SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University Bronco baseball held it's first spring practice of 2012 today, Fri., Jan. 27 at Stephen Schott Stadium. New head coach Dan O'Brien and his staff are preparing the team for the upcoming season that will open at Texas State as part of the Bobcat Invitational where they will also play Wichita State and Louisiana-Lafayette. The home-opener will be on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. against Illinois-Chicago.
"This spring will be a very special time for Bronco baseball," said O'Brien. "We're working hard, both on and off the field, to bring an old school style of baseball back to a program with an incredibly rich tradition. Our Bronco faithful will be proud of how our team competes and can be excited for an aggressive and fun style of baseball when the Broncos take the field."
Among the top returning Broncos are sophomore INF Kyle DeMerritt and RHP Chris Medonza. DeMerritt hit .280 with eight doubles and 27 RBI as a freshman while playing mainly third base. His efforts landed him on the 2011 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team. Mendoza pitched 57.2 innings while striking out 18 with a 5.62 ERA and a 3-6 record.
Among the top newcomers are transfer RHP Tommny Nance and freshman C.J. Jacobe. Nance attended Cypress College last season and has touches 91 MPH on the radar gun. He will slot in as the Broncos Friday starter. Jacobe was drafted in the 45th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft by the Oakland A's but opted to come to Santa Clara. He will see time in the outfield and at DH.
"We have the talent on the roster to compete in the West Coast Conference this year but we need to come together as a team," said O'Brien. "The college model is all about team, it's all about the guy to your left and to your right and that's where we're going to spend a lot of our time. Our team chemistry is going to be as strong, if not stronger, than anybody in the country. That college model is going to be in the heart of everything we do."
Coach O'Brien and his staff know that it is going to take hard work and many hours to help restore Bronco baseball to the tradition of its past but he and his staff are ready to take on the challenge.