by Brandon Rebboah '13
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara (6-7) dropped its opening game of the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament to Utah (4-6), 5-3, tonight at Schott Stadium. The Utes led by as much as five at one time and a rally by the Broncos in the ninth was cut short.
"We just didn't execute early," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "We have guys on base we have to take advantage of that."
Santa Clara starter Brock Simon (1-3) was charged with the loss in a seven-inning effort in which he struck out four batters and gave up five runs on nine hits. Utah's Zach Adams (2-0) gathered his second victory of the year, going seven innings with only one earned run on four hits with seven strikeouts.
The Utes scored a run in the first, fourth and sixth inning highlighted by third baseman Trey Nielson's solo shot in the sixth. They added two more in the seventh to lead 5-0 after six-and-a-half innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Broncos loaded the bases, but scored just one run when a pitch hit Justin Viele. The RBI gave Viele his fourth of the year.
Paul Twining replaced Brock Simon and provided an exemplary performance in the final two innings, striking out two batters and conceding just one hit.
"I thought Paul had a good approach today," commented O'Brien. "When he gets ahead and doesn't try to be too fine, he can be very effective."
In the ninth inning, the Broncos scored two runs on an error by Utah first basemen C.J. Cron, but ultimately fell, 5-3, to the Utes.
"We have a good offense, and our offense will come around. I believe in our offense whole-heartedly," said O'Brien.
The Broncos will continue tournament play tomorrow, Sat. March 12 taking on UW-Milwaukee at 1p.m.
Game Notes: Jack Gifford's grandson, Travis Jones, threw out the ceremonial first pitch…first pitch 6:08pm…Matt Ozanne made a spectacular diving catch to rob Utah's Jo-Jo Sharrar of a hit in the second inning…Zach Looney started his first game as a left fielder going 2-3 with a walk...in the other game of the tournament UC-Davis downed UW-Milwaukee 3-1 at San Jose Municipal Stadium.