April 24, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Seizing it's opportunities when the time was ripe, the Santa Clara baseball team capitalized on three errors by Fresno State on Tuesday night, breaking open a close game with six unanswered runs on the way to a 9-1 win at Stephen Schott Stadium. Despite falling behind by a run in the first inning, the Bronco bats put the game's final nine runs across in the victory.
The Broncos (21-21) will remain home this weekend, continuing West Coast Conference play against the Loyola Marymount Lions. The three-game series gets underway with a 7 p.m. first pitch Friday night, and continues with 1 p.m. starts on Saturday and Sunday.
"Tonight was a big win, to beat a team of the caliber of Fresno State, is a big deal for us," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "To take four out of five games this season from the WAC leaders, it bodes well for our team heading into the final month of the regular season."
Sean O'Neill was masterful for the second straight start, earning his first win of the year by allowing only one run on five hits while striking out five in six innings of work.
On the offensive side of things, Tommy Medica continued to hit the ball well, going 3-for-4 with a double and two singles, and driving in six of SCU's runs. David Hoffmire, Jon Karcich, and Evan LeBlanc each had a hit and scored a pair of runs.
"Tommy's been swinging the bat the best for us lately, which is a big reason we moved him to the three hole in the order, and he's been producing for us big time," O'Brien said of his freshman star. "He does a great job of really staying within himself up there at the plate."
Santa Clara broke Tuesday night's contest wide open by scoring six runs over the fifth and sixth innings, with Medica driving in four of those runs.
Leading 3-1 heading into the fifth, the Broncos caught a break when Karcich, despite being caught off of first base on a pickoff attempt, safely reached second when Fresno State first baseman Alan Ahmady fumbled the ball during the ensuing rundown. With a second life, SCU took advantage, as LeBlanc drove Karcich in with a base hit up the middle, and, after stealing second, was himself driven in on Medica's doubledown the left-field line.
Medica provided the big hit again in the sixth, lining a two-out, bases-loaded single to right center that cleared the bases. The runners had been moving on the 3-2 pitch, and with Medica's hit forcing a long cutoff run from the right fielder, LeBlanc was able to hustle his way around to score from first, making it a 9-1 Santa Clara lead.
The Bulldogs, despite manufacturing a run in the first for the early lead, could not take advantage of their own favorable situations on offense against O'Neill. A two-on, two-out situation ended with a groundout to second in the second inning, and in the fourth, with runners on second and third with only one out, O'Neill promptly struck out Fresno State designated hitter Steve Detwiler, then, after walking Danny Grubb to load the bases, induced an inning-ending fielder's choice from David Hernandez.
"I'm very proud of Sean's effort tonight," said O'Brien. "When he is in the zone and hitting his spots, he is a tough guy to hit. I was very impressed with how he kept his poise and stayed calm out there and got out of some tough situations."
The Broncos took the lead for good in the third inning, as Karcich walked to lead things off, then went to third on Hoffmire's base hit. Karcich scored on Bulldog starter Sean Bonesteele's balk, and two batters after Matt Long bunted on and stole second, Medica whipped a single to left that brought in a pair to give SCU the 3-1 lead.
Bonesteele gave up three runs in two and a third innings, suffering his first loss of the year. Brandon Miller gave up two runs and Drew Gagnier four over four innings of combined relief, but due to a pair of Fresno State errors, all six runs were unearned.