April 2, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Despite a solid effort from ace Matt Wickswat Sunday afternoon, the Bronco bullpen could not hold off the San Francisco offense as the Dons came back late to take the rubber game with a 5-2 victory at Stephen Schott Stadium.
Santa Clara (17-13, 1-2 WCC) will continue West Coast Conference play next weekend as the team travels north to Spokane for a three-game set against the first-place Gonzaga Bulldogs. Gonzaga swept the Portland Pilots this weekend to claim the top slot following the WCC's opening weekend. Friday's series opener between SCU and the Zags is set for a 3 p.m. start while first pitch for Saturday and Sunday's contests will be at 1 p.m.
In a matchup which featured two of the conference's best taking the hill in SCU's Matt Wickswat and USF's Patrick McGuigan, it was the Broncos who got on the board first as Dustin Realini provided a two-out single in the opening frame to drive Kevin Drever in from second.
Wickswat, after getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first with a clutch strikeout of USF's Jonathan Norfolk, settled in and retired 14 of the next 16 batters he faced the rest of his five and one-third-inning stint. The redshirt freshman from Bellevue, Wash. also struck out a career-high eight batters in the contest.
Taking the 2-0 lead into the sixth, Wickswat turned things over to his bullpen with a runner on and one away. Chris Stansbury finished off the inning by getting the next two batters to fly out.
Lead-off walks in each of the next three innings gave the Dons (19-13, 2-1 WCC) momentum, as in the seventh Norfolk's base on balls was followed by a Zach Kim RBI double and Lucas DeLong's single which drove in the tying run.
The Dons took the lead for good in the eighth against reliever Daniel DeMarco, as they got an RBI single from Blake Nelson and added some insurance two batters later when Kim sent a screaming line drive off of Ryan Conan's glove and into right field, plating a pair for the 5-2 lead. USF then tacked on the game's final run in the top of the ninth.
McGuigan, who got his WCC-leading seventh win of the season after going seven innings on Sunday, also earned his 17th career win which moves him into a tie for second all-time in the USF annals with Jerry Eilers (1962-64). Cole Stipovich worked the final two innings to earn his first save of the season.
Eric Newton was one of Santa Clara's bright spots on the offensive side, capping a strong week with a 3-for-3 performance. Drever and Long each had a pair of hits, including Drever's third double of the season.