Baseball Hosts Boston College On Opening Weekend

Baseball Hosts Boston College On Opening Weekend

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball, led by first year head coach Rusty Filter, begins the 2018 season at Stephen Schott Stadium this weekend by facing Boston College from the Atlantic Coast Conference.  The series begins Friday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. with the Saturday game at 1 p.m. before wrapping up Sunday at Noon PT.  The meeting with the Eagles is the second series between the two schools.  Boston College visited Schott Stadium back in 2014 winning both its games and holds a 2-0 series lead over the Broncos.

Series Information

Games #1-3 | Home Games #1-3
Santa Clara, Calif. | Stephen Schott Stadium
All-Time Series: Boston College Leads 2-0
Probable Starters (2017 Stats)
Friday, Feb. 16 • 6 p.m. PT
SCU LHP Alex Barden (0-3, 11.57 ERA) vs. BC RHP Jacob Stevens (5-7, 5.10 ERA)
Saturday, Feb. 17 • 1 p.m. PT
SCU TBA vs. BC LHP Dan Melzdorf (4-6, 5.06 ERA)
Sunday, Feb. 18 • Noon PT
SCU RHP Alex Waldsmith (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. BC RHP Brian Rapp (3-3, 4.90 ERA)



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Visiting Team



The Broncos are coming off a 13-40 record last season with a 9-18 conference record to finish seventh in the West Coast Conference.  Rusty Filter and assistant coaches Jon Karcich, BK Santy and Greg Gonzalez will field a veteran team, especially offensively, with 10 players returning that started more than 20 games and 16 players that recorded an at-bat.  Senior first baseman Jake Brodt (53 games started, .338/.375/.532, seven home runs, 21 doubles) and junior third baseman John Cresto (52 games started, .307/.363/.561, 12 home runs, 37 runs) will lead the way with each being named preseason All-West Coast Conference.  
"Jake and John need to impact the team and leave an impression on the program.  We're going to go as far as they go and they need to be able to handle that.  They've responded well so far," said Filter.  
On the mound, the Broncos return nine pitchers including six who played last season, three returning from injuries, along with a transfer from Vanderbilt.  
"Our bullpen will be as strong as anyone we play.  We have the ability to swing the bat and score runs and we'll rely heavily on our bullpen," said Filter, who prior to becoming the Santa Clara head coach spent 24 years as an assistant coach at Stanford and San Diego State where he was among the top pitching coaches in the nation.   
Redshirt junior Eric Lex (3-9, 4.48 ERA in 16 appearances) will open the season as the Broncos closer after starting 11 games last season.  
"I've felt games are won and lost in the first two innings or the eighth and ninth.  I've always been able to take one of my top three pitchers and put them at the backend of the bullpen.  It's trying to figure out their personality, finding out who can recover quickly and how they respond to being relievers," said Filter.  "I feel Eric Lex has shown the ability to be the best pitcher on the team and he will be our closer.  When we have a one or two run lead late in the game, I feel confident bringing in Lex."
The Broncos will rely on a trio of right-handed pitchers, Travis Howard (2-4, 6.15 ERA in 20 appearances in 2016), Michael Praszker (0-0, 8.10 ERA in 14 appearances) and Steven Wilson (5-5, 3.92 ERA in 14 games started) to serve in the setup role.  Both Howard and Wilson throw in the low 90's while Praszker has pitched well since day one in the fall.  
"Managing their workload will be key considering a number of pitchers are coming off a year in which they missed because of injuries," Filter said referring to Howard and Wilson.  "If those players can throw accordingly to have them available on Friday and Sunday, and still have them pitch for the midweek games if needed, it will gives us a better chance to win games."  
"All these players I've asked to pitch out of the bullpen, other than Praszker, have been starting pitchers and are older and have been around so this new role is something I feel they can handle," said Filter. 
Other right-handed options include: junior Luke Martin-Resnick (24 appearances in 2017), who Filter dubbed as "Mister Consistent"; sophomore Luke Genova (19 appearances) who has impressed Filter in the last three weeks; redshirt sophomore Freddie Erlandson (2-0, 2.19 ERA in 2016) with his deceptive delivery using his six-foot-six inch frame that Filter feels will throw off the timing of the hitters; and a pair of freshmen Cade Negley, who is starting to find himself and Kent Morrison who has a lot of upside according to the Broncos head coach.  Each will have an opportunity to compete for the midweek rotation spot. 
Junior Matthew McGarry is a big arm pitcher with velocity that will sit out the season after transferring from Vanderbilt.  
Eric Madrid is the lone left-handed option out of the pen.  Filter feels the freshman from Stockton, California, is the 'x-factor'.   
"There's always a guy that surprised you and turns in a great season.  That's what I've been telling the pitchers, 'Who is going to be the x-factor?  Who's going to be the guy that comes out of nowhere?,'" said Filter.  
With Filter's proven philosophy of building the pitching staff backward through solidifying the backend, the Broncos are looking to get a solid first four to five winnings to set up the pitchers out of the bullpen.  
Six-foot-six redshirt junior Alex Barden (16 strikeouts, 25 innings on 17 appearances including three starts) is expected to be the Friday starter.  
"Barden's impressed me with his ability to throw any pitch at any count," said Filter of the left-hander. "He has a high-pitch ability and I expect him to log significant innings."
While the Saturday starter has yet to be determined, sophomore Alex Waldsmith (28 appearances) will be the Sunday starter.
"Waldsmith's been very good for us since day one, showing an ability to throw all his pitches for strikes.  Like Barden, he has been able to handle the increase in volume to get the pitch count up to be a starting pitcher.  I feel he'll give us a great chance on Sundays," said Filter.  
Penn Murfee, a fifth year senior transfer from Vanderbilt is expected to compete for a rotation spot.  The Nashville, Tennessee native brings versatility to the Broncos having pitched out of the bullpen and played infield during his three years at the Southeast Conference school.  
"Murfee is very competitive and is a strike-throwing machine.  He can mix up all his pitches and he's been around high level of baseball.  He knows what it takes to compete and how to prepare.  He provides leadership, encouragement and really gets along with the younger players," said Filter.  
The midweek starter is expected to rotate throughout the year, giving a lot of the players an opportunity to help win games.  
The battle for the starting catcher position is ongoing between sophomore Jake MacNichols (42 games, six home runs), freshman Tony Boetto, and senior Lucas Eliason (32 games, .219/.301/.356).  They are all expected to see a solid amount of playing time during the year.
"It's a hell of a battle between all three that's been fun to watch.  Jake is very talented who has tremendous power and receives the ball well with good arm strength. His attention to the little things needs to improve," said Filter.  "Tony has been consistent.  He could finish the game and you might go, 'Who is the catcher?'  He catches the ball and throws it where it needs to go.  We need both of them to catch a lot and Lucas has made great strides.  The nice thing about being a catcher is you're going to get your opportunity.  It's pretty rare to handle the workload of catching every game for an entire season.  So those opportunities to catch will be there for the three of them."
Preseason all-conference selections Jake Brodt and John Cresto will be the cornerstones of the program for the upcoming season.  
"Jake Brodt is our leader.  He never gets too excited or too down, he plays the same all the time.  He'll be in the middle of the lineup where I want to see his hits count for something.  He's had a great fall and winter, showing some power the opposite way, the ability to hit a breaking ball and he's good defensively around the bag at first," said Filter.  
Redshirt sophomore Ryan McCarthy (38 games, .268/.307/.463, three home runs) and six-foot-four, 230 pound freshman Cory Moore will back up Brodt at first.  The Broncos are also experimenting with McCarthy and Moore in left field as a way to get them some at-bats because of their power potential.
"Depending on what type of game we're in, we might need some power so we're trying to find an alternate spot for them and they've been great at trying to do it," said Filter.  
"At third, John Cresto is as advertised.  He's a hell of a player with his ability to hit and defend," said Filter.  
Behind Cresto, the Bronco have a number of multi-dimensional players in senior Joe Becht (26 games, .167/.231/.292), sophomore Zach Walsh (40 games, .152/.243/.304) and freshman Michael Curran.  
"Up the middle, there's a lot of good things happening with them competing for playing time.  The separation between each is not that big.  We can interchange a lot of guys," said Filter.  
Sophomore Jason Dicochea (14 games, .143/.143/.286) will start at short with an ongoing battle at second base between Becht, Walsh, junior Austin Reyes (25 games, .171/.211/.200) and senior Austin Fisher (47 games, .222/.294/.302).  
"Fisher has been our most consistent hitter," Filter said.  "I know what I'm going to get when I ask him to go into the batter's box.  When we need that good at-bat whether it's contact, to leadoff an inning, or drive in a big run with a runner on second, he's the guy I'm putting in there.  I trust him in that batter's box."
Freshman Mark Ready will add depth up the middle having played second base in the fall and shortstop during the winter where Filter said he is looking more comfortable.  
Santa Clara will likely open its season with Grant Meylan (36 games, .186/.296/.214) in left field, Joe Becht in center and Matt Smithwick (41 games, .278/.381/.431) in right.  
"The competition in the outfield has been great.  I see Joe Becht playing a lot in center until Andre Nnebe comes back from his injury," said Filter.  "Smithwick is a really good outfielder.  He can play some center but he'll start in right.  Meylan is our starting left fielder.  Meylan and Becht are both left-handed hitters that can run and handle the bat."
Senior Evan Haberle will bring experience and some power to the outfield having started in 30 of the 41 games he played last season hitting .273 with a .400 on-base percentage.  
Anthony Geremia (16 games, .250/.231/.417) will add depth to the outfield with Filter adding that the senior has been the Broncos' most improved player.  
Senior Niko Holm, who batted .307 and led the team in on-base percentage with a .443 mark in 52 games, will be the designated hitter for the Broncos.  
"Niko is probably our best pure hitter as far as getting results.  He can do a lot of things, I want him in the middle of the order somewhere.  He has the highest on-base percentage returning so I'll have him bat in front of Brodt and Cresto," said Filter.  
The 2018 schedule features games against four teams (Wake Forest, Sacramento State, Stanford and BYU) that qualified for the 2017 NCAA Baseball Tournament.  Among the 53 regular-season games, 27 will be played at home in Stephen Schott Stadium and 26 on the road.  2018 schedule release.
Jim Dietz, the former San Diego State baseball head coach who coached Filter during his playing days is expected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday to usher in the Rusty Filter era at Santa Clara.  
Tickets: Season or single-game tickets are available. Click here to purchase online or contact the ticket office in Leavey Center weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (408) 554-4660 or Group discounts are also available through our ticket office sales and service consultants. Gates to Stephen Schott Stadium, as well as its ticket booth, are open one hour prior to the start of the game.
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. Click here for a campus parking map.
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