May 5, 2006

Ninth-Inning Comeback Stuns Broncos

May 5, 2006

Box Score

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - For the second consecutive game the Santa Clara University baseball team faced a bases-loaded situation in the ninth inning while clinging to a one-run lead, but Friday afternoon's outcome went the other way for the Broncos as the San Diego Toreros got five hits in a row to cap a two-run, ninth-inning rally in a 7-6 victory at Cunningham Stadium.

Consecutive bases-loaded singles by Jordan Abruzzo and Ryan Lilly brought in the tying and game-winning runs, respectively, for the Toreros (27-20, 9-7 WCC). Anthony Slama earned his first win of the season after throwing two shutout innings of relief.

The teams will return to action Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. before closing out the series with another 1 p.m. contest Sunday at Cunningham Stadium.

Mark Willinsky took the loss for Santa Clara (26-20, 7-9 WCC) Friday, dropping his record on the season to 2-2. Freshman Matt Wickswat went six innings and gave up five runs in the start, but was still in line for what would have been his ninth win of the season before the Torero comeback.

From the plate, Daniel Nava went 3-for-3 and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances, scoring three runs in the process. Kris Watts had two hits, including a first-inning grand slam, while Jason Matteucci also had a pair of hits for SCU.

Things got off to a favorable start for the Broncos in the first, as a hit batsman sandwiched by a pair of singles loaded the bases with Watts coming to the plate. The backstop from Fremont promptly drilled a grand slam for his eighth home run of the season, putting USD in a four-run hole before coming to bat.

San Diego got one back in the third as it took advantage of a pair of Bronco miscues. After the first two batters were retired, a fielding error kept the inning alive for USD, followed by a balk and a base on balls to put two on. Keoni Ruth then singled to drive in USD's first run of the contest and make it a 4-1 game.

A two-out, two-on single by Matteucci got a run back for Santa Clara in the top half of the fifth, but San Diego answered in the sixth with another two-out RBI single, this time by Steve Singleton.

The Broncos then threatened to blow the game wide open in the seventh, after a pair of singles to lead off the inning chased USD starter Brian Matusz, followed by Eric Newton's RBI single off of reliever Scott DeNault which made it a 6-2 game. Brady Fuerst's sacrifice bunt moved Watts and Newton into scoring position with one out, but Nicholas Cranmer came in for the Toreros and retired the next two batters to quell the threat.

Trouble began for the Broncos in the bottom of the seventh as a walk followed by back-to-back doubles by David Harris and Justin Snyder cut the SCU lead to two. An RBI groundout three batters later made it 6-5 Broncos after seven.

Things stayed that way until the final half of the ninth, as Willinsky took the mound in search of his 10th save of the season. But that save never came as three-straight hits loaded up the bases with none out. Two singles into center field later, the Toreros were heading home with the come-from-behind win.