May 3, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team defeated Pepperdine University by a score of 12-11 Friday night to open the three-game series between the two schools at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The Broncos (21-26, 11-11 WCC) rallied twice to take the lead and eventually win, scoring six in the eighth to take the lead and two more in the ninth to re-take the lead and win the crucial West Coast Conference Coast matchup.
The Waves (23-25, 11-9 WCC) scored four unearned runs in the top of the first inning on three Santa Clara errors in what would prove to be a true tone setter for the entire ballgame.
Santa Clara answered right back in the bottom of the first inning with three runs of their own on one Pepperdine error. Joe Diefenderfer picked up a RBI on a bases load walk while Scott Dierks picked up a RBI when he was hit by a pitch. Pepperdine starter Brandon Boesch was forced from the game after only 2/3 of an inning after allowing the three runs and three walks.
The Waves scored five more times over the next five innings, forcing Bronco starter Matt Travis from the game after 5 2/3 innings of work in which he allowed nine runs, six of which were unearned, on six hits while striking out six.
Santa Clara was stymied by Pepperdine reliever Derek Mills who came on in relief in the first inning for Boesch. Mills allowed only one Bronco run through his first six innings of relief, but the seventh proved to be detrimental. Santa Clara rallied to take the lead by a score of 11-10 with a six-run eighth inning that was made possible by four Pepperdine errors. The biggest hit of the inning came from freshman Ryan Chiarelli who singled down the left field with the bases loaded, scoring all three Bronco runners due in part to Cory Brightwell's error.
The Waves answered right back in the top of the ninth inning, scoring twice off Santa Clara closer Grant Feichtmeir who lasted only 1/3 of an inning. After Chad Fillinger came on in relief and got the final two outs, the Broncos prepared for their final at-bat.
Pepperdine brought in closer Kevin Beavers to face the two, three and four-hole hitters for Santa Clara. After A.J. LaBarbera struck out to open the inning, Joey Gomes singled to right field and advanced to second one batter later when Pat Peavey reached base on a fielding error by Patrick Rooney. Jack Headley stepped to the plate and delivered a single to right center that scored Gomes and moved Peavey to third. Pepperdine intentionally walked Jim Wallace to face Diefenderfer and for the second time in the game, the junior picked up an RBI with a bases-loaded walk.
LaBarbera, Gomes and Headley each finished the night 3-for-6 for Santa Clara, with Gomes picking up doubles No. 26 and 27 on the season, giving him sole possession of the all-time single-season doubles mark in Santa Clara University baseball history. Fillinger improved his season record to 4-4 on the season after throwing the final 2/3 of an inning in the ninth.
Despite his error in the eight, Brightwell was the offensive force behind the Waves in the series opener, going 2-for-4 with a home run, double, three runs scored and three RBI. Rock Mills and Ry Harper each finished the night 2-for-5 for the Waves.
Santa Clara draws to within one game of division leaders Pepperdine and Saint Mary's after the Gaels picked up a win over Gonzaga Friday afternoon. To speak of how close the WCC Coast Division is, if the Broncos defeat the Waves and the Bulldogs beat Saint Mary's on Saturday, all four teams would be tied for first place in the division.
The Broncos and Waves will continue the three-game set Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at "The Shaw" and will concluded the series Sunday afternoon, also at 1 p.m.