May 8, 2007

Comeback Attempt Comes Up Short As Broncos Fall, 9-8, To Wolfpack

May 8, 2007

Box Score

RENO, Nev. - The Santa Clara baseball team came so close to coming back from a five-run deficit Tuesday night against the Nevada Wolfpack, but in the end, the Broncos left the game-tying run stranded 90 feet away as the Wolfpack hung on for the 9-8 victory in Reno. For Santa Clara it was the team's third consecutive loss.

The Broncos (24-26) will now return home for the final WCC regular-season series of the year, hosting the No. 6 San Diego Toreros in a three-game series. Friday night's opener is set for a 7 p.m. first pitch, while Saturday's and Sunday's contests are set for 1 p.m. starts at Stephen Schott Stadium.

Nathan Faulkner, Matt Long, and Evan LeBlanc all had three hits Tuesday night to pace the SCU offense, with Faulkner and Long each going deep. Long hit his third home run of the year, and second to lead off a game, and drove in three runs while Faulkner hit his first home run of the season and drove in a pair. Gabe Alcantar, Ryan Conan, and Tommy Medica each had a pair of hits as well, as the Broncos registered 16 hits total in the contest.

Santa Clara scored five runs over the final three innings to turn an 8-3 contest into a one-run game at 9-8 in the top of the ninth. Trailing 9-6 heading into their final at-bat, Medica was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and on Ryan Conan's infield hit, the two ended up on third and second, respectively, thanks to a throwing error by Wolfpack pitcher Benjamin Colton.

A sacrifice fly from Carl Bacon brought in Medica, but a groundout by Alcantar left the Broncos down to their final out. SCU rallied, though, as LeBlanc brought Conan home with a single to left to pull the Broncos to within a run, and a Geoff Klein infield hit followed by Jon Karcich being hit by a pitch loaded the bases for Long. But Long's ground ball was played cleanly by Nevada second baseman David Ciarlo, who completed the play to end the contest.

Both teams scored twice in the first, as Long led off the game with an opposite-field shot to left for his second leadoff homer of the year. After Faulkner was hit by a pitch, Medica and Conan followed with singles, Conan's plating Faulkner for SCU's second run.

Nevada answered as a one-out double by Shaun Kort plated Jason Sadoian, and Konrad Schmidt followed with a double of his own to bring in Kort and tie the game.

The Wolfpack jumped ahead three innings later, loading the bases with one out and getting the go-ahead run thanks to a Sadoian sacrifice fly, then getting another pair off the bat of a Jason Rodriguez double. A walk to Kort then chased Bronco starter Sean O'Neill, who suffered his second loss of the year after giving up five runs on six hits in three and two-thirds innings.

Faulkner's home run in the top of the fifth off of Nevada starter Dan Eastham cut the deficit to two at 5-3, but Jordan Salazar, who would earn his second win of the year by pitching an inning and two-thirds of one-run relief, came in and closed the Broncos out the rest of the inning.

The Wolfpack again put three runs across in their half of the fifth. Baker Krukow led the inning off with a home run to left-center off of Justin Kuehn, and following a pair of singles and a foul out, Ciarlo singled to right-center to plate another run. Nevada got their eighth run two batters later, as Rodriguez singled Ciarlo home for the 8-3 lead.

The Broncos fought their way back into it, though, as Long led off the seventh with a double to left-center, and was driven in right away on a Faulkner single. In the eighth, SCU got two more back as Long drove Alcantar and LeBlanc in with a two-out double, but in the bottom half, Krukow produced what would end up being the game-winning run with his second home run of the game, a shot down the left-field line off of reliever Steve Kalush.

From there the Broncos could only get two runs off of Colton, falling a run short of tying the ballgame and sending them to their third straight defeat.