by Brandon Rebboah
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara dropped its mid-week contest with Cal Poly 7-0. Despite recording 11 hits, the Broncos were unable to cash in with runners in scoring position. Chris Mendoza picked up the loss, falling to 2-4 on the season. Cal Poly left-hander Kyle Anderson improved to 2-5 for Cal Poly.
"I thought early on we didn't pick to contact very well," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "We gave them to many passes early in the game. We didn't set the tone. I give them credit, but we helped them out a little bit."
Cal Poly got its offense going early, scoring three runs in the first inning. Bobby Crocker led off with a single, followed by a RBI double by Mike Miller. Miller advanced on a passed ball and later scored on a double by D.J. Gentile. Elliot Stewart provided a sacrifice fly to put the Mustangs' third run on the board. With two outs, Mendoza got some help from his defense when Blake Leyva tracked down a ball hit to second and threw it to Wagner, who turned and fired home to get Stewart 4-3-2.
Matt Ozanne singled to lead off the bottom of the inning. After two fly outs, Ozanne was picked off to end the inning.
Mendoza pitched his way out of a jam, receiving strong defensive support from his teammates. After putting runners on second and third with one out, Miller hit a hard ground ball to Kyle DeMerritt who zipped it home for the out. Mendoza plunked a batter, but forced a pop up to end the inning.
Mendoza settled down in the third, providing a fly out, walking a batter and starting a 1-6-3 double play.
Matt Ozanne registered his second hit of the day with a two-out double in the third inning.
With one out and runners on first and second, Mendoza was lifted in favor of Joe Supple. Supple provided two consecutive outs to finish the inning
With two outs in the sixth, Stephen Takahashi and Matt Ozanne provided back-to-back hits. However, Viele was unable to extend the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, Curtis Wagner tallied his second hit of the game with a two-out single but the Broncos couldn't put up any runs.
Supple surrendered two homeruns to Cal Poly's Mitch Haniger and Elliot Stewart to extend the Mustang's lead to 5-0. Jason Westerberg relieved Supple with two outs in the sixth inning and forced groundout to end the inning.
Cal Poly added a run in both the sixth and seventh inning to push the lead to 7-0.
Lucas Herbst provided a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh, but was downed at second when Zach Looney grounded into a fielder's choice. Blake Leyva roped a single that advanced Looney to second. Despite a scoring chance, the Broncos couldn't muster a run.
For the second straight game, Brock Simon provided a solid relief performance. He pitched two scoreless innings while holding the Mustangs hitless. In the past two games, Simon has pitched a total of 3.0 innings of relief, allowing no runs and one hit.
"I like what he's doing. He's throwing the ball done in the zone and attacking hitters," said O'Brien. "He's doing what we think he's capable of doing. It gives us a guy that we can start or bring out of the bullpen."
In the bottom of the ninth, the Broncos put runners on the corners after Looney reached on an error and Blake Leyva singled. Andrew Biancardi provided a pinch-hit RBI single to put the Broncos on the scoreboard. Matt Ozanne walked with two outs to load the bases Viele singled up the middle to knock in a run. Despite the late offense, the Broncos fell 7-2.
The Broncos will now travel to Moraga, Calif. to battle West Coast Conference rival Saint Mary's this weekend.
"We have to play the game the right way," said O'Brien. "We have to throw strikes...and we have to knock in runners on base."
Game Notes: First pitch 6:02…this was Mendoza's first start in a mid-week game…Jason Westerberg pitched 2.1 innings, allowing five hits and two runs…Brock Simon pitched 2.0 innings allowing 0 runs and 0 hits…Pat Terry snapped his 11-game hitting streak.