Baseball Heads to Pepperdine to Open West Coast Conference Play

Weekly game notes

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Opening up West Coast Conference play, Santa Clara baseball hits the road and travels outside the Bay Area for the first time this season when it visits Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif. The Broncos and Waves will play a double header on Saturday with the first game starting at 11 a.m. Sunday the teams will wrap-up the series with a 1 p.m. game.

Last week Santa Clara fell to Cal 3-1 on March 12 before being swept by Michigan State. The loses put the Broncos at 8-12 on the season.

Santa Clara is 58-89-2 all-time vs. Pepperdine. Last year the Broncos hosted the Waves and took the series opener 6-2 behind a complete game from Tommy Nance. Quinton Perry was 2-3 with a home run and three RBI. Pepperdine bounced back to take the next two games at Schott.

The finale of the series was Santa Clara's "Shave for Change" event in support of St. Baldrick's Foundation to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

The Waves enter the weekend with a 10-9 overall record and a 2-1 mark in WCC play. Last week Pepperdine dropped the conference opener to LMU before bouncing back with consecutive wins to get back over the .500 mark. Pepperdine took two of three from No. 24 Texas A&M on the road and won one of three at No. 10 Oklahoma. 

"We're excited to get through finals, get healthier and get back to our core vales as a team and a program," said Santa Clara head coach Dan O'Brien. "I love baseball but it can gut punch you in a hurry and we've taken a few good ones lately. I'm looking forward to watching these guys respond to that and show us some toughness coming out of the break. We have a lot of good baseball left in us with a lot of the season to go. It would be a mistake to rule us out this early."

Santa Clara has a team ERA of 5.25 in 180.0 innings. The pitching staff has allowed 205 hits and 75 walks while striking out 123. Opponents are hitting .295 off of Bronco pitchers.

Tommy Nance (2-2, 2.74) has been spectacular in five starts this year. Nance has thrown 23.0 innings and allowed 16 hits. He has 17 strikeouts against seven walks with an opponents' batting average of just .195. At San Jose State on March 10 he tossed 8.0-plus innings of one-hit, one-run ball with seven strikeouts.

Mike Couch (3-2, 3.00) has started the first five Friday nights for Santa Clara and had his best outing vs. San Jose State on March 8. Couch threw a complete game shutout with five strikeouts. Couch leads the team with 38.0 innings pitched and has struck out a team-high 28 batters with 16 walks while allowing 32 hits.

Max Deering (1-1, 3.47) has been lights out coming in from the bullpen. Deering has thrown 23.1 innings over 12 appearances, including one start, and struck out 20 batters against just five walks. His 4.0 strikeout to walk ratio is tops on the team. He has also leads the team with two saves. D.J. Zapata and Reece Karalus are tied for second in saves with one each.

Chris Mendoza (2-1, 4.62) stepped up out of the bullpen in the first game of the double header vs. Michigan State on March 16. Mendoza threw 5.0 innings of one-run ball to save the bullpen. Mendoza has thrown 25.1 innings over eight appearances and four starts.

Santa Clara is hitting .272 as a team with a .362 on-base percentage and a .356 slugging percentage. The Broncos have hit 25 doubles, four triples and eight home runs while scoring 112 runs and stealing 27 bags in 41 attempts.

Greg Harisis leads Santa Clara in hitting with a .400 (24-60) batting average. Harisis clubbed his first home run of the season vs. vs. Northern Colorado on March 3. He has added four doubles, one triple, 13 runs scored, 12 RBI and three stole bases. His seven walks and one hit-by-pitch put his on-base percentage at a terrific .464.

Quinton Perry leads the team with five home runs, his total from 2012, while hitting .370 (20-54). Perry has a team-high 17 RBI while adding four doubles and scoring 14 runs. Perry has a .419 OBP and a .722 slugging percentage.

Newcomer Casey Munoz has started all 20 games for Santa Clara and is hitting .316 (25-79) with a team-high six doubles, one triple, 13 RBI and seven runs scored. Matt Ozanne is tied for first on the Broncos with 17 RBI while hitting .294 (20-68) and scoring 11 runs. Justin Viele leads the Broncos with 14 walks, while hitting .320 (24-75) and posting a .441 OBP. He has scored 18 runs and driven in nine while hitting two three and a triple with a team-high six stolen bases in seven attempts stolen bases. Freshman Kert Woods is second on the team with five steals in six attempts while scoring nine runs.

Pepperdine's Nate Johnson leads the offense as the only .300 hitter. Johnson is hitting .325 (13-40) with seven doubles, six RBI and four runs scored.

Austin Davidson has started every game and is hitting .270 (20-74) with a home run, four doubles, seven RBI and 11 runs scored while Chris Amezquita has also started all 19 games and added a team-high 16 runs scored while hitting .254 (18-71). Amezquita had clubbed nine doubles and two home runs.

Kolten Yamaguchi is tied with Sam Meyer for the team lead with three home runs despite just 18 at-bats. Yamaguchi is hitting .278 (5-18) with four RBI and four runs scored. Meyer is hitting .265 (18-68) with four doubles, a team-best 15 RBI and 11 runs scored.

Eric Karch (4-1, 0.95) leads the Waves in ERA over 19.0 innings. In 11 appearances Karch has fanned 13 against five walks and has a .235 batting average against.

Corey Miller (3-2, 2.43) and Scott Frazier (1-3, 5.13) are tied for the team lead in innings pitched with 33.1 apiece. Miller has struck out 24 with six walks and Frazier has fanned 30 with 13 walks. 

Michael Swanner (0-0, 2.35) has the only two saves of the year for Pepperdine. Swanner has pitched in seven games covering 7.2 innings while striking out nine and walking three.