February 2, 2002

Baseball Gives O'Brien First Win of Coaching Career

Feb. 2, 2002

Box Score

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team redeemed itself Saturday afternoon as they jumped out to an early lead and held on against No. 11 Fresno State for an 8-4 win at Buck Shaw Stadium. The win is the first-ever at the Division I level for head coach for Santa Clara skipper Mark O'Brien.

Santa Clara (1-1) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after the first three innings, capped by a huge two-run homer from catcher Jim Wallace in the bottom of the third.

Fresno State (1-1) cut the Broncos lead in half in the fifth inning, scoring its two runs on back-to-back-to-back singles from Carl Lipsey, Jordan Prieto and Casey McGehee.

The Broncos answered right back in the bottom of the fifth as Shawn Epidendio scored Joe Diefenderfer from second base with a sharp single to right center.

After the Bulldogs scored once more in the top of the seventh inning, Santa Clara scored its final two runs in the bottom half of the seventh on three hits, including two from freshmen Ryan Chiarelli and Bobby Wiginton.

"The key for us today was the fact that we continued to score runs after we took the early lead, " said Santa Clara head coach Mark O'Brien. "We came out hot yesterday and took an early lead but could not hold on to it. Today we took the lead, played solid defense and added to it when we needed to. I am pleased with our effort today."

Kellan McConnell threw 4 2/3 innings for the Broncos before giving way to Matt Travis who picked up his first win of the season after throwing 2 1/3 innings in which he allowed only one hit. Grant Feichtmeir closed out the game for Santa Clara, going the final two innings in which he allowed no runs and only one hit to the seven batters he faced.

Mike Hernandez takes the loss for the Bulldogs after allowing four earned runs and six hits in three full innings of work. Zach Minor did not fare too much better out of the bullpen for Fresno State, allowing four more runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings of work.

"Tomorrow is huge for us," O'Brien added. "If we can go out and play well and put ourselves in a position to win the game and the series, we could set the tone for the whole year."

The series finale is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch from Buck Shaw Stadium.