Santa Clara Baseball Ready For Cal, Gonzaga

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Returning to the site of its 2011 Super Regional victory to propel itself to the College World Series, Cal baseball will travel to play Santa Clara on Tue., April 10 at 6:10 p.m. The broncos will then travel to Spokane, Wash. to resume West Coast Conference play vs. Gonzaga.

Santa Clara is 17-12 overall with a 1-5 mark in the WCC. Last week the Broncos took a mid-week game vs. Fresno State before being swept by CSU Bakersfield on the road.

Cal is 17-12 and 2-7 in the very competitive Pac-12. The Bears took two of three vs. Texas at a neutral site from Mar. 30 - April 1. They won by scores of 12-2 and 6-5 and lost by a final of 13-3. Cal will play one game vs. Stanford on April 9 before traveling to the Mission Campus for a mid-week showdown with the Broncos.

Gonzaga started the season 10-0 with a sweep of Nebraska in Arizona the opening weekend of the season. Overall the Zags are 20-9 with a 3-3 mark in WCC play. At home the Bulldogs have been very good with a 9-2 mark.

Fans should keep an eye on SantaClaraBroncos.com, @SCUBroncos and @SCU_Baseball on twitter or the athletics Facebook fan page for in game updates.

BRONCO PITCHING
Junior RHP Tommy Nance (3-2; 3.29) has lived up to the title of Friday night starter for the Broncos in 2012. He has made seven starts while also appearing in relief once. Nance leads the team with 52.0 innings pitched and 29 strikeouts. He has walked 19 while allowing a .253 batting average against. He is tied for second on the team in wins, behind WCC Pitcher of the Month for February LHP Powell Fansler.

Fansler has been very good as Santa Clara's mid-week starter. He has a team-high five wins and an ERA of 3.54. In 10 appearances, including six starts, he has tossed 40.2 innings while striking out 19 and walking just seven. Fansler was named WCC Pitcher of the Month for February when he picked up four wins while making two starts and appearing twice in relief.

RHP Mike Couch (1-4; 4.36) threw his first complete game and first career shutout vs. San Jose State on Mar. 4. He allowed six hits and one walk while striking out seven. Converting from a bullpen role in 2011, Couch has made seven starts and thrown 43.1 innings. His 28 strikeouts is second on the team and he has only allowed 12 walks.

RHP Paul Twining (3-2; 3.00) has been one of the top bullpen arms thus far for Coach O'Brien. Twining has made 15 appearances, including one start, to lead the team and has struck out 21 batters in 21.0 innings. He also leads the team with six saves. He pitched the ninth inning in each of the four Santa Clara games in the third annual Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament from Mar. 8-11, picking up three saves.

The other stellar bullpen arm has been LHP Max Deering (2-1; 1.38). Deering has appeared in 15 games spanning 26.0 innings. He has surrendered 26 hits and struck out 14 while only walking five. Deering is second on the team with two saves.

BRONCO OFFENSE
Offensively, OF Lucas Herbst and OF Pat Stover have paced the Broncos thus far in 2012. Herbst is first on the team with .388 batting average (33-85). He has scored a team-high 20 runs and added 14 RBI while hitting six doubles and four triples. With six walks and four HBP, his on-base percentage stands at a terrific .443 which has helped him steal four bases. Stover is third on the Broncos with a .297 (33-111) batting average. Stover is second on the team  with 21 RBI and has also scored 18 runs. He has six doubles and three home runs. His eight steals in 10 attempts leads the team.

Others doing well include 1B Andrew Biancardi who has a team-best four home runs and four doubles while adding a team-high 22 RBI and scoring 16 runs. C Peter Summerville has started to pick up more at-bats and is making the most of his opportunity. In 19 games, including 15 starts, Summerville is second on the team with a .321 batting average (18-56). He already has four multi-hit games including a 3-3 performance at San Jose State on Mar. 3. 2B Evan Peters hit a big triple against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 26 to help Santa Clara come back from five runs down late in the game.

HOSTING A SUPER REGIONAL
2011 was supposed to be the final year of Cal baseball. A program that had appeared in the NCAA Tournament 12 times and in the College World Series six times while bringing home two national titles in 1947 and 1957, was going to be cut due to budgetary reasons. With many former players having had successful Major League careers, including the 2000 National League MVP Jeff Kent who played for the San Francisco Giants from 1997-2002, supporters of the program wouldn't let the program die. Cal received more than $9 million in pledges, including money from its biggest rival Stanford, and the Golden Bears baseball team was reinstated in April 2011.

While head coach David Esquer was trying to find places for his players to go in 2012 as he was expecting the program to be dropped, the Bears were in the midst of a magical season. Despite finishing sixth in the Pac-10 with a 13-13 record, Cal was an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 31-20.

After a 6-4 loss to Baylor to open the tournament, Cal won its next four games to advance to the Super Regional where it would take on Dallas Baptist.

Cal's home field of Evans Diamond was considered to be inadequate to host the Super Regional games by the NCAA due to a lack of lights. In search of a venue, Cal and Dallas Baptist turned to Santa Clara University's Stephen Schott Stadium which opened in 2005.

Schott Stadium was sold out for both games, two of just four sellouts in the facility's history, with ESPN on site to broadcast the games on national television. The three-game series was decided after just two games with Cal winning 7-0 and 6-2 to advance to the College World Series just months after the program was said to be in its final year.

The Golden Bears will return to site of their Super Regional victory for the first time in 2012 to take on Santa Clara in a midweek game on Tue., April 10 at 6:10 p.m. New Santa Clara baseball head coach Dan O'Brien hopes that his team can follow in Cal's footsteps and dog pile in the middle of Schott Stadium before a trip to Omaha.

A REDSHIRT NO MORE
OF Justin Gisch was one of three redshirts who began the year with the Broncos, along with IF Anthony Hascheff and 2B Tyler Olivet. He had been working the camera in the press box during the season. Due to injuries Gisch was added to the active roster vs. Portland on Fri., Mar. 30. He made his first start April 1 and doubled in his first collegiate at-bat to knock in a run for the Broncos and jump start the offense to a 5-4 win vs. Portland. The win marked the first conference win of the season for the Broncos and their first home conference win since a 12-6 victory vs. San Francisco on May 9, 2010. It was also O'Brien's first WCC win.

"I was so excited when I found out I was starting," said Gisch after hit first start. "Lucas Herbst came up to me and told me I had to go check out the line-up. At first I thought it was an April Fool's joke but it turned out I was really in the line-up and I was thrilled and to contribute to the team on the field was even better. We had struggled to score all weekend so it was important to score quickly. We kept saying it was a dogfight all day because they kept coming back. We just stayed positive in the dugout and we grinded out the win."

SCOUTING CAL
The Golden Bears have several players tearing the cover off the ball. INF Tony Renda leads the team with a .344 batter average (42-122) and a .420 on-base percentage. He has smacked seven doubles and two home runs to go along with 10 RBI and 22 runs scored. He has also swiped eight bases in nine attempts. 

Right behind Renda is OF Vince Bruno who is hitting .343 (35-102). He has 11 RBI and a team-high 24 runs scored. He has two triples, a double and a home run.

INF Mitch Delfino has crushed four homers and seven doubles to put his slugging percentage at a team-high .537. He has 18 RBI and 15 runs scored. Also showing impressive power is OF Chad Bunting who has five home runs to lead Cal. He is only hitting .245 (27-110) but is tied for the team lead with 23 RBI and has scored 19 runs.

RHP Matt Flemer has been the ace for the Bears. In his eight starts and a team-high 58.0 innings pitched, he has a 4-2 record with a 2.33 ERA. He also leads the team with 33 strikeouts against just seven walks.

Out of the bullpen RHP Joey Donofrio has been the go-to-guy for head coach David Esquer. Donofrio has posted a 2.18 ERA in 14 games covering 20.2 innings. With 23 strikeouts he has an impressive 10.01 K/9.

RHP Logan Scott has been the Cal closer, picking up six saves in 14 appearances with a 3.26 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 19.1 innings.

SCOUTING GONZAGA
Offensively Gonzaga is led by a pair of .300 hitters. OF Royce Bolinger has been red-hot all year and is leading the team in several major offensive categories including batting average (.379), runs scored (25), hits (47), home runs (8), RBI (25) and slugging percentage (.637). He has also added four doubles and two triples to go with his .425 on-base percentage. 

INF Clayton Eslick is hitting .357 (35-98) with a team-leading .480 OBP which has been helped by his 20 walks. He has four doubles and two triples to go with his 15 RBI and 17 runs scored.

Starting pitching has been a strong suit for the Bulldogs as they have three starters, all of whom are left-handed, with ERAs under 3.00. LHP Marco Gonzales is 4-0 with a 1.25 ERA in five starts, including a complete game shutout. He has thrown 36.0 innings and struck out 35 batters while allowing just 24 hits and seven walks.

LHP Tyler Olson has started eight games and pitched a team-leading 57.2 innings. He has struck out 43 while walking 11. His 4-0 mark is tied with Gonzales for tops on the team. Olson has also thrown two complete games.

LHP Billy Moon is 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in five starts and one relief appearance. He has struck out 24 batters and walked only four in 38.0 innings pitched. He also has thrown a complete game.

RHP Derek Peterson has been the bullpen stud for Gonzaga. he has a 2.35 ERA in 12 games. In his 15.1 innings pitched, he has struck out six batters and walked five while picking up one save.

BEATING QUALITY OPPONENTS
Santa Clara came out of the gates in 2012 ready to play. Thus far they have defeated No. 35 Texas State, No. 37 Wichita State and a Cal Poly team who swept Oklahoma State in three games and the Broncos WCC rival LMU in a four game series. Santa Clara has taken down five teams with a winning record and three teams with a winning percentage of .600 or better.

Below are the teams with winning records the Broncos have beaten in 2012 and their current records.

Team

 

Wins

 

Losses

 

Outcomes

 

Texas State

 

20

 

11

 

Won 5-4 (13)

 

Wichita State

 

19

 

15

 

Won 8-5

 

Cal Poly

 

20

 

10

 

Won 5-2 and 11-6

 

Nevada

 

16

 

14

 

Won 8-4

 

Portland

 

19

 

7

 

Won 5-4

POWELL FANSLER NAMED WCC PITCHER OF THE MONTH FOR FEBRUARY
Santa Clara baseball went 7-2 in new head coach Dan O'Brien's first month on the Mission Campus and LHP Powell Fansler was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Month for February. He picked up four of the seven Bronco wins while making two starts and appearing twice in relief. 

"Being honored as the WCC Pitcher of the Month is indescribable but the award should be given not just to myself but to my team as well," said Fansler. "When I'm on the mound I really focus on executing the pitches that my coach calls. In addition, I have developed a routine that I stick to everyday and when something doesn't feel right I can look to my routine to find out what the problem might be. As for the team dynamic, I have a defense that I know works just as hard as I do, in practice and during the game, it makes pitching a lot easier. Our team mentality is completely different this year and it started with the new energy of the team and coaches. We love to have fun. Furthermore, the coaching staff has fostered a brotherhood that is unbreakable, because of this companionship each and every one of us has grown closer. We trust each other. Thus, the success that the team has been having is a result of the our attitude, trust, and hard work."

"This is great for the program but mostly it's great for Powell," said first-year Bronco pitching coach Gabe Ribas. " I saw a guy who was will to throw strikes and compete in the zone. I think he's done a great job of that all year. He's also done a great job pitching in pressure situations with runners on. He's come out and made some great changes and he's really mindful of where he wants to go this year. He earned it and hopefully we have a bundle more of those coming. Although he's stood out for us, everybody's done a great job. It's great to get individual awards but those are for the individuals. We're a team-oriented program and hopefully we'll get some team awards, too."

Fansler was dazzling for the month, making two starts and two relief appearances. He posted a 2.65 ERA to go along with his four wins. In 17.0 innings pitched he allowed 16 hits and struck out nine against only two walks.

His best start game vs. Nevada on Feb. 28 at Schott Stadium. He scattered five hits over 7.0 shutout innings and struck out three with only one walk.

MOVING DOWN THE ALAMEDA
The 2011-12 Santa Clara baseball team has three members that all played their high school baseball just down the Alameda at Bellarmine College Prep. Freshman Matt Glomb, sophomore Kyle DeMerritt and junior Mike Couch all played at the Jesuit prep school that is just 1.5 miles from the Mission campus. DeMerritt and Glomb played together at Bellarmine, while DeMerritt appeared on the same varsity team as Couch during his sophomore season. Bellarmine, a typical feeder for many Santa Clara students, has funneled many players into a Bronco uniform. Since 2005, each Santa Clara baseball team has had at least two former Bells on its roster with six wearing the Santa Clara uniform in 2009. The Bells have given Santa Clara two Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans – DeMerritt (2010-11 season) and Tommy Medica '09 (2006-07 season). 

BROTHERLY LOVE
Twin brothers OF Matt Ozanne and 3B/DH Drew Ozanne look to continue to produce offensively for the Broncos. Matt started 45 games last season and lead the team with 10 stolen bases and added 22 RBI.  He has appeared in 24 games, making 22 starts, in 2012. He has one home run and seven RBI. Drew started 29 games, appearing in 37. He had 16 RBI on the season, including a walk-off RBI single against Bakersfield. This season Drew has appeared in 15 games while making five starts. He has scored seven runs and added three RBI. The brothers batted back-to-back in the lineup three times last season and look to anchor the offense in 2012. He has made three appearances. 

DEMERRTT ON SUMMER BALL
Coming off of a spectacular rookie season for the Broncos, Kyle DeMerritt has been hard at work preparing for the 2012 season.  He spent time over the summer in the very competitive Northwest League in Wausau, Wis. where he was a member of the Wisconsin Woodchucks. 

"Summer ball plain and simple is a blast," said DeMerritt. "I was given the opportunity to play out of state for two and a half months against players from all around the country. We get fed and housed and our job is to play baseball every day... it doesn't get much better. However, we play 70 games in 75 days which was a grind that really humbled me and allowed me to realize what the next level (professional ball) is all about. On the baseball side I had both success and failures and the competition I faced really helped me mature as a ball player. Lastly, I was fortunate to have an amazing host family and stay in a town where our team was highly regarded. It was awesome playing for the people out there."

Now DeMerritt and his teammates are hard at work trying to become a unit on the field. Coach O'Brien stresses the importance of team chemistry and with DeMerritt as one of the top returners he will be looked upon for a larger leadership role. Thus far in 2012 he has made 18 starts and scored nine runs with seven RBI.

LISTEN UP
Eight select Bronco baseball games, four non-conference and four conference, in 2012 will be called on the Broncos' online Game Central via Stretch internet, for the first time since 2010. All eight broadcast will be done by a two-man student broadcast affiliated with Santa Clara's athletic department. The crew includes John Nash , a junior on the Santa Clara men's water polo team and an Athletic Department student employee, and Brandon Rebboah, also an Athletic Department student employee. In addition to the eight broadcasted games, all home games will have free video streaming via Game Central. The remaining games to be aired will be April 10 vs. Cal, April 20 vs. Pepperdine, April 27 vs. Saint Mary's, May 22 vs. Stanford and May 25 vs. LMU.

"We're excited to have two passionate and talented Santa Clara students broadcast our games once again. We want people to fall in love with Bronco baseball and who better to help us do that than these two outstanding young men," said O'Brien about the radio broadcasts.