March 2, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team dropped its series finale with Cal Poly by a score of 9-6 Sunday afternoon in front of 352 fans at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The early 1-0 lead that the Broncos (8-11) took in the first inning on a Jack Headley RBI double was quickly eliminated by the Mustangs (9-8) who tallied four runs in the top of the second inning and never relinquished the lead.
Unfortunately for Santa Clara, the runs probably should have never happened. With one out and runners on first and second, Cal Poly left fielder Pat Breen grounded a ball weakley to second baseman A.J. LaBarbera. What should have been a routine double play was mishandled by the senior from Whittier, Calif., allowing Breen to reach first base and the two runners ahead to move up. Leadoff hitter Sam Herbert made the Broncos pay for their error by taking a John Redmond pitch deep over the left center field wall for a grand slam.
Another fielding error in the fifth inning allowed another run as Cal Poly tacked on three more runs in the inning for a 7-1 lead after 4 1/2 innings of play.
The Broncos cut a big chunk out of the Mustang lead in the last half of the sixth inning, scoring four times on only two hits. The big blow came from leadoff hitter Scott Dierks who hammered a towering three-run home run over the batter's eye, which stands at least 40 feet high in straightaway center field.
Cal Poly added an insurance run in each of the next two inning to take a 9-5 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning.
In the Bronco half of the eighth inning, they plated one run but stranded three base runners as LaBarbera gounded out to second base with the bases loaded.
Andrew McDaniel evened his season record at 1-1 for Cal Poly after hurling five full innings on the mound, allowing only one run on six hits while walking none and striking out three. Matt McLevich allowed five runs on three hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief before giving way to Dennis LeDuc whom recorded the final four outs while facing only six Bronco batters.
John Redmond fell to 1-3 on the season after allowing seven runs, five of which were earned, on four hits to go along with three walks and three strikeouts. Chad Fillinger had a good relief outing for Santa Clara, allowing only one hit in two full innings of relief.
Dierks finished the day 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and the three RBI. Hack Headley went 2-for-4 with two RBI, while LaBarbera, Will Thompson, Jason Matteucci, Michael Thompson and Michael Lange each picked up one hit apiece.
Herbert finished the day in a big way for Cal Poly, connecting on his second home run of the day in the eighth inning, giving him two runs scored and five RBI. Cory Taillon went 3-for-5 at the plate with one run scored and one RBI, while Adam Leavitt and Alex Chavarria chipped in two hits apiece for the Mustangs.
Santa Clara returns to action next week with a midweek game at the University of the Pacific, and a three-game series with cross-town rival San Jose State. The SJSU series will be played at San Jose's Municipal Stadium on Friday and Sunday, while Saturday's game will be played at Buck Shaw Stadium.