May 13, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - For the second time this week the Santa Clara University baseball team took part in an extra-inning battle, this time against the Portland Pilots. But this time the Broncos closed things out in the extra frames as Kris Watts' two-run homer with none out in the 14th inning sent SCU into tomorrow's home finale with a 7-6 victory.
The Broncos (28-24, 9-11 WCC) will now try for their second sweep of the WCC season as they meet the Pilots (14-33, 2-15 WCC) at 1 p.m. Sunday. There will also be a pregame ceremony honoring the six departing seniors who will be playing their final contest at Stephen Schott Stadium.
Watts drove in a pair with the homer, his ninth of the season. Daniel Nava went 4-for-6 with three RBIs Saturday while Jason Matteucci had a pair, including a double. Justin Kuehn tossed the final three innings to earn his third win of the season.
Saturday's affair started off much like the previous night's, as the Bronco offense powered its way to an early 3-0 lead. Drever's lead-off double followed later in the inning by a string of four consecutive singles, spotted starter Donald Brandt to a quick advantage.
But unlike Friday night, the SCU bats suddenly went cold while the Portland offense recovered. With two outs and one on, UP's Matthew Peters blasted a drive that cleared the fence in right-center to cut the Bronco lead to 3-2. After Travis Vetters walked and stole second, another walk drawn by Pat Geraughty was followed by an RBI single from Nik Kosach to even things up.
The Pilots posted another run with two outs in the fifth to pull ahead at 4-3. Vetters' double to start the frame appeared on the way to be going for naught after a strikeout and groundout, but Jesse Rodgers lashed a single to bring Vetters in for Portland's first lead of the series.
Santa Clara answered two innings later by manufacturing a run around the base paths to tie things up. Drever led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second by a Dustin Realini bunt, advanced to third on a wild pitch and was brought across the dish by Matt Long's sacrifice fly.
Each team failed late in the game to take a lead with a bases-loaded situation with less than two outs. In the bottom of the ninth, SCU loaded the bases with a single and a pair of walks but could not get the winning run in as Pilot reliever Joe Jones induced an inning-ending double play to send the contest into extra innings.
In the top of the 11th, Portland loaded the sacks with a pair of singles and a walk, but Bronco reliever Mark Willinsky buckled down, striking out the next batter before getting the final out on a groundout to third.
The Pilots got one in the 12th on Danny Meier's two-out, RBI single but for the second-straight time in an extra-inning game for SCU, the Broncos rebounded. Long started the Bronco half of the 12th with a single and was driven in by Daniel Nava's double to left center.
Finally the marathon ended in the 14th, but not before another Bronco comeback. After Portland grabbed the lead again at 6-5, Santa Clara needed only two hits to end the ballgame. Two pitches after Nava led off with a single to left, Watts smashed the 0-1 offering from Josh Roberts over the right-field fence to capture the series for SCU.