by Brandon Rebboah
SANTA CLARA, Calif.- In a game that saw 23 combined hits and 16 combined pitchers, Santa Clara (15-22) out-dueled Pacific (13-22) to pick up a 10-6 mid-week victory. Santa Clara's offense provided 10 hits, highlighted by Kyle DeMerritt's four-RBI night. Chris Mendoza improved to 3-5, picking up the win with a one-hit inning.
"After a tough weekend, I think it shows some character," said Santa Clara head coach Mark O'Brien. "It shows we are still competitive. I was really happy with the way we came from behind."
After just one out and two quick runs in the first inning, Powell Fansler was removed in favor of Joe Supple. Patrick Terry gunned down a runner trying to steal third for the second out. Supple provided a ground out to end the inning.
Kyle DeMerritt walked with one out to give Santa Clara their first baserunner of the game. Two consecutive outs ended the inning.
In the second inning, Jason Taasaas singled and stole second. Supple recorded his first strikeout for the first out. DeMerritt snagged a line-drive for the second out of the inning. Dustin Torchio walked to put runners on first and second for Pacific. Carvutto knocked in his second RBI of the game to extend the Pacific lead to 3-0. Max Deering relieved Supple with two outs. Deering forced a groundout to end the inning.
The Broncos rallied in the home half of the second. After a quick out in the second inning, Curtis Wagner singled down the right-field line. Matt Ozanne walked to put runners on first and second for the Broncos. Stephen Takahashi drilled a ball to left-center for a RBI double. Blake Leyva provided a RBI single and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Justin Viele. DeMerritt was hit by a pitch to load the bases. However, the Broncos were unable to score any more runs.
In the third, Deering supplied a groundout to start the inning. After two consecutive hits, Jason Taasaas provided a RBI groundout to extend the lead to 4-2. Deering forced a fly ball to end the inning.
The Broncos took advantage of two Pacific errors to score a run on a wild play. Drew Ozanne hit a one-out single and advanced on a passed ball. Wagner reached on balls to put runners on first and second. Matt Ozanne hit into a fielder's choice, Wagner was out on the play. The second baseman made an error on the throw to first; the first basemen picked up the wild ball and Drew Ozanne scored from third. The ball was off the mark and advanced Matt Ozanne to second. Takahashi popped up to end the inning.
In the fourth, Greg Plauck took the mound for SCU. He provided a groundout out, then allowed a single. After the hit, Plauck induced fly ball for the second out and then picked off Dustin Torchio, 1-6, to end the inning.
"I was impressed with the way [Plauck] came in and put up a zero for us," said O'Brien.
Santa Clara continued to capitalize on Pacific miscues. Blake Leyva singled to start the inning, advanced to second on a passed ball and took third on a wild pitch. DeMerritt hit a RBI groundout to score Leyva. Herbst was awarded first after being plunked and then stole second. After four frames, the Broncos were tied at 4-4.
Paul Twining took the mound for Santa Clara to start the fifth, forcing two straight popups before allowing a double. He responded with a flyball to end the inning.
After a hitless fifth frame for the Broncos, Chris Mendoza emerged to pitch for the Broncos. Mendoza provided a groundout to start the inning. Santa Clara made a two-base error on a fly ball, followed by a single to put runners on the corners. Pacific took the lead,5-4, on a passed ball. Mendoza jammed Dustin Torchio, forcing a fly ball to left for the second out. Matt Ozanne ran under a fly ball for the third out of the inning.
In the sixth, Santa Clara stringed together some hits to put four runs on the board. After a groundout, Leyva and Viele provided back-to-back walks and both advanced on a passed ball. DeMerritt hit a two-RBI single to give the Broncos the lead for the first time in the game. Herbst roped a ball to right field to put runners on the corners. Terry hit into a fielder's choice, but scored DeMerritt. Ozanne singled to right field to extend the inning. However, a groundout ended the inning. After six frames, the Broncos led 7-5.
Brock Simon began the seventh for the Broncos and walked two straight batters. Simon provided a groundout that put runners on the corners. Brett Christopher hit a sacrifice fly to score a run for the Tigers. Terry threw out his second runner of the game to end the inning.
Takahashi walked to begin the bottom of the inning, and then stole second. Leyva knocked a ball to right center to score Takahashi. Viele picked up his second walk of the night. Both Leyva and Viele advanced on a passed ball. DeMerritt picked up a RBI on a groundout. After seven, the Broncos led 9-6.
" I wasn't hitting the ball around the park," said DeMerritt. " I was just situational hitting. I was just doing my job."
Simon returned for a second inning, getting out of the inning unscathed.
Wagner hit a one-out single in the bottom of the eighth. Matt Ozanne was hit by a pitch, followed by a Takahashi RBI single. The Broncos went into the ninth with a 10-6 lead.
Closer J.R. Graham took the mound and provided a scoreless inning, striking out the final batter of the game.
The Broncos remain at home for a three-game series against WCC opponent Gonzaga. Game one will be on Friday Apr. 29 at 6 p.m.
" We play off momentum. I think we have some momentum [coming into the weekend," said DeMerritt. "We have nothing to lose."
Game Notes: First pitch was thrown at 6:02…Patrick Terry has thrown out five runners in the last four games…there were a combined 16 pitchers used by both teams…Brock Simon was the only SCU pitcher to pitch two innings.