April 8, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball takes to the road for weekend number three of West Coast Conference play. The Broncos will battle the Bulldogs of Gonzaga in a three-game series beginning on Friday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's games will both be held at 1 p.m.
Prior to their trip to the Evergreen State, the Broncos will battle the fifth-ranked Golden Bears of Cal at Evans Diamond in Berkeley. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 9. Santa Clara then begins its four single-game series against Bay Area rival Stanford on Monday, April 14. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto.
On The Season
The Broncos own a 17-11 record going into Wednesday's midweek contest. SCU opened the season with a five-game win streak, defeating Utah Valley, Kansas State, Pacific and San Jose State (Feb. 22-Feb. 29). The Broncos will ride a four game streak into the weekend and have won their last five of seven contests.
Offensively, junior Evan LeBlanc continues to lead the Broncos hitting .373 with 25 runs, 11 doubles, 21 RBIs and three home runs. Senior Ryan Conan is not too far behind him batting .368 with 29 runs, 10 doubles and 23 RBIs.
On the mound Thain Simon continues to own a team-best 1.08 ERA and 6-1 record. Sophomore Alex Rivers has also compiled three saves thus far for the Broncos in four relief appearances. Steve Kalush, who earned the win against Pacific and Portland last week, leads the Broncos in batters struck out with a tally of 39 in 26.0 innings of work.
Broncos Even Out In WCC Play
SCU faced its first league series loss of the season to the Pilots of Portland. The Broncos prevented the sweet with an astounding 14-4 victory Saturday night at Schott Stadium. Santa Clara posted a 12-run bottom of the sixth to come back from a 4-0 deficit to beat Portland.
For the series, Brady Fuerst hit .462 with three runs and one RBI. He also recorded six assists. Redshirt senior Nathan Faulkner also had a tremendous weekend for the Broncos. He hit .429 with two runs and an RBI. Sophomore shortstop Jon Karcich registered a three-run homer in Saturday's sixth inning rout. It was the second time he scored in that inning. Karcich led the Broncos for the weekend with four runs scored.
SCU's pitching staff combined for 25 Pilots struck out over the weekend, with Rivers registering seven Ks.
On The National Stage
The third week of national rankings has been released and the Broncos remain mentioned in all 25 categories. The Broncos top 50 rankings as of April 6 are:
Doubles Per Gm - No. 5
Doubles - No. 9
Strikeouts Per 9 Inn. - No. 31
Sac Flies - No. 39
Batting Avg. - No. 47
Individually, nine different batters and three different pitchers are ranked in the top 500. The Broncos highest rankings come to LeBlanc with is 71st in doubles, 87th in hits and 89th in doubles per game. Conan is ranked 28th in the nation in sac flies, Matt Long is 45th in triples and 86th in triples per game, while Rivers who is 91st overall in walks allowed per nine innings.
Junior LeBlanc surpassed his own team season-best 11-game hitting streak this weekend and has now had at least one hit in 12 consecutive contests. The streak began on Mar. 16 against UC Davis and entails 13 runs, a homer, four doubles, one triple and nine RBIs.
Second baseman Fuerst has also compiled a season-best nine game hitting streak. Fuerst's streak began on March 25 against then-No. 11 Cal and includes seven runs, one double and four RBIs
Going, Going, Gone!
Eight different Broncos have gone yard thus far this season for Santa Clara. Shortstop Karcich leads the group with five home runs. He notched his fifth homer of the season in the sixth inning of Saturday's contest against Portland. Gabe Alcantar and Long have four home runs each, while LeBlanc and Geoff Klein have tallied three. Tommy Medica has two on the season, while Fuerst and Faulkner have hit one each.
The Golden Bears enter the week with a 21-7-1 overall record and a decision in the wings on Monday night's 13-inning 5-5 tie against Stanford that was called due to darkness.
Josh Satin continues to lead Cal hitting .431 with 29 runs, 10 homers and six doubles. On the mound, the Broncos will face freshman righty Stephen Pistoresi. It is his first start of the season and he enters the contest with a 0.63 ERA after 14.1 innings of relief work.
Last Time Out vs. Cal
The Broncos defeated the Golden Bears two weeks ago with a final score of 7-5 after 10 innings at Schott Stadium. Long launched a two-run homer in the 10th to give the Broncos the win.
All-Time vs. Cal
Wednesday's contest is the 219th meeting in a series that dates back to the 1897 season. Cal leads the series 122-90-6.
The Zags (16-14, 1-4 WCC) will play host to Washington State Tuesday night before hosting the Broncos in West Coast Conference action over the weekend. In their most recent outing, the Zags were swept by the USD Toreros in league play.
Evan Wells and Marcus McKimmy lead the way for Gonzaga. Wells bats .350 with 26 runs and three doubles, while McKimmy hits .342 with 32 runs, eight doubles and four home runs. It has not been announced who the Broncos will face on the mound over the week. However, the Zags have a team ERA of 6.20 with CJ McClure leading the pack with a 4-1 overall record.
Last Time Out vs. Gonzaga
The Broncos and Bulldogs last met in 2007 with Gonzaga winning the series 2-1.
All-Time vs. Gonzaga
Friday's contest is the 61st meeting in the series that dates back to the 1973 season. Santa Clara owns a 33-27-0 all-time record.
The Cardinal enters the week with a 15-9 overall record and also awaits the decision of Monday night's 5-5 13-inning tie with the Golden Bears. Prior to that, Stanford went 2-1 in the series against then-No. 1 Arizona State.
Randy Molina leads the Cardinal offensively. He hits .411 with 15 runs, five doubles, two home runs and 18 RBIs. Sean Ratcliff has notched a team-best eight homers as of April 6. It has not been announced who the Broncos will face on the mound. However, the Cardinal has a team ERA of 4.10 with Jeffrey Inman posting a team-best 4-0 record in six appearances with a 1.80 ERA.
Last Time Out vs. Stanford
The Broncos and Cardinal last met in 2007. SCU went 3-1 in the four single-game series against Stanford; however the Cardinal won the last meeting in May with a score of 14-4 at Schott Stadium.
All-Time vs. Stanford
Monday's contest marks the 344th meeting of the two teams in a series that dates back to the 1892 season. The Cardinal owns a 177-159-7 all-time record.
The Broncos return to Schott Stadium to host the Dons of USF in West Coast Conference action on Apr. 18-20. First pitch of the series is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday. SCU then remains home to host Stanford in the nationally televised CSTV broadcast. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT.