March 6, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - It appeared to be a bad omen when Stanford's first four batters reached base Tuesday night, but the Santa Clara baseball team calmed down, got out of the inning, and answered back in force on the way to a 13-5 win over the Cardinal at Stephen Schott Stadium. SCU used 11 hits and 10 walks to score in double figures for the second game in a row.
The Broncos (11-10) will now hit the road until April 13, embarking on a 13-game trip that makes its first stop this weekend in Fresno. Santa Clara will battle the Fresno State Bulldogs in a three-game series beginning with Friday's 6 p.m. contest, with the two remaining games set for a 1 p.m. first pitch on Saturday and Sunday.
Carl Bacon and Matt Long led the Broncos Tuesday night with two hits apiece, while Bacon and David Hoffmire each drove in three runs. Long and Ryan Conan drove in two runs apiece. Nine different Broncos had a hit in the game.
"Anytime you can beat a program that has the stature of Stanford, its very good for us," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "You strive to get to the level that they've been at for 20-plus years, so getting the win tonight was a good confidence-booster for us."
The three-hour and fifty-minute game was marked, though, by a combined 20 walks, ten from each team, plus three free passes to the Broncos as three batters were hit by a pitch. Stanford also left 14 runners on base to Santa Clara's nine.
Stanford opened up the scoring with two runs in the first, as Ryan Seawell and Sean Ratliff opened the game with singles, followed by a walk to Michael Taylor and another single by Brent Milleville that drove in Seawell. Brian Juhl's sacrifice fly to center was all the Cardinal would get though, as SCU starter Donald Brandt settled down and got the final two outs of the frame.
Brandt earned his second win of the season after striking out two and allowing three runs in four innings of work.
The Broncos were not so kind to Cardinal starter Brandt Walker, though, using four walks, an error, and a single to bring three runs across in their first time up. Carl Bacon's single, which took a high hop over Stanford second baseman Austin Yount, brought in the first two runs of the inning.
SCU's scoring binge continued in the second, as Juan Parra led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second by Hoffmire, and scored on Long's infield single. Gabe Alcantar followed with a single of his own to chase Walker, and Conan welcomed reliever Erik Davis to the game by drilling a two-run double to left-center to make it a 6-2 Bronco lead.
"That's been a thing that we struggled with early on this season," O'Brien said in regard to hitting with men on base. "We could be looking at a different situation right now if we'd have gotten some hits earlier this year. But now we've learned what we need to do, and now it's good to see guys hitting the ball and taking good swings with runners in scoring position."
Walker suffered his first loss of the season after giving up six runs, five earned, and walking five in an inning and a third of work. Seven Cardinal relievers combined to give up seven runs on eight hits and five walks.
Bacon's RBI single in the fourth brought Long in for SCU's seventh run, and after Stanford got one back on Joey August's two-out double, the Broncos struck with two more of their own in their half. After Jon Karcich walked with one out and Parra reached on an error and stole second, Hoffmire singled through the left side to bring them both in and increase the lead to six at 9-3.
With a 9-4 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Broncos sealed the game with four runs in the frame. Leadoff singles from Evan LeBlanc and Kevin Drever and a walk to Jon Karcich were followed with a pair of hit batsmen that each brought in a run. Long and Conan each hit a sacrifice fly to bring in SCU's final runs of the night.
Four Bronco relievers combined to limit the Cardinal to only two runs on six hits.