March 3, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball team, after dramatically taking a one run lead in the latter stages of Saturday's contest at Stephen Schott Stadium against the San Jose State Spartans, had their hopes for victory dashed with two outs in the ninth inning before eventually dropping a 7-5, 11-inning decision to the Spartans in a Rivalry Series battle.
With the loss, the Broncos fall to 9-10 on the season, and will head to SJSU's Blethen Field tomorrow for a 1 p.m. contest.
It was Donato Giovanatto who did much of the damage for the Spartans (10-4) in the contest. Giovanatto, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, delivered a critical blow in the top of the ninth, crushing a home run deep to left-center off of SCU closer Jeff Lombard that tied the game at 5-5. The home run was the first earned run that Lombard had given up all season.
The Spartans then loaded the bases off of Lombard before Steve Kalush came on in relief and got Brody Massman to ground out to maintain the tie. SJSU would score once more in the 10th as Kyle Bellows' third hit of the day drove in Chris Balatico, but once more, SCU would limit the damage as with bases loaded and one out, reliever Daniel DeMarco induced a 6-4-3 double play ball from Karson Klauer.
Hoffmire led off the 10th for Santa Clara by dropping a beauty of a bunt down the third-base line and beating it out for a hit. After being sacrificed to second, he then scored on Alcantar's double to right field. But despite having the winning run on second base with one out, the Broncos failed to capitalize, sending the game into the 11th inning.
There, the Spartans threatened once more, and then took advantage of two Bronco miscues to score the deciding runs. With one on and two outs, DeMarco walked two batters to load the bases, and then, with Sean O'Neill on the mound, a passed ball allowed Marcus McKimmy to score from third with the go-ahead run. A few pitches later, Aaron Loewenthal hit a routine grounder to short that was booted by SCU's Brady Fuerst, allowing SJSU's seventh run to cross the plate.
DeMarco, who was responsible for the runners on base at the time, took the loss for the Broncos, his first of the year.
That ended up being all the Spartans would need as a 1-2-3 11th from Santa Clara ended the game. SJSU's Scott Sobczak earned his second win by closing out the 10th and setting SCU down in order in the 11th.
After falling behind 3-1 through five and a half, the Broncos had scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out single to right by Conan, then grabbed the one-run lead on Carl Bacon's RBI double to left-center.
The teams combined to use 11 pitchers Saturday, as each team's starter failed to get past the sixth inning. SCU's Matt Wickswat struck out seven and allowed only two runs but lasted only four and two-thirds innings, while SJSU's Loren Moneypenny gave up seven hits and four runs in five and two-thirds.