May 12, 2007

Late Torero Rally Upends Broncos, 8-7, In 10 Innings

May 12, 2007

Box Score

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - For the second day in a row, the Santa Clara baseball team took the No. 6 San Diego Toreros to the limit, but once more came away with the short end of the stick. Saturday, the Broncos let the Toreros score four times over the final three innings to complete their comeback from a 7-4 deficit, dropping the Broncos by an 8-7 score in 10 innings at Stephen Schott Stadium.

The teams will return to action in tomorrow's series finale, set for a 1 p.m. start at Schott Stadium.

Evan LeBlanc went 4-for-5 with an RBI Saturday to lead all Broncos offensively, while Gabe Alcantar and Jon Karcich each had three hits. Karcich also doubled twice. Carl Bacon continued his fine weekend at the plate with a pair of hits.

But the Bronco bullpen just could not keep the San Diego offense at bay in the late innings. After Matt Wickswat settled down after allowing four runs in the first four innings, retiring 12 of the last 13 batters he faced to post a respectable line of seven innings pitched, four runs allowed on seven hits, and seven strikeouts, the Broncos held a 7-4 lead with two innings left to play.

The Toreros needed only three at-bats to pull to within one run in the top of the eight, though, as Logan Gelbrich welcomed reliever Alex Rivers to the game with a base hit through the right side, and, two batters later, Sean Nicol got just enough of a Rivers offering, sending it just over the left-field wall for a two-run homer, his fifth of the year, to make it 7-6.

Jeff Lombard, looking for his 11th save of the year in the ninth inning, instead could only watch as Justin Snyder led off the inning with a double to center, and, after moving to third on a Jordan Abruzzo groundout to second, scored on Shane Buschini's one-out sacrifice fly to center field to tie things up at 7-7. Lombard would then ultimately suffer his fifth loss of the year, allowing a one-out single to Nicol, who, after moving to second on Daniel Magness' groundout to second, scored the eventual winning run on Kevin Hansen's RBI single up the middle.

Hansen had three hits and two RBIs to lead the Toreros on Saturday, while Nicol went 2-for-4 with the home run and two RBIs and three runs scored. Gelbrich and Abruzzo each had a pair of hits as well.

Ricardo Pecina pitched a scoreless ninth for San Diego to pick up the win in relief, his fifth of the season. A.J. Griffin picked up his second save of the series by surviving a one-out double by SCU's Karcich, retiring the next two batters to close things out.

San Diego got on Wickswat right away, as Abruzzo, who was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Gelbrich's double. Gelbrich was then driven in by Josh Romanski to give USD an early 2-0 lead. Two innings later, Romanski and Nicol accounted for the next two Toreros runs, being driven in by RBI singles from Magness and Hansen, respectively.

But Romanski, who also started the game on the mound for San Diego, would run into trouble beginning in the Bronco fourth inning. With two outs, SCU managed to get two across, as Ryan Conan, after being hit by a pitch, scored on Alcantar's double to center, while Alcantar was in turn brought home by Bacon's single to center, halving the Torero lead at 4-2.

A LeBlanc single and a double from Karcich put runners in scoring position with one out in the fifth to again put Romanski in a jam. Despite getting Matt Long to ground out to second for the second out, Romanski surrendered the third run as LeBlanc came across. Tommy Medica then sent a sharp grounder over third base and past a diving Hansen, driving in a pair as SCU took the 5-4 lead and chased Romanski form the game.

Romanski ended up giving up five runs on eight hits over four and two-thirds innings.

The Broncos also got single runs in the sixth and seventh, as David Hoffmire blooped a single into right-center to score Bacon in the sixth, and Alcantar came across in the seventh on a two-out LeBlanc single to right.