Feb. 9, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team rallied to tie the game in the ninth and eventually won its first home game in the 13th inning, defeating UC Irvine by a score of 5-4 Sunday afternoon in Buck Shaw Stadium.
UC Irvine (2-2) scored twice in the top of the second inning, highlighted by Matt Fisher's RBI triple to left center field. After a Mark Wagner RBI double down the left field line in the third inning and a Steve Guthrie solo home run in the seventh, the Anteaters held a 4-0 lead over the Broncos.
Santa Clara (5-4) rallied for three runs of their own after the seventh inning stretch as Jim Wallace singled and Jack Headley followed him with a walk. Both batters advanced one base as pinch hitter Carl Bacon grounded out to the second baseman. David Mandley stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter and singled to right field, scoring both Headley and Wallace. Mandley also scored on the play as Daniel Miramontes misplayed the ball and allowed it to go all the way to the fence.
After both teams went quietly in the eighth inning, the Broncos rallied for the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning as A.J. LaBarbera singled to left field, scoring Eric Newton from third base who originally reached on a throwing error by Guthrie.
Neither team mounted any real scoring threat through the first three extra frames, but in the bottom of the 13th, Mark Folger led off with a walk. After a Newton strikeout, Joe Diefenderfer laced his third hit of the game, a double down the left field line, pushing Folgner to third base. David Hoffmire came in to run for Folgner at third. With first base open, the Anteaters intentionally walked LaBarbera to get to the freshman, Michael Thompson. The end result was a fielder's choice RBI for Thompson who beat B.J. Eucce's throw at first base, allowing Hoffmire to score the winning run.
The extra inning affair was the second time this series these two teams played bonus baseball, and the third time this season for the Broncos. SCU improved to 2-1 in extra inning games this season.
In addition to his three hits, Diefenderfer came in to pitch in the fourth inning after playing the first three innings in left field. He threw four full innings of relief in which he allowed only one run on four hits while striking out four.
Anthony Rea came on in relief of Diefenderfer, who returned to left field, and threw a perfect eighth inning before giving way to the freshman closer, Patrick Overholt. Overholt threw the final five innings for the Broncos, giving up no runs on only two hits while striking out four UCI batters to improve to 2-0 on the season. He has still yet to allow an earned run in his collegiate pitching career.
Jason Matteucci and Wallace had two hits apiece for the Broncos, but it was the two-run single by Mandley and the game-tying single by LaBarbera that proved to be the big offensive plays for Santa Clara.
The Anteaters used seven pitchers on the day, none more effective than starter Michael Koehler who threw five full innings in which he did not allow a run and gave up only three hits while striking out three. Jimmy Alstot takes the loss for UCI, despite pitching relatively well. Alstot gave up only one hit in 2 2/3 innings, striking out five but giving up the winning run in the 13th.
Wagner was the only UCI player to have more than one hit, going 2-for-6 with the one RBI. Guthrie's home run in the seventh inning was his first of the year.
Santa Clara returns to action next weekend on the road as they travel to Southern California to take on San Diego State in a three-game series beginning Friday evening at 6 p.m. in Tony Gwynn Stadium. Saturday and Sunday's games are both scheduled to have 1 p.m. first pitches.