April 5, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Things got dicey in the ninth inning of Friday afternoon's contest between the Santa Clara Broncos and San Francisco Dons at Benedetti Diamond, but in the end, the Bronco bullpen prevailed, nailing down SCU's 4-3 victory over the Dons. The win also keeps Santa Clara firmly entrenched in the second position of the West Cost Conference standings early on in the season.
The teams return to action tomorrow in the Dante Benedetti Classic, to be played at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, with a special start time of 11:30 a.m. The series will then conclude with a 1 p.m. contest Sunday back at Benedetti Diamond.
Nate Garcia picked up his third win of the year for the Broncos, who improved to 16-16 on the year and 3-1 in the WCC. The freshman went eight and a third innings Friday, striking out five batters while allowing only three runs on six hits. Jeff Lombard got the final two outs of the game to pick up his sixth save of the year.
Ryan Conan wielded the big bat for the Broncos, hitting a big sixth-inning, three-run homer that gave the Broncos a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. Tommy Medica's bat stayed hot as well, to the tune of a 3-for-4 performance with a triple and the eventual game-winning RBI, and Carl Bacon had a pair of hits for the Broncos.
The contest saw Garcia and Aaron Poreda, his USF counterpart, post matching zeroes for the first three innings until the deadlock was broken with one out in the USF half of the fourth. The Dons' Mitchell Bialosky drove a Garcia offering deep to left for his third home run of the season and the Dons' first hit of the day, giving them a 1-0 lead.
Both teams managed a pair of hits in the fifth, but could not capitalize. Yet in the top of the sixth, Santa Clara took advantage instead of an error on the part of the USF defense. Juan Parra led off the frame by reaching on the fielding error of Don shortstop Tavo hall, but then was forced out at second on Medica's fielder's choice. Matt Long singled to put runners on the corners with one out, but Medica was thrown out at home trying to score on Gabe Alcantar's ground ball to the pitcher.
But Conan, the team's RBI leader on the season with 28 heading into Friday's contest, picked things up for the Broncos, smashing a Poreda offering to the opposite field for his third home run of the season and a 3-1 lead for SCU.
The Broncos added another run in the seventh off of Poreda, who gave up four runs, only one earned, over eight innings of work and was charged with his third loss of the year. Medica, with two outs, delivered a single to left that scored Carl Bacon from second and proved to be the deciding run of the contest.
Garcia, who cruised through the next three innings, allowing only one hit over that span, ran into trouble in the ninth. After retiring USF's Jonathan Norfolk on a fly ball to right, he surrendered a double to Brian Chavez, followed up by a homer to right by designated hitter Blake Nelson. Just like that, the Bronco lead shrank to one at 4-3, and head coach Mark O'Brien brought in his closer, Lombard, to nail things down.
The efficient Lombard made quick work of the next two Don hitters, inducing a pair of ground balls to second base to sew up the win for Garcia and pick up the save.