Broncos Come From Behind To Top Brown, 8-3, In Series Opener

SANTA CLARA, Calif.  – The Santa Clara baseball team (8-10) picked up its eighth win of the season tonight, defeating the visiting Brown Bears (2-7), 8-3, tonight at Schott Stadium to start off a four-game series between the two teams.

SCU starting pitcher senior Cory Hall (3-3) pitched the Broncos' first complete game of the season and established a new team and individual season-high, striking out 11 batters.  Hall surrendered only eight hits and three runs in the game.  The Bears' Matthew Kimball (0-2) was charged with the loss with six runs (three earned) on nine hits.

"We had a meeting on Thursday with our pitchers and talked a lot about pitching to contact and pitching through adversity, which we hadn't been doing a good job of," said head coach Mark O'Brien.  "Tonight Cory did both and gave us a big effort which is a great sign of leadership out of him.  He's been a different guy for us this year, displaying a better mindset and attitude and it's been the difference for him. He's did a heck of a job tonight."

"We [the pitching staff] talked about it all week and so I wanted to go out there and attack the hitters," said Hall.  "That was my main goal, to attack and compete and I thought I did a good job of that.  My fastball-changeup combo was working well tonight and it kept the hitters off balance."

In the fourth inning, Brown took a 2-0 lead with two outs on the board, fueled by doubles from Matt Colantonio and Ryan Zrenda and singles from Pete Greskoff and Mike DiBiase.  The Bears added one run on a fifth-inning RBI-single from Matt DeRenzi to make it 3-0.
 
In the sixth-inning the Broncos changed the momentum of the game, putting together a five-run effort that gave SCU a two-run lead.  Singles from sophomores Blake Leyva and Justin Viele and an error by the Brown second baseman loaded the bases for Santa Clara.  Junior Lucas Herbst notched his 10th RBI of the season with a single to score Leyva. 
Freshman Kyle DeMerritt then reloaded the bases with his second single of the night before senior Curtis Wagner reached on fielder's choice, scoring Herbst.  Freshman Zach Looney also scored on Wagner's at-bat due to an error by the Brown third baseman, but Wagner was thrown out while trying to advance to second.  The Broncos scored their final run of the inning on senior Pat Terry's groundout, putting DeMerritt across the plate.
 
The energy stayed with Santa Clara in the top of the seventh innings as the defense prevented Brown from getting anything across the scoreboard in the inning.  In the bottom of the inning, junior designated hitter Andrew Biancardi led off with a double and a third error in the game by Brown put Viele on first and freshman Gregory Harisis, who came in to pinch run for Biancardi, at third.  Looney then picked up his second RBI of the night, scoring Harisis, on a fielder's choice as he beat out the double play at first to put the score at 6-3 in favor of the Broncos.

Santa Clara extended its lead to five in the eighth inning on a two-RBI double from Matt Ozanne, which would be the final two runs of the game.

"We've had a little bit of cabin fever with this rainy weather," said O'Brien.  "So it was good to get out and play at our home field and be outdoors and good to get off to a good start in the series."

The series will continue on Sunday at Schott Stadium with a doubleheader scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

Game Notes: Game time of 2:16 was the shortest game played so far in Santa Clara's season … freshman Kyle DeMerritt continued his trend of making spectacular diving stops, saving a hit in the top of the ninth  … DeMerritt brought his consistency at the plate back up to par, going 2-for-3 at the plate in the game … Blake Leyva was also 2-for-3 … Santa Clara only left two stranded on the bags, while Brown left six men on base … the game was the only the Broncos second played in a span of 13 days due to rainy weather in the Bay Area.