Game Story Written by Michelle Schmitt
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the 2011 West Coast Conference home opener, LMU's Jason Wheeler pitched a complete-game shutout to defeat Santa Clara 3-0 on Friday night.
Santa Clara is 12-14 and 0-1 in the WCC and LMU is 17-11 and 1-0 in the WCC. Wheeler was the winning pitcher, improving to 4-1 and Cory Hall picked up the loss for the Broncos moving 3-4.
"I thought Cory was outstanding," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "He gave us a chance to win and that is what you ask out of your Friday starter. We just didn't swing the bat."
In the top of the first inning the Lions put two runners on base with two outs with a hit by Matt Koch and Shon Roe walked. Alex Guthrie popped up to Patrick Terry in behind the plate to end the inning.
Lucas Herbst snared a single on a blooper to centerfield to lead-off and was moved over to second base on a balk by Wheeler, but Herbst was thrown out at third on a fielders choice. Kyle DeMerritt advanced Zach Looney to second with a single to left field. Curtis Wagner struck out to end the bottom half of the first.
With one out in the second inning, Zac Fujimoto took second base standing up after he knocked down a bunt single and advanced on the error by the Bronco third basemen DeMerritt. Looney made a diving catch in the outfield for the second out before Herbst caught a sharply hit ball in right field to end the inning.
Drew Ozanne singled to center and Justin Viele had an infield hit to put two runners on with two outs in the bottom of the second. Herbst was thrown at first with the pitcher covering to end the inning.
For the third straight inning Bronco leftfielder Zach Looney caught the Lions first out. After reaching base on a single to left, Matt Koch was thrown out by Bronco catcher Patrick Terry attempting to steal second, ending the inning.
In the bottom of the third inning DeMerritt singled with one out to pick up his second hit of the game. He advanced on ground out by Terry. Wagner struck out swinging to end the inning.
Roe led off the top of the fourth with a rope single to right field. Alex Guthrie picked up his fourth sacrifice of the year when he pushed Roe to second. Evan Simonitsch put runners on first and third on an infield single. Roe scored the first run of the game and Simonitsch advanced to third on Fujimoto's sacrifice. The Loins are 12-4 this year when scoring first. Nick Devian's pop-out to centerfield ended the half.
Roe made a diving play on the leftfield tarp to put away Matt Ozanne for the first out of the Broncos fourth. Wheeler struck out Blake Leyva and Drew Ozanne to finish the inning.
Matt Lowenstein continued his eight-game hitting streak with a double to left with one out in the top of the fifth. After being hit by the ball off the ball, Hall reacted quickly and threw out Johnson with Lowenstein advancing to third. Koch struck out swinging to end the inning. The Loins had stranded five runners in the first five innings.
In the bottom of the fifth Looney walked with one out. Looney struck out swinging and DeMerritt was thrown out at first, leaving the Broncos sixth runner stranded in the first five innings.
Hall hit Roe to start the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Guthrie. Simonitsch walked before Roe and Simonitsch pulled off a double-steal to move up to second and third. Fujimoto flew out to center, but neither runner was able to advance on a strong throw back in by Matt Ozanne. But Nick Devian's rope single to left drove in the pair to put LMU up 3-0. Terry ended the inning by throwing out Devian attempting to steal second.
Terry led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. After Wagner's pop up was caught in foul territory, Terry was thrown out on a fielder's choice at second. Leyva's batted ball skipped off shortstop Roe's glove for a single to put runner's on first and second. Drew Ozanne flew out to right to end the sixth inning.
Lowenstein picked up his second hit of the game with a ball hit through the middle. Johnson walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Hall left the game after pitching 6.1 innings giving up three runs on eight hits. Enter Bronco reliever Brock Simon. Simon picked off Lowenstein for the second out. Johnson was picked-off on a base-running blunder by the Lions on a 1-3-4-3-4-6 play to end the inning.
The Broncos went down 1-2-3 in the seventh inning.
Simon blanked the Lions, 1-2-3- in the top of the eighth inning.
The Broncos went down 1-2-3 in the eighth inning for the second straight year.
Fujimoto roped a single up the middle with one out in the top of the ninth. Dahlson singled to put runners on first and second with two outs. A ground ball to second ended the inning.
Aiming to score the complete game shutout, Wheeler took the mound to start the bottom of the ninth. After a groundout to the second baseman and a pop out to right field, Drew Ozanne popped out to finish off the game.
Game notes: First pitch was 6:03 pm … Kyle DeMerritt was the only Bronco to tally two hits... the Broncos left eight runners on base.