Five Broncos Earn All-WCC Honors

Five Broncos Earn All-WCC Honors

May 20, 2009

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Five members of the Santa Clara University baseball team were named to the West Coast Conference's all-league teams, it was announced Wednesday. The Broncos were led by first-time recipient and unanimous first-team selection junior Geoff Klein. Fellow juniors Nate Garcia and Jon Karcich were also named All-WCC first team. Andrew Biancardi received All-Freshman team honors, while senior Matt Long rounded out the recognized Broncos receiving an honorable mention nod.

"It's absolutely great to have five of our student-athletes recognized by the conference for the hard work and dedication they put in," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "To have repeat honorees in Nate, Jon and Matt is a testament to their being consistent players for our program. We're also very excited for Geoff who had a tremendous breakout year and for Andrew to have come in as a freshman as make an immediate impact on our program."

Not only did catcher Klein receive his first career honor from the WCC, he earned it unanimously. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native capture the league's batting title with a .379 average, which was also a team-best for SCU. He also led the WCC with 81 hits, was third with 21 doubles and 56 RBIs. Klein's role on the team changed dramatically in the beginning of March as made the moved from designated hitter to the Broncos' primary catcher to replace an injured Tommy Medica. Klein made a seamless transition behind the plate and saw his offensive numbers continue to climb. He led Santa Clara in batting average, hits and RBIs, as well as tied for first in home runs, and first in total bases and slugging percentage. Klein has produced 27 multi-hit games and 15 multi-RBI games this season. The 6-foot-4 switch hitter posted a career-high four RBIs against San Jose State (Feb. 28) and then tied the mark against LMU (Mar. 29), while scoring a career-high three runs against Cornell (Mar. 15).

Junior RHP Nate Garcia led the WCC in innings pitch, strikeouts and complete games.

Earning his third straight honor from the conference was junior RHP Garcia. A two-time Pitcher of the Week this season, the Santa Clara native led the Broncos and the WCC in innings pitched (95.2), strikeouts (96) and complete games (3). He earned his first weekly honor on Feb. 23 after leading Santa Clara to a 3-0 sweep of Xavier in the 2009 season opener. It was his 13th career victory and head coach O'Brien's 200th career win. He surrendered just three hits in the routing, while striking out eight batters. Garcia received the honor again on Mar. 9 after tossing his third career complete game against Oregon. He struck out a season-high 12 batters and gave up just one run for his second win of the season. Garcia went on to toss two more complete game victories against Portland and USF. He also entered Santa Clara's All-Time Record Books for career strikeouts and currently stands at tied for No. 6 with 245. As of May 17, Garcia is also ranked No. 18 in the nation in strikeouts.

Junior SS Jon Karcich led the Broncos with 22 doubles this season.

Junior shortstop Karcich received his second consecutive yearly accolade from the WCC, as he earned unanimous all-conference honors in 2008. Karcich was along the WCC's top hitters this season, finishing second in doubles (22), fifth in on-base percentage (.454) and ninth in batting average (.354). The Belmont, Calif., native led the Broncos in doubles and was second in runs (37), hits (68) and slugging percentage (.500). He also posted two home runs, was walked a team-high 24 times and was hit-by-pitch on 11 occasions. After missing two games late in the season due to a minor shoulder injury, Karcich returned to end the year with a 10-game hitting streak that he will carry into the 2010 season. Karcich posted a career-high five hits against San Diego State (May 2) and a career-high three doubles against Gonzaga (Apr. 25). He entered his first two career record book lists as well as his first single-season list. He is ranked No. 6 in career hit-by-pitch (26), tied for No. 6 in career doubles (48), and is fifth in single-season doubles (22). As of May 17, Karcich is ranked No. 18 in the nation in doubles.

Freshman DH Andrew Biancardi made an immediate impact for the Broncos.

Freshman Biancardi had one of the more interesting starts to his collegiate career but battled back from adversity to claim a spot on the WCC's All-Freshman team. Diagnosed with diabetes during the first week of school back in September, Biancardi lost a lot of weight and missed much of fall training. Unsure what his role would be because of his setback, the Aptos, Calif., native worked hard for a starting role, and was given the opportunity to take over the majority of the designating hitting responsibilities as Klein moved behind the plate. Biancardi made 37 starts in 45 games played, and finished his rookie campaign with a .299 batting average, 16 runs, eight doubles, one triple and 22 RBIs. Of Broncos playing in 40 or more games, he was the toughest to strikeout. Against Cornell (Mar. 15), he scored a season-high two runs and twice had three RBIs - against San Jose State (Apr. 29) and Saint Mary's (May 10).

Senior OF Matt Long brings his collegiate career to close as one of SCU's All-Time bests.

Centerfielder Long earned his third yearly accolade from the WCC this season after producing yet another stellar campaign at the plate and in the outfield. The Los Altos Hills native led the Broncos in runs (43), triples (6) and was tied for first in home runs (5). Overall, he was third in the WCC in triples, and in WCC games only, Long ranked ninth in batting average (.307). He nearly hit for the cycle for the second time in his career on May 2 against San Diego State. He was a home run shy of reaching the feat. A soon to be fourth generation alumnus of SCU when he graduates on June 13, Long entered seven career record books categories this year and two single-season lists. He brought his career to a close ranked: No. 2 in career at bats (875) and triples (14), No. 3 in career hits (269) and total bases (393), No. 4 in career runs (160), No. 9 in walks (100) and extra base hits (72), tied for No. 7 in single-season triples (6 in 2009), and tied for No. 10 in single-season sacrifice flies (5 in 2009).

The Broncos ended the season with a 19-34 overall record and a 6-15 WCC mark. Their year was highlight by O'Brien's 200th career victory on Feb. 22, series sweeps of Cornell, Dartmouth and Portland, a series win over Saint Mary's and a 8-5 triumph over then-No. 18 Cal Poly on April 14.

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