Feb. 23, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball team enjoyed a huge night from the plate Friday, banging out 14 hits and putting up eight runs in an 8-3 win over the Cal Poly Mustangs at Stephen Schott Stadium. The win brings SCU's home record to a red-hot 6-1 so far in 2007.
The Broncos and Mustangs will continue their three-game series tomorrow afternoon with a 1 p.m. contest, before closing things out with a 1 p.m. game Sunday.
Ryan Conan hit his second home run of the season and drove in three runs Friday night, bringing his team-leading total to 13. Gabe Alcantar continued his hot start by going 4-for-4 with three RBIs and his team-leading seventh double of the season, while Carl Bacon and Juan Parra had three hits apiece for the Broncos (8-7).
"We had quality at-bats tonight and I think that was the big difference," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "Getting the leadoff batter on base in a couple of innings really helped our confidence, and we got some big swings from Gabe and Ryan tonight."
Santa Clara got off to a fast start, getting a pair of two-out runs on RBI singles from Alcantar and Bacon. The Broncos added to their lead in the third as Conan's fielder's choice brought in Matt Long, who walked to start off the inning, for the 3-0 lead.
Starter Matt Wickswat ran into some trouble in the fourth, walking Kyle Smith to start the inning, then giving up a two-run homer to center to Grant Desme, whose fifth of the season highlighted a 2-for-4 night. Brent Morel followed with a walk, and advanced to second on a passed ball, then took third on Wickswat's throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt to second, and scored on a wild pitch to even things up at 3-3.
Wickswat, though, turned to his defense to pick him up, as Bacon threw Adam Buschini out at third trying to steal after a Quentin Cate groundout. After giving up two base hits, and with runners on the corners, Wickswat helped himself by striking out Pat Pezet to escape the jam. The strikeout was Wickswat's fifth of the night, as he picked up his third win of the season.
Steve Kalush relieved Wickswat after a leadoff single by Morel in the sixth, and silenced the Mustang bats the rest of the way. The freshman reliever struck out five Cal Poly batters and allowed only one hit to pick up his first save.
"When Steve came out there it really gave us a calming presence," O'Brien said. "He threw his pitches for strikes, and did a great job. I was really happy with the way he came in and settled the game down."
SCU responded to Cal Poly's three-run inning with two of their own in the bottom of the fourth. With Jon Karcich on first and one out, the Broncos got four consecutive singles, moving station-to-station and taking a 5-3 lead as Long and Alcantar each picked up an RBI.
With Kalush handling things on his end, the Bronco offense kept up the attack in the seventh, as Conan followed up Alcantar's leadoff double with a smash off of the roof of the batting cages beyond the left-field fence for his second home run of the year.
"It felt good to come through with the home run, especially after hitting into a double play a few innings prior," Conan said after the game. "I wanted to do something to pick myself up a little bit."
The Broncos tacked on an unearned run in the eighth before Kalush capped off the win with a 1-2-3 ninth.