February 21, 2012

Broncos Hand Cal Poly First Loss, Move To 4-0

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Looking to build on its terrific start to the 2012 season, Santa Clara traveled on Tuesday to Cal Poly, who swept Oklahoma State last weekend, and came away with a 5-2 win on Powell Fansler cuffing the Mustangs hitless the first four innings.  The Broncos move to 4-0 and Cal Poly falls to 3-1.  The Broncos are 4-0 for the first time since 2008 when they started the season 5-0.

Fansler (1-0; 2.25) made the start for the Broncos and had a final line of 5.0 innings pitched, two hits, two runs, two walks and four strikeouts. RF Lucas Herbst and LF Pat Stover each had two hits, a double and a run scored. 

The Broncos return to the field on Fri., Feb. 24 for their home-opener against Illinois-Chicago.  The two teams will play a four-game series to open the Broncos 2012 home slate. The Flames dropped their first three games of the season to No. 7 Texas A&M.

After three innings the only base runner was a one-out first inning infield single by Herbst. Fansler had three strikeouts his first time through the line-up and only the ninth place hitter, 2B Evan Busby, hit the ball hard as he flew out deep to left-center.

Herbst led off the top of the fourth with a double down the left field line to give Santa Clara the first scoring chance of the game. Stover followed with a double of his own down the right field line to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Broncos. The next batter, 1B Andrew Biancardi, reached first on an infield single up the middle that advanced Stover to third and DH T.J. Braff grounded out to third to knock in the second run of the inning. With Biancardi now on second, C Quinton Perry struck out swinging and 3B Matt Glomb popped out to end the inning.

A two-out walk to CF Mitch Haniger in the bottom of the fourth was the first base runner for the Mustangs. Fansler came back and got DH David Armendariz to fly out to the edge of the left field warning track.

The Broncos were back at it in the top of the fifth with a leadoff double to left from SS Justin Viele. After a walk to 2B Evan Peters, Cal Poly pulled starter RHP Danny Zandona in favor of RHP Reed Reilly. CF Matt Ozanne bluffed a bunt on the first pitch from Reilly and the base runners pulled off a double steal. The next pitch was smacked into left-center for a RBI single that put runners on the corners with no outs. Herbst followed with a slow groundout to second base to knock in another run and make the score 4-0. Stover singled to center to again put runners on the corners and Biancardi laid down a perfect squeeze bunt that saw the throw go wide and all runners were safe. Braff struck out and Perry popped out to end the three-run inning.

The Mustangs got their first hit in the bottom of the fifth on a solid single up the middle from RF Nick Torres. With two outs 1B Ryan Drobny walked to give the Mustangs their first runner in scoring position on the night. Cal Poly capitalized on the chance when Busby hit a double to left-center that was just out of the reach of a leaping Stover. The inning ended with Santa Clara leading 5-2.

RHP James Smith relieved Fansler to start the bottom of the sixth and gave up a single to the first batter of the inning, LF Tim Wise. Haniger followed with a four-pitch walk. The Broncos caught a break when Armendariz popped up to the pitcher on a sacrifice attempt for the first out of the inning. Smith got out of the jam by inducing back-to-back fly outs.

RHP Chris Heckert entered the game in the bottom of the seventh and struck out the first two batters he faced before Busby hit his second double of the game and advanced to third on a wild pitch. SS Mike Miller hit a foul home run and ultimately drew a walk to put runners on the corners with two outs. LHP Max Deering came into his third game of the season and got Wise to line-out to left to keep the score 5-2 Broncos.

After getting three fly outs in the eighth, Deering came back out for the bottom of the ninth and got C Chris Hoo looking after falling behind 3-0. Pinch-hitter Denver Chavez hit a two-out double to keep the Mustangs alive but Busby grounded out to second to end the game and give Santa Clara a 5-2 win.

Game Notes: LHP Powell Fansler retired the first 11 batters he faced ... Cal Poly's first hit came in the fifth inning ... OF Stephen Takahashi came in for OF Matt Ozanne in the top of the sixth inning ... collegiate debut for RHP Chris Heckert.