May 6, 2006

Late-Inning Rally Does Broncos In Again

May 6, 2006

Box Score

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team was snake-bitten for the second-straight day Saturday afternoon as the San Diego Toreros again overcame a one-run deficit in their final chance at the plate. This time the Toreros bounced back against the Broncos twice in the late going, scoring twice in the eighth to tie it up and twice more in the tenth inning to capture the series with an 8-7 victory.

USD's Ryan Lilly played the hero for the second day in a row, delivering a bases-loaded single up the middle to drive in the winning run. SCU had pulled ahead by a run in the top of the tenth on Kris Watts' RBI single but two singles and three walks in the bottom half allowed the Toreros to steal the win.

The Broncos (26-21, 7-10 WCC) will look to salvage the final game of the series Sunday afternoon as they take on the Toreros (28-20, 10-7 WCC) at 1 p.m. at Cunningham Stadium.

Kevin Drever went 4-for-4 Saturday while Daniel Nava added three hits to the effort. Donald Brandt was one of four Broncos to have a pair of hits, smacking his third home run of the season in the process. On the opposite side, Keoni Ruth and Steve Singleton each had three hits for USD, while Lilly had two hits and drove in a pair.

Saturday's contest started out fast as the teams combined for five runs in the first inning alone. SCU loaded the bases with none out in their half of the first, and helped by a two-out Dustin Realini base hit posted a pair of runs. But the Toreros came right back, as a Lilly sacrifice fly followed b a two-out RBI single from Singleton helped give USD the early 3-2 lead.

Brandt's one-out homer tied it up in SCU's next time up, and things stayed at 3-3 until the bottom of the fourth, when an RBI groundout put USD back on top. Nava prevented the Toreros from going up by two when he gunned down Singleton trying to score from second on a two-out base hit.

SCU answered the next two innings, knotting things up at four-apiece in the fifth on Watts' second RBI single of the day and reclaiming the lead with a pair of runs in the sixth thanks to RBI singles from Matt Long and Nava.

Things looked to be going the Broncos' way into the eighth, as reliever Chris Stansbury cruised along and faced USD's Josh Romanski with two out and one on. But just like that, Romanski tied the game up at 6-6 with a two-run blast to right.

Neither team could score in the ninth, and into extra frames it went. With one out in the Bronco half of the tenth, Long and Nava singled to put men on the corners with Watts coming up. The SCU catcher slapped an opposite-field base hit to put the Broncos ahead. With two out, a wild pitch moved Nava and Watts up a bag, forcing USD to intentionally walk Eric Newton, the WCC's home run leader with 13, to load the bases. But Romanski, on in relief, induced Ryan Conan to foul out to end the threat.

With closer Mark Willinsky on the hill in the tenth, San Diego drew a base on balls and got a single to start the inning off. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base but Willinsky got the next batter to fly out to center for the second out while the runners stayed put.

But a walk to Ruth loaded the bases and Jordan Abruzzo drew another walk to force in the tying run. This set the table for Lilly's game-winning single up the middle to give the Toreros the win.