Baseball

Baseball Faces Cal Poly in Midweek Matchup

Alex Barden
Alex Barden

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball will play its second midweek game of the season against Cal Poly on Tuesday at 6 p.m. PT. The Broncos will look to even the season series after the Mustangs won the first matchup on Feb. 28 at Stephen Schott Stadium by a score of 11-7.

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Game Information

Game #32 | Road Game #12

San Luis Obispo, Calif. | Baggett Stadium

All-Time Series: A series that dates back to 1956, the Mustangs hold a 43-42 advantage. Cal Poly won the first game this season and the two teams each won one game in 2016.

Probable Starters (2017 Stats)

Tuesday, April 11 • 6 p.m. PT

SCU LHP Alex Barden (0-0, 7.30 ERA) vs. CP LHP Kyle Smith (0-2, 8.14 ERA)

Last Time Out

Santa Clara lost a mid-week game against San Jose State then went on to win one of three games at Loyola Marymount over the weekend. Sophomore third baseman John Cresto had a strong week at the plate, going 8-for-18 with four doubles, two home runs and six runs batted in while scoring five runs himself.

New Broncos

Santa Clara (7-24, 3-6 WCC) has 15 newcomers on the 2017 squad and many of them will play significant roles this season. "We really focused on getting humble, hard working, grinders," head coach Dan O'Brien said on Feb. 14 at Bay Area Baseball Media Day.

Andre Nnebe, a freshman centerfielder who hails from Oakland, California, boasts the third-best batting average on the squad at .302. He has started every game this season and has recorded 38 hits including seven doubles and three home runs while driving in 19 runs. He has also recorded 71 putouts and three assists in the outfield.

Brandon Buckley, a freshman out of Kentfield, California, has been a bright spot for SCU out of the bullpen. He has made 14 appearances and pitched 28.1 innings, allowing just seven earned runs (13 runs total) and 20 hits while striking out 39 batters. He also has the best ERA on the team at 2.22.

Catcher Jake MacNichols, a freshman from Napa, California, went deep in his first collegiate at-bat on Feb. 18. He has started 25 of 32 games and has hit four home runs on the year. MacNichols also has 196 putouts and 32 assists for a .970 fielding percentage. Opposing baserunners have been caught stealing by MacNichols on 13 occasions this year, the best mark in the WCC.

Broncos in the Field

Sophomore third baseman John Cresto, a 2016 WCC All-Freshman Team member, is hitting .320, which is the best mark on the squad. He is second on the team and seventh in the league in doubles with 10. Cresto has also hit six home runs on the season, which is the most on the team and the sixth-best total in the WCC. He is second on the squad in runs driven in with 17, two behind Nnebe.

Junior Jake Brodt has made 120 starts in his career, playing primarily at first base. Brodt has the No. 2 batting average on the club at .317 and has recorded 39 hits (123 at-bats). He is first in the West Coast Conference and 27th in the nation with 13 doubles (0.42 per game).

2016 West Coast Conference Honorable Mention honoree Tyler Meditz, a senior outfielder, has started every game for the Broncos this season. The Honolulu, Hawaii native is hitting .245 on the year. He has hit three home runs while driving in nine runs on the year and boasts a slugging percentage of .355. He has 62 putouts as the starting left fielder.

Junior designated hitter Niko Holm recovered from a slow start at the plate to have the best on-base percentage on the squad at .417. He has been walked 14 times and hit by a pitch seven times on the season. He has a .272 batting average with 22 hits, including five doubles, a triple and five runs batted in on the year.

Redshirt freshman Ryan McCarthy has seen time at designated hitter as well lately and has performed for the Broncos. He owns a .275 batting average, recording 14 hits in 51 at-bats. McCarthy has already hit five doubles, one home run and driven in seven runs.

Santa Clara is third in the WCC in home runs (25) and home runs per game (0.81) on the season with 10 different student-athletes hitting those home runs.

Broncos on the Mound

Santa Clara is second in the league in strikeouts per nine innings at 8.2.

Redshirt senior RHP Jacob Steffens has stepped into the starting rotation after being a relief pitcher in 2016 (recovering from Tommy John). Steffens threw his first-career complete game against Northwestern (March 3) and tied a career high in strikeouts with 11. Steffens threw another complete game at Portland (April 1), also striking out 11 batters. He has thrown 55.2 innings, allowing 28 earned runs (35 runs total) while striking out 61 batters. His 61 Ks is a top-35 mark in the nation and No. 2 in the conference. Steffens is also third in the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 5.08.

Redshirt sophomore RHP Eric Lex has been the No. 2 starter for SCU this season after missing the 2016 season (due to Tommy John surgery). He is 2-5 on the year with a 3.77 ERA in 45.1 innings pitched. He has recorded 46 strikeouts, the fifth-best mark in the league.

Junior Michael Bono has made seven starts this season and has shown a lot of improvement in his time as a Bronco. He has thrown 34.0 innings and has an ERA of 6.88.

Freshman Grant Nechak has made six starts on the year and 12 appearances total. He earned the first win of his collegiate career on March 4 against Northwestern. Nechak allowed just four hits in his 7.0 innings pitched and struck out eight batters without allowing a single walk in that game. The 6-4 right-handed pitcher is 1-4 on the year and has thrown 35.2 innings with a 4.79 ERA.

Junior shortstop Austin Fisher has started in 19 games for SCU and done a good job offensively and defensively for SCU. He's recorded 33 putouts and 51 assists for a .955 fielding percentage. He has recorded 10 hits at the plate including a double, a triple and two home runs while driving in five runs and scoring 10 himself. He's also walked eight times and been hit by a pitch once.

With 15 newcomers, the Broncos have a very young squad but the team was also dealt two injury blows prior to the start of the 2017 season. Pitchers Steven Wilson and Travis Howard, both of which were likely to be weekend starters, suffered season-ending injuries.

Cal Poly

Cal Poly enters Tuesday's game with a 12-18 record and has won its last two series against Hawaii and at UC Irvine. The Mustangs lead the Big West Conference in strikeouts per nine innings at 9.1. As a team they have an ERA of 4.14 (No. 9 in Big West) and they score 4.3 runs per game (No. 9 in Big West). Nick Meyer leads the league and is 27th in the nation in the "toughest to strike out" category, posting just one strikeout per 14.8 at-bats on the year. Alex McKenna leads the team in batting average at .344 and he has six doubles and 14 runs batted in on the year. 

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