Baseball Reaches 30-Win Plateau
May 17, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team reached the 30-win plateau for the first time since 1997 with its 7-2 victory over Bay Area rival Saint Mary's Saturday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos' record improves to 30-26 overall and 20-9 in West Coast Conference action, while the Gaels' record falls to 18-36-1 overall and 8-20-1 in league play.
The 20 wins in conference contests also marks the first time that SCU has reached that mark since 1997. The 1997 squad was the last one coached by John Oldham, who is the second winningest coach in Bronco Baseball history and is the last coach to take a Bronco team to a regional appearance.
Scott Dierks ignited the Broncos in the first inning with a leadoff double to left field and advanced to third on a single to right center by Jack Headley. Dierks was out on a fielder's choice off the bat of Jason Matteucci that placed him at first base and moved Headley up to second. After Jim Wallace walked, Will Thompson flew out to center field and scored Headley on the sacrifice for a 1-0 lead.
Five more runs in the bottom of the third gave the Broncos a 6-0 lead as Wallace connected on a two-run double before coming home himself on Thompson's 10th home run of the season. Thompson's blast was a two-run shot that cleared the center field wall. Michael Lange picked up the fifth RBI of the inning with his single to left field that plated Joe Diefenderfer who reached on a fielder's choice earlier in the inning.
Headley led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double to straight-away center field. Matteucci stroked a single to right field where Adam Bellows fielded the ball but made an errant throw that got away from his cutoff man allowing Headley to score on the error and give the Broncos a 7-0 advantage.
Starter Kellan McConnell went 4 1/3 innings before giving up his first run of the game as Delaney Gallagher delivered a one out double to left center before coming home on a Bryan Byrne single to center to cut the Bronco lead down to 7-1. McConnell would remain in the game through six full innings as he allowed the one run on eight hits to go along with two walks and four strikeouts.
Saint Mary's could muster only one more run in the game which came on a Preston Young sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning, scoring Gilbert Gil who reached on a single to left field to open the inning.
McConnell picked up his fourth win of the season as Andrew Slorp, Patrick McBride and Anthony Rea each threw one full inning in relief to close out the game. Slorp struck out two of the four batters he face, while McBride allowed only one hit and struck out one during the eighth inning. Rea struck out two of the six batters he faced in the ninth, but gave up the one run on one three hits in the frame.
Eric Bowden took the loss for SMC and saw his record fall to 7-8 on the season despite going the distance. He allowed seven runs, four of which were earned, on 11 hits to go along with two walks and six strikeouts.
Headley finished the day by going 3-for-5 with three runs scored to pace the Broncos, followed closely by Dierks and Matteucci who each added two hits. Thompson finished the day 1-for-3 with three RBI and one run scored while Wallace also went 1-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored.
Byrne tallied four hits in five at-bats for the Gales and picked up one of only two RBI on the day. Gallagher finished 3-for-5 with one run scored while Young notched the other RBI to go with his lone hit of the day.
Both teams will conclude their 2003 seasons with the final game of this three-game series that is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch on Sunday at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos will honor their nine outgoing seniors with a brief ceremony prior to the first pitch.