February 27, 2011

Santa Clara Sweeps Albany With 9-4 Win Over The Great Danes

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball team (4-3) picked up where they left off Saturday night, bringing its bats to life yet again for the 9-4 victory over Albany (0-5) today to sweep the four-game weekend series at Schott Stadium.

After taking a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first, the Broncos piled on two more runs to take a 6-1 lead into the third inning, a score which would last through 5.5 innings.

In the bottom of the sixth, Santa Clara added another three to the total to make it 9-1 before the Great Danes recovered three runs in the eighth inning to close the Broncos' lead to five.

Freshman Zach Looney had another outstanding game, going 2-for-3 with two singles.  His classmate Kyle DeMerritt went 1-for-2 with a two-RBI double while going 7.5 innings on the day.  DeMerritt had three RBIs total.  Sophomore Pat Stover was 2-for-4 with a single and a double.

On the mound, sophomore pitcher Chris Mendoza (1-1) picked up the win after going 6.0 innings and allowing just one hit and one run while striking out two in his second start of the season.  Closer J.R. Graham came in to get the final out of the eighth inning and struck out three batters in the ninth to ice the game.  Albany's Austin Chase was credited with the loss, his first of the year, after allowing six earned runs in just 2.0 innings.

Santa Clara recorded 10 hits while allowing only four.  Three of the 10 hits were doubles as senior Curtis Wagner, along with DeMerritt and Stover's extra-base hits, picked up the RBI-double in the second inning.

"Obviously it's never easy to win four in-a-row in a four game series," said skipper Mark O'Brien.  I like the way we approached weekened and prepared.  I felt we competed for nine innings every game.  Our pitching and defense was pretty darn good for the most part but the amount of two-out RBIs we had was real big.  Our two freshman [Kyle] DeMerritt and [Zach] Looney played well.  Looney was good for us as the lead-off batter and our 4-5-6 guys did a good job.  Our last three starts on the mound were good as well as the defense behind them.  Overall it was a good effort by our team this weekend and it all came together for four victories."

The Broncos have a quick turnaround from this weekend and will take the short drive to nearby Stanford on Tuesday for a 5:30 p.m. tilt.  The Cardinal is 4-3 overall on the season having defeated Vanderbilt once in a three-game series this weekend in Tennessee, California at home, and Rice twice in Houston.

Game Notes:  Kyle DeMerritt made a spectacular stop at third base in the top of the third on Pete DiResta's shot down the left field line and nearly helped the Broncos turn a double play …  There was a scary moment in the top of the fifth inning as Jeff Welsh fired the ball right back at Chris Mendoza.  Mendoza got his shoulder up just in time to block his face and the ball ricocheted towards Curtis Wagner.  Mendoza, after being hit, went to first without hesitation for the play but Wagner tagged Welsh out … Matt Ozanne made a fantastic, sprinting, over-the-shoulder catch in deep center field to save a hit from Nolan Gaige and end the fifth inning … From the fourth inning through the sixth inning, Mendoza retired nine straight batters (two strikeouts) before being relieved by Deering at the top of the seventh … Closer J.R. Graham struck out three of four batters faced in the top of the ninth.