by Brandon Rebboah
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – After leading in both the eighth and 10th innings, Santa Clara (14-20) fell in 13 innings to San Francisco (18-20) in the opening game of a three-game weekend series. The loss went to closer J.R. Graham (2-2) who surrendered an unearned run to end the game. Cory Hall continues to pitch deep into games for the Broncos. He pitched 7.1 inning allowing two earned runs on seven hits while striking out six batters. Graham pitched 4.2 innings allowing one earned run on five hits, fanning two batters.
The Broncos were unable to get their offense going in the top of the first inning.
Cory Hall retired the first batter he faced. Connor Bernatz singled and advanced on a stolen base. Jason Mahood reached on an infield-single to put runners on the corners for the Dons. The Broncos allowed a run on a botched pickoff play. Hall recovered by recording his first strikeout. Curtis Wagner snagged a hard-hit ball and flipped it to Hall to end the inning.
Wagner registered the Broncos first hit of the game with a two-out single in the second. Drew Ozanne provided a single to advance Wagner to second. However, two straight outs ended the inning.
Hall retired the side in order in the bottom of the second, fanning two batters.
Zach Looney provided the first out of the third with a leaping grab. Hall walked Bernatz with two outs. Patrick Terry gunned down Bernatz, 2-4, to end the inning. After three innings, San Francisco held a one-run lead.
With two outs in the fourth, Wagner reached on balls then advanced on a Matt Lujan balk. Despite the scoring chance, a Santa Clara groundout ended the inning.
Hall induced two-consecutive fly balls in the second half of the inning. After a walk, the Santa Clara ace punched out his fourth batter.
The Dons extended their lead in the fifth on an RBI by Mason Morioka. Pete Lavin singled to put runners on first and second. Hall provided a strikeout and fly ball to end the inning.
In the seventh, Hall retired the side for the second time in the game.
Santa Clara capitalized on a USF error to take the lead in the eighth inning. Blake Leyva singled down the right-field line to start of the bottom of the inning. Herbst was awarded first after being hit by a pitch. Viele grounded into a fielder's choice for the first out of the inning. DeMerritt reached on an error by the shortstop and Herbst scored. The error chased Matt Lujan from the mound in favor of Elliot Waterman. Pat Terry roped a ball down the right-field line to score two runs.
Hall returned to the mound with a 3-2 lead. Bernatz lined out to Viele for the first out of the inning followed by a Jason Mahood two-out double. After another single, Hall was lifted in favor of J.R. Graham. USF tied the game, 3-3, on a wild pitch. Graham provided a strikeout for the second out of the inning. Takahashi tracked down a fly ball to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth, Drew Ozanne singled up the middle. Matt Ozanne entered as the pinch runner for his brother. Looney lined a ball to left to put runners on first and second. Takahashi grounded into a fielder's choice, but advanced Ozanne to third. However, Santa Clara was unable to score.
Graham returned to the mound in the bottom of the inning. After a quick out, Artiz Garcia provided the Dons a one-out single. Graham forced a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
To start extra innings, Viele sparked the Broncos with a leadoff double. DeMerritt laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Viele to third. The Dons walked Terry intentionally. Curtis Wagner provided a sacrifice fly to give the Broncos a 4-3 lead.
USF responded with a single by Pete Lavin and stole second. Bernatz provided a sacrifice bunt to advance Lavin to third. Graham walked a batter to put runners on the corners. Stephen Yarrow hit a RBI groundout to tie the game. Graham fanned Balog to send the game to the eleventh inning.
Andrew Biancardi doubled to start the 11th. Looney bunted Biancardi to third. The Dons went to the bullpen twice in the inning. With one out, Jonathan Abramson entered and registered one out. With two outs, Jordan Remer entered for USF. The Broncos were unable to capitalized, stranding Biancardi at third.
Jared Denham provided USF with a one-out single and stole second. Graham forced a weak foul ball and chased it down for the second out, and then ended the inning on a popup.
Herbst singled to start the 12th inning and advanced on a wild pitch. Viele walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. DeMerritt walked on four pitches to load the bases. However, three straight outs dashed the Broncos chances.
Graham got a quick out, followed by a one-out single by Bernatz. Viele tracked down a shallow fly ball for the second out. Graham forced a fly ball to send the game to the 13th inning.
Looney walked to begin the inning and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Takahashi. Leyva was awarded first after being plunked but two straight outs ended the inning.
In the second half of the inning, Graham walked Balog to start the inning. Higgs singled to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt, USF scored on a Santa Clara error. The Broncos fell 5-4.
The series continues tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Game Notes: First pitch was thrown at 3:04 p.m…Stephen Takahashi started his fourth straight game…Patrick Terry has thrown out three runners and knocked in four RBI in the last two games.