By Brandon Rebboah
SANTA CLARA, Calif,- Despite scoring an early run, Santa Clara fell to Loyola Marymount to fall to 0-2 in the West Coast Conference. Powell Fansler (3-1) picked up his first loss of the season, pitching fiving innings and allowing four runs on seven hits. Alex Gillingham was credited with the win for the lions, pitching a complete game.
"Well I thought we had some opportunities to extend the lead early," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "Powell got into a little trouble, and it seems like they kind of just pecked away at us."
After Fansler pitched a scoreless first, the Broncos took advantage of an LMU error in the bottom of the inning. Leadoff batter Justin Viele was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch. Matt Ozanne provided a single to put runners on first and second. Kyle DeMerritt grounded into double play, advancing Viele to third. Patrick Terry reached on an error by the third baseman that scored Viele. Terry then advanced to second on a botched pickoff play, but was picked off at second to end the inning.
Fansler retired the side in the second, providing popups and a strikeout.
With one out in the third, LMU put a runner on second after a successful sacrifice bunt. Fansler then walked Andrew Lowenstein. A bunt single by Jonathan Johnson loaded the bases for the Lions. Sean Roe drove in two runs on a single to make the score 2-1. Fansler induced a fly ball to get the third out of the inning.
Despite allowing a pair singles and being called for a balk, Fansler survived the fourth inning without giving up run.
Santa Clara couldn't muster any runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Lions extended their lead to 4-1 in the fifth. Alex Roe provided an RBI triple and scored after Fansler was called for his second balk of the game.
Fansler was relieved by Jason Westerberg to start the sixth. Westerberg forced two fly outs, followed by a phenomenal play from Zach Looney. With a runner on first, Lowenstein singled to left, but Looney grabbed the ball and gunned it to DeMerritt at third who applied the tag on Fujimoto for the third out.
In the bottom of the sixth, DeMerritt got a two-out single. Patrick Terry added a double to put runners on second and third. The Broncos stranded both runners on a groundout that ended the inning.
Westerberg downed the first two batters in the top of the seventh, but a Santa Clara error extended the inning. Westerberg allowed a singled, then walked an LMU batter to load the bases. Curtis Wagner helped out Westerberg by making a diving stop and flipped the ball to first to end the inning.
Drew Ozanne started the home half of the seventh inning with a leadoff single, but Santa Clara's scoring chances were dashed by a double play and a strikeout.
With one out and a runner on third, Westerberg was relieved by Max Deering. Lowenstein provided a sacrifice-fly to stretch the LMU lead to four. Deering escaped the inning allowing just one run.
Looney singled to start the bottom of the eighth, but after Viele flied out Santa Clara hit into its third double play of the day.
Joe Supple came out to start the ninth for Santa Clara. LMU tacked on another run on a Bronco error to extend their lead. Sean McIntyre added a pinch-hit RBI to extend the Lion lead to 7-1.
DeMerritt singled and advanced on an error by the left fielder. Terry advanced DeMerritt on a groundout. After a strikeout and a groundout, the Broncos ultimately fell 7-1.
The Broncos will look to get their first conference win tomorrow in the series finale against LMU at 1 p.m.
"Tomorrow is our biggest day of the year," said O'Brien. "We have to end the weekend on a good note."
Game Notes: First pitch was thrown at 1:02…Fansler's start was his second weekend start of the year…in the second, Matt Ozanne made a acrobatic catch in the deepest part of center field to rob Alex Gutherie of a hit…LMU's Nick Devian left in the top of the third after injuring his shoulder diving back to first on a pickoff attempt…Westerberg pitched 2.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits…Max Deering pitched 0.2 innings, allowing no runs and no hits…