SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball continues West Coast Conference action this week against the BYU Cougars. The three-game series begins on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT at Stephen Schott Stadium.
Games #44-46 | Home Game #28-30
Santa Clara, Calif. | Stephen Schott Stadium
All-Time Series: The Cougars lead the all-time series 13-9 in a matchup that dates back to 1968. BYU swept the Broncos last year in the final series of the 2016 season in Provo, Utah.
Probable Starters (2017 Stats)
Thursday, May 4 • 6 p.m. PT
SCU RHP Grant Nechak (1-5, 4.92 ERA) vs. BYU RHP Maverik Buffo (5-5, 4.99 ERA)
Friday, May 5 • 6 p.m. PT
SCU RHP Eric Lex (3-6, 3.43 ERA) vs. BYU RHP Brady Corless (5-0, 4.58 ERA)
Saturday, May 6 • 1 p.m. PT
SCU RHP Jacob Steffens (3-5, 5.03 ERA) vs. BYU LHP Hayden Rogers (5-1, 3.41 ERA)
Last Time Out
The Broncos earned a road sweep at Pepperdine over the weekend. SCU rallied to score four runs in the top of the ninth inning to secure the win. Saturday's game went 12 innings but the Broncos' two runs in the 12th were enough to pull out a 2-1 win. On Sunday, Jacob Steffens earned his third complete-game victory of the season as SCU won 8-2.
Jake Brodt, a junior from Huntington Beach, California, was named WCC Rawlings Player of the Week. He played an integral role in SCU going 3-1 last week. Brodt recorded eight hits for the week and drove in seven runs, including a grand slam on Sunday in the top of the ninth inning to give the Broncos an 8-2 lead over the Waves.
Santa Clara (11-32, 7-11 WCC) 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.
Andre Nnebe, a freshman centerfielder who hails from Oakland, California, boasts the second-best batting average on the squad at .309. He has started every game this season and has recorded 54 hits including eight doubles and three home runs while driving in 20 runs. He has also recorded 97 putouts and four assists in the outfield.
Brandon Buckley, a freshman out of Kentfield, California, has been a bright spot for SCU out of the bullpen. He has made 16 appearances and pitched 33.1 innings, allowing 11 earned runs (17 runs total) and 24 hits while striking out 44 batters. He also has the second-best ERA on the team at 2.97.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Alonzo Billips, who hails from Los Angeles, California, has made eight appearances out of the bullpen for Santa Clara and thrown 11.0 innings for a team-best 2.45 ERA. He earned two wins at Pepperdine and is now 2-0 for his collegiate career. He has allowed three earned runs (six total) and 10 hits while striking out four batters.
Catcher Jake MacNichols, a freshman from Napa, California, went deep in his first collegiate at-bat on Feb. 18. He has started 27 games this season (appeared in 35) and has hit five home runs. MacNichols also has 211 putouts and 34 assists for a .972 fielding percentage. Opposing baserunners have been caught stealing by MacNichols on 13 occasions this year, the second-best mark in the WCC.
Broncos in the Field
Sophomore third baseman John Cresto, a 2016 WCC All-Freshman Team member, is hitting .312, which is the best mark on the squad. He is second on the team and is tied for fifth in the league in doubles with 15. Cresto has also hit eight home runs on the season, which is the most on the team and tied for the fifth-best total in the WCC. He is second on the squad in runs driven in with 21.
Junior Jake Brodt has made 132 starts in his career, playing primarily at first base. Brodt has the No. 3 batting average on the club at .309 and has recorded 54 hits. He is second in the West Coast Conference and tied for 22nd in the nation with 17 doubles (0.40 per game).
2016 West Coast Conference Honorable Mention honoree Tyler Meditz, a senior outfielder, has started every game for the Broncos this season. The Honolulu, Hawaii native is hitting .237 with four doubles and five home runs while driving in 19 runs on the year. He has 96 putouts as the starting left fielder.
Junior designated hitter Niko Holm recovered from a slow start at the plate to have the best on-base percentage on the squad (third in WCC) at .447 and the No. 4 batting average at .305. He has been walked 20 times and hit by a pitch 12 times on the season. His 12 times being hit by a pitch is a top-50 mark in the nation. The junior has recorded 36 hits (118 at-bats), including seven doubles, a triple, two home runs and nine runs batted in on the year.
Junior second baseman Evan Haberle has a batting average of .287 on the year. He has made 27 starts (played in 35 games) on the season and has recorded 25 hits in 87 at-bats. Haberle has recorded three doubles, a triple and two home runs for SCU while driving in 14 runs. He also has an on-base percentage of .421, drawing 18 walks and reaching base via hit-by-pitch on two occasions.
Junior shortstop Austin Fisher has started in 31 games for SCU and been very stead for the Broncos. He's recorded 50 putouts and 81 assists for a .963 fielding percentage. He has recorded 19 hits at the plate including a double, a triple and two home runs while driving in nine runs and scoring 13 himself. He's also walked 11 times and been hit by a pitch once.
Santa Clara is third in the WCC in home runs (38) and home runs per game (0.88) on the season with 13 different student-athletes hitting those home runs.
Broncos on the Mound
Redshirt senior RHP Jacob Steffens has stepped into the starting rotation after being a relief pitcher in 2016 (recovering from Tommy John). Steffens threw his first-career complete game against Northwestern (March 3) and tied a career high in strikeouts with 11. Steffens threw another complete game at Portland (April 1), also striking out 11 batters and earned his third complete-game victory of the season at Pepperdine (April 30). He has thrown 78.2 innings, allowing 44 earned runs (52 runs total) while striking out 79 batters. His 79 Ks rank as the No. 36 mark in the nation and No. 3 in the conference. Steffens is also fifth in the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 4.65.
Redshirt sophomore RHP Eric Lex has been the No. 2 starter for SCU this season after missing the 2016 season (due to Tommy John surgery). He is 3-6 on the year with a 3.44 ERA in 65.1 innings pitched. He has recorded 61 strikeouts, the seventh-best mark in the league. Lex threw a career-high 8.0 innings against San Francisco (April 21) and it was arguably the best outing of his career. He allowed six hits, two earned runs, did not walk a batter and struck out four.
Freshman Grant Nechak has made nine starts on the year and 15 appearances total. He earned the first win of his collegiate career on March 4 against Northwestern. Nechak allowed just four hits in his 7.0 innings pitched and struck out eight batters without allowing a single walk in that game. He was handed the loss against San Francisco (April 22) but he had a strong outing, throwing 7.0 innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs (three total). He walked two batters and struck out four. The 6-4 right-handed pitcher is 1-5 on the year and has thrown 53.0 innings with a 4.92 ERA.
Santa Clara is fifth in the league in strikeouts per nine innings at 7.5.
With 15 newcomers, the Broncos have a very young squad but the team was also dealt two injury blows prior to the start of the 2017 season. Pitchers Steven Wilson and Travis Howard, both of which were likely to be weekend starters, suffered season-ending injuries.
The Cougars are 25-14 overall this season and they sit atop the WCC standings with a 14-4 league record. They score 7.8 runs per game which is tops in the league and No. 13 in the country. The Cougars also have the 13th-ranked batting average in the nation at .314. The team has the fifth-best collective ERA in the WCC at 4.34. Tanner Chauncey has .325 batting average for BYU and is the toughest batter to strikeout in the nation at one strikeout per 30.8 at-bats this season. Keaton Kringlen and Bronson Larsen are tied for the WCC lead with 43 runs batted in on the year.
Ruff Riders Promotions: The first 50 Ruff Riders will receive a black Ruff Riders bandana.
Enter to win a pair of tickets to see Jason Aldean, Chris Young, and Kane Brown at Shoreline Amphitheater on September 30. Wear your Ruff Riders t-shirt and hat to the game for TWO additional entries into the country concert raffle.
Hot Chocolate Hitter: Join us every Friday night for the Hot Chocolate Hitters of the game! In each inning, if the leadoff batter for the Broncos gets a base hit, hot chocolate is only $1 at Bronco concessions for the remainder of that half inning. Spice up your hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and more!
Strikeouts for Sandwiches presented by Sub Hub: Join us every Friday for Strikeouts for Sandwiches presented by Sub Hub. If the Bronco pitching staff collects at least 5 strikeouts, all fans will go home with a Sub Hub coupon redeemable for a $5 sandwich meal that includes chips and a drink. Sub Hub is located across from campus in the shopping center on the corner of El Camino and Railroad Ave.
Sub Hub Saturdays: If the Broncos win on Saturday, all fans leave with a buy one, get one 1/2 off Sub Hub coupon. Sub Hub is located across from campus in the shopping center on the corner of El Camino and Railroad Ave.
Baseball Bingo: 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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