March 13, 2011

Broncos Split Final Day Of Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament

By Brandon Rebboah '13

Game 1:

SANTA CLARA, Calif.- The Santa Clara baseball team (6-9) fell in the first game of Sunday's double header, 7-4, to Utah (5-7) despite putting the winning run at the plate in the ninth.

Sophomore starting pitcher Chris Mendoza (1-2) was charged with the loss in 5.1 innings surrendering four runs on eight hits, while striking out two batters. Utah starter Brock Duke (1-0) got the win for the Utes pitching six innings while only giving up three runs.

The Broncos conceded two unearned runs in the first inning and trailed, 3-0, for the first three innings.  After a slow start, the Santa Clara offense got rolling in the fourth to tie the game at three.  Kyle DeMerritt provided a RBI on a safety squeeze to put the first run on the board. Senior Patrick Terry then hit a RBI-double to left field, followed by a RBI-double by Justin Viele to right center.

The Utes regained the lead in the bottom of the inning to lead, 4-3, on a sacrifice fly by Michael Beltran.

Mendoza was relieved by Jason Westerberg in the fifth, who inherited runners on first and second. Westerberg loaded the bases and Utah's C.J. Cron then knocked in two runs, extending the Utes' lead to 6-3. Westerberg responded by getting two consecutive outs to exit the inning. Utah added another run in the seventh to extend their lead to four.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Westerberg found himself in a hole but got JoJo Sharrar to fly-out. Matt Ozanne made the catch in shallow center and threw a one-hop to home; catcher Zach Looney applied the tag at the plate and survived the collision ball-in-hand for the double play to end the inning.

The Broncos carried the momentum into the ninth with a single by Terry and a double by Viele. Pinch-hitter Andrew Biancardi grounded out but scored Terry from third. Drew Ozanne, then came in to pinch hit and walked to bring the tying run, Lucas Herbst, to the plate. Herbst was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but the comeback was cut short and the Broncos fell, 7-4.

Game Notes: Santa Clara was the visiting team for the second straight game … the first pitch was thrown at 11 a.m ... senior Brian Roby made his first career start as a Bronco (left field) …  Gregory Harisis pinch ran for Drew Ozanne in the ninth … the first game's duration was 3:07.

Game 2:

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara baseball team (7-9) ended a five-game skid with a 9-8 win over UC Davis (3-12) captured in the bottom of the ninth on a hit-by-pitch-RBI. With the bases loaded, freshman Zach Looney earned his second hit-by-pitch-RBI of the game to score the winning run.

"It showed me a lot [about the team] to come back and win the second game," said Mark O'Brien This is traditionally a difficult week for us. I'm glad the week is over and I'm glad we ended it with a win."

 J.R. Graham (1-0) picked up the win for Santa Clara pitching four innings of relief, allowing one-run and striking out three Aggies.  UC Davis' Tom Briner was charged with his first loss after 3.1 innings in which he gave up one run on three hits.  David Popkins, who played all game at left field for the Aggies was on the mound for the final pitch that hit Looney.

Freshman Powell Fansler started for the Broncos and began his outing by retiring the side in the top of the first. In the bottom of the inning, the Broncos drew two walks and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases. Senior Curtis Wagner supplied a sacrifice fly to score the Zach Looney from third to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead after the first inning.  

Scott Kalush got UC Davis on the board with a RBI-single in the top of the second to tie the game at one.

In the bottom of the third, the Broncos added two tallies to take a 3-1 lead. Curtis Wagner picked up his second RBI-single of the game and Patrick Terry singled to score Matt Ozanne from third to regain the lead for Santa Clara.  

Paul Politi knocked in a run in the top of the fourth to start a UC-Davis rally. Davis would score three runs to take the lead, 4-3, after three-and-a-half.

Redshirt junior Joe Supple replaced Fansler in the top of the fifth with a 2-0 count against Scott Heylman and subsequently loaded the bases.  He then walked Scott Kalush, brother of former Bronco Steve Kalush, to extend the Davis lead to two runs with two outs on the board.  Justin Viele snagged a line drive for the third out and saved two runs from scoring.

In the fifth inning, freshman Kyle DeMerritt got his first hit of the day, singling to right center.  Terry was hit by a pitch and Viele hit a timely single to load the bases with one out.  Leyva got the team going with a suicide -squeeze bunt with two outs to score DeMerritt and Looney was hit by a pitch to bring the Broncos within one run.  Herbst then hit a three-RBI-double that bounced oddly in the outfield, allowing for an 8-5 Santa Clara lead.  

"That was big for us," said O'Brien. "Lucas did a nice job for us today."

Herbst's double ended UC Davis starter Scott Lyman's day on the mound, as he was replaced by Joe Biagini, who ended the Broncos' four-run rally by striking out Matt Ozanne.

A leadoff double by Wagner in the sixth retired Biagini as he made way for Tom Briner, but the Broncos were unable to get any runs across the plate in the inning.

The Aggies capitalized on two errors, scoring two unearned runs in the seventh on consecutive doubles from Eric Johnson and Kalush to make it a one-run game again at 8-7.

With one out, UC Davis had runners on the corners in the ninth inning. Kalush delivered a sacrifice fly to tie the game 8-8 before Graham downed Daniel Cepin with one pitch to get out of the inning.

In the bottom of the inning, Terry singled to left field to lead off the inning. Viele followed by showing bunt, but pulled back and chopped the ball over the third basemen. Andrew Biancardi provided a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. The Aggies then intentionally walked Blake Levya and decided to make the pitching switch from Briner to Popkins. Popkins beaned Looney with his first pitch, ending the game in a Bronco victory, 9-8.

"That slash [by Viele] was a good job by Justin," said O'Brien.  "I put that on [the play] after watching them play the other night and thought we had a chance to do that. Terry had some good at-bats all weekend. He is mentally tough; he keeps grinding and has tough at bats."

The next time the Broncos take the field will be Friday at Stephen Schott Stadium against Minnesota.

Game Notes: The first pitch was 2:59 p.m ... in the second inning, Kyle DeMerritt bare-handed a bunt and threw an off-balanced throw to first to get Paul Politi ... Zach Looney tallied two RBI, both by taking first base on a hit-by-pitch … Blake Leyva was 3-for-4 in game two while three other Broncos, Herbst, Wagner, and Terry, were 2-for-4 … UC-Davis catcher Scott Kalush had 5 RBI on the day ... San Jose clinched the tournament title with a, 11-4, win over UW-Milwaukee at Municipal Stadium in San Jose.