Feb. 19, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team captured the first game of Sunday's doubleheader in a dramatic 13-inning, 3-2 victory over the UC Riverside Highlanders at Stephen Schott Stadium. A power outage in the stadium after the completion of four innings of the nightcap forced the suspension of that game with UC Riverside ahead 4-1 heading into the fifth inning.
Dustin Realini and Ryan Conan provided the heroics in Santa Clara's (4-5) win over UC Riverside (6-4), as Realini went 3-for-5 including a clutch two-out home run in the bottom of the 13th knotted things up at 2-2. Conan, after singles by Eric Newton and pinch-hitter Donald Brandt, drove Newton in with the winning run on a base hit to left.
Game one nearly mirrored Saturday's opening game of the series as both teams struggled to put runs on the board in the face of strong pitching. Santa Clara's Justin Kuehn and UC Riverside's Pat Cassa battled in a 1-1 duel through the eighth inning when Cassa was relieved. Kuehn went eight-and-one-third innings, allowing only four hits and striking out four before handing things over to fellow freshman Mark Willinsky, who went four-and-two-thirds and got his first collegiate win.
The Broncos got on the board in the second inning as a Matt Long single plated Realini after he and Eric Newton had reached on back-to-back singles. The Highlanders returned fire in the fourth as a Nick Salotti sacrifice fly scored Brett Bigler with the tying run.
For the next eight innings things stayed that way as both pitchers balanced shutting down the opposing offense and also escaping from tough jams. In the top of the 11th, with the potential go-ahead run on second with two away, UC Riverside's Jeff Dunbar hit a sinking liner to center which seemed destined to fall in for a run-scoring hit, but freshman centerfielder Juan Parra made a spectacular diving catch to keep things square at one run apiece.
With Willinsky in his fifth inning of relief work in the top of the 13th, three-straight singles put the Highlanders ahead 2-1, and with runners at second and third with two outs, he induced a pop-up to second from Dunbar to end the inning.
After a pair of strikeouts quickly brought SCU to their final out, Realini got around on Highlander closer Daniel Stange's first pitch and crushed it over the left-field fence and just like that, the game was tied at two. Riding the momentum of Realini's blast, Newton and Brandt singled, then Conan provided the capper with his base hit to left that scored Newton to end the contest.
In the nightcap, UC Riverside was leading 4-1 after four innings of play when a power outage blacked out the stadium, forcing the contest to be suspended. A continuation date has not been scheduled as of yet.
The Broncos will conlude this homestand with a Tuesday afternoon contest against Sacramento State at Schott Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. and tickets are available by calling (408) 554-4660.