By Brandon Rebboah
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Despite a ninth inning rally, Santa Clara dropped the series-opener to San Diego 6-4 in 10 innings. Paul Twining (1-1) picked up the loss for the Broncos, allowing two runs on two hits in 2.1 innings. San Diego reliever James Pazos improved to 2-3 with the win. The Broncos scored two runs in the ninth, including a game-tying RBI single by Kyle DeMerritt. Offensively, the Broncos were led by Matt Ozanne who was 3-5 with a RBI, run scored and a stolen base. Starter Cory Hall pitched well for the Broncos, allowing three runs on nine hits and struck out six batters in seven innings of work.
"Cory pitched the way he has all year," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "I was proud of the way we came back. We battled; we just couldn't pitch there when we needed to late."
San Diego and Santa Clara traded runs in the first inning. The Toreros scored their first run on a sacrifice fly by Zack Komentani. The Broncos responded to knot the game in the bottom of the inning. Lucas Herbst was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Patrick Terry knocked in Herbst with a two-out RBI single.
The Toreros loaded the bases with two outs in the third. Hall induced a foul out to get out of the inning unscathed.
Hall retired the side on three-straight groundouts in the fourth inning.
The Broncos and Toreros traded scoreless frames until the bottom of the sixth. Terry hit a leadoff single. Drew Ozanne reached on balls to put runners on first and second. With one out, Santa Clara chased San Diego starter Calvin Drummond from the mound. Drummond was replaced by Paul Paez. Paez struck out a batter for the second out of the inning. Justin Viele hit a RBI single to left field to give the Broncos a, 2-1, lead.
In the seventh, Hall recorded his second 1-2-3 inning of the night.
San Diego responded with three runs in the eighth. After Hall allowed two hits to lead off the eighth, J.R. Graham entered the game for Santa Clara. The Toreros scored three runs on RBIs from Scott Schauer, Bryan Haar and Tony Strazzara. Graham was lifted in favor of Paul Twining, who ended the inning.
Santa Clara rallied in the bottom of the ninth. Stephen Takahashi provided a leadoff single. Matt Ozanne roped a ball to the left-field wall to score Takahashi. With no outs and a runner at second, San Diego called on closer James Pazos. Lucas Herbst laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Ozanne to third. Kyle DeMerritt hit a clutch RBI single to tie the game 4-4.
However, the Toreros scored twice in the tenth, including a RBI triple by Bryan Haar.
In the bottom of the tenth, Looney walked to begin the inning. After a quick out, Takahashi walked to put runners on first and second. However, a fly ball ended the game. The Broncos fell 6-4.
"We stayed grinding," said O'Brien. "We just have to do the same thing tomorrow."
The series continues tomorrow at 1.pm. at Stephen Schott Stadium. Chris Mendoza (3-5; 4.62 ERA) will start for the Broncos.
Game Notes: The first pitch was thrown at 6:04 p.m…. In the top of the first, Stephen Takahashi made an acrobatic-diving catch to rob Bryan Haar of an extra-base hit…Zach Looney stole a base in the fourth inning…the Broncos turned a 6-3 double play in the fifth inning…Looney gunned down a runner 2-6 in the sixth inning…Matt Ozanne has 10 stolen bases on the season…San Diego starter Calvin Drummond pitched 5.1 innings allowing two runs on three hits…In the ninth inning, Julian Duran hit a line drive to the left of DeMerritt who dove, fully extended, to catch the liner.