after making eight appearances (three starts) in 2016 and six appearances in 2015.
Santa Clara led the league in 2016 in saves with 16. The Bronco pitching staff allowed just 89 doubles (third-best in WCC) and 11 triples (fourth-best in WCC) on the year.
Creighton enters the weekend at 0-3 after being swept on the road by University of Alabama at Birmingham last weekend. Bryce Only (.364 avg) and Jason Allbery (.333 avg) lead the team in hitting. Allbery's two runs driven in also leads the team.
Saint Louis boasts a 4-0 record after defeating Lafayette, Incarnate Word and Notre Dame twice at the Alamo Irish Classic in San Antonio, Texas last weekend. The Billikens scored 46 runs in the four games they played while allowing 18. Three Billikens are hitting .400 or better with Aaron Case leading the way at .474 with nine hits on 19 at-bats including two home runs and nine RBI.
Michigan is 2-2 after splitting a four-game series against Seton Hall in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Miles Lewis is tops on the team in batting average and RBI at .389 with seven hits on 18 at-bats and five runs driven in.
This weekend's Jack Gifford Memorial tournament is played in honor of the late Mr. Gifford, an avid baseball fan and longtime supporter of the Santa Clara program.
Mr. Gifford, a Los Angeles native and 1963 UCLA alumnus, played baseball and studied electrical engineering in college. He started his career in the semiconductor industry in 1964 at Fairchild Semiconductor, where he became the first Director of Analog Products. Four years later, he co-founded AMD (Advanced Micro Devices), serving as the company's Vice President of Marketing and Planning. He later served as the CEO of Intersil prior to co-founding Maxim Integrated Products in 1983, where he served as CEO and President until his retirement in 2007.
Under his leadership, Maxim grew to more than $2 billion in annual sales. Mr. Gifford, better known as "Jack," is considered one of the founding fathers of the analog microchip industry. His "Maxim Principles" continue to define the company's culture to this day.
Mr. Gifford was an avid baseball fan and a longtime, generous supporter of several collegiate programs. For years, his donations aided the teams at Santa Clara, San José State, Stanford, Cal and UCLA. Those contributions funded equipment, uniforms, travel, and the Jack and Rhodine Gifford Hitting Facility, a 10,500 square foot state-of-the-art hitting and practice facility located at UCLA's Jackie Robinson stadium.
While serving as CEO of Maxim, Mr. Gifford provided internships for several Bay Area collegiate baseball student-athletes. Over the years, dozens of them played for his summer baseball team, the Maxim Yankees.
Jack and Rhodine Gifford were married for more than 48 years and had three daughters: Laural, Tracy and Jacquelyn. Mr. Gifford passed away in 2009 at the age of 68. Mrs. Gifford continues to support Bronco baseball through donations.
Promotions (SCU Games Only)
Ruff Riders only:
Enter to win the first installment of the Shoreline Country MegaTicket concert giveaway series. Tonight features a pair of tickets to Lady Antebellum featuring Kelsea Ballerini and Brett Young. Wear your Ruff Riders t-shirt and hat to the game for TWO additional entries into the country concert raffle.
Strikeouts for Sandwiches:
If the Broncos pitching staff records 5 strikeouts or more, everyone will go home with a $5 meal coupon for Sub Hub!
Hot Chocolate Bar
Sub Hub Saturday:
If the Broncos win, all fans will leave the stadium with a Buy One, Get One 1/2 voucher to Sub Hub located on the corner of El Camino and Railroad Ave, directly across from the main entrance to campus.
Pick up a baseball bingo card at the marketing table and follow along while the Broncos are at-bat for your chance to win a prize.
Parking: Parking is now available in the Guadalupe lot, adjacent to 455 El Camino Real. The Guadalupe lot is reserved beginning 60 minutes before game time through the end of the event for free parking. Baseball parking is no longer allowed in the lot behind Schott Stadium's left field wall. Overflow parking is available in the Leavey Center lot. Spectators that plan to arrive more than an hour prior to game time on weekdays are encouraged to purchase a parking permit for the Leavey lot. All SCU lot parking is free on weekends. ADA parking is available in the lot directly in front of the main gates; there is no general public parking in this lot. Follow signs for parking instructions.
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