SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After a terrific opening week and in front of a near-sellout, Santa Clara baseball built more momentum by rocking Illinois-Chicago 9-3 on Fri. night in the home-opener for the Broncos. The Broncos stayed undefeated, moving to 5-0 while Illinois-Chicago fell to 0-4 on the young season.
The real story of the game was the terrific pitching performance of starting pitcher RHP Tommy Nance. Nance (1-0; 3.07) had a final line of 7.2 innings pitched, two runs, one earned, on five hits with eight strikeouts and three walks on 107 pitches. LF Pat Stover went 2-5 with the first Santa Clara home run of the season, a mammoth two-run shot to left. To go along with his 2 RBI, he scored two runs.
Santa Clara plays a double-header tomorrow against the Flames. The first game is scheduled for 11 a.m. and the second game has a first-pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.
"We have a philosophy that we want to set the tone in everything that we do," said Bronco head coach Dan O'Brien. "We put runners in scoring position six innings in a row to start this game and that really puts a lot of pressure on the other team. Also, the atmosphere tonight was electric and I'm just so thrilled that the Santa Clara community came out to support us. I think we gave them a good show."
Nance got the Broncos off on the right foot by retiring the Flames 1-2-3 in the top of the first innings. After getting a lead-off line-out to shortstop, he struck out the next two batters.
C Quinton Perry smacked a two-out single up the middle that hit second base. The next batter, RF Stephen Meade, hit the first pitch he saw into left-center for a double that scored Perry all the way from first. At the end of two innings, the Broncos led 1-0.
3B Kyle DeMerritt flashed the leather on a bunt to lead off the top of the third inning. He charged and threw a strike to first retire the batter by a step. Nance continued to show his good stuff as he ended the inning on a check-swing strikeout.
CF Lucas Herbst led-off the bottom of the third with a base hit through the right side. Biancardi followed with a sacrifice bunt and LF Pat Stover grounded out to put Herbst on third with two outs. With DH T.J. Braff at the plate the second passed ball of the game by Illinois-Chicago let Herbst score the second Santa Clara run of the night. Braff struck out on the next pitch to end the inning.
The first base runner of the night for the Flames came when 1B Alex De LaRosa smacked a one-out single up the middle in the top of the fourth inning. He stole second and advanced to second on a throwing by Perry. SS Ryan Shober walked to put runners on first and third before getting picked off. As Shober was being tagged out, De LaRosa scored from third to bring the score to 2-1.
Viele led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk and after Herbst hit a long foul home run he executed a beautiful hit-and-run to put runners on the corners with no outs. Biancardi followed with a sac fly to center to bring in the third Bronco run of the evening. The next batter, Stover, continued the rally with a solid base hit to right field. After Braff walked to load the bases, DeMerritt hit into a fielder's choice to make the score 4-1 in favor of Santa Clara. 2B Evan Peters hit a two-out, two-RBI triple to break the game open and give the Broncos a 6-1 lead.
A leadoff single by Meade and a sacrifice bunt by Viele gave the Broncos another runner in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth. Herbst singled up the middle to widen the gap to 7-1 Broncos. After a fly out Stover hit the first Santa Clara home run of the season to left to make it 9-1.
After a quick out to lead off the top of the seventh, back-to-back hard-hit singles up the middle put runners on second and third for the Flames. After a fly out to center, C Ryan McNamara knocked a single up the middle to bring in the second run for Illinois-Chicago. Nance struck out 2B Cody Dykema to end the inning.
RHP Drake Swezey pitched the top of the ninth and after two quick outs surrendered a double and a single to make the score 9-3. Swezey then got a ground out to third seal the Bronco win.
Game Notes: Three Broncos made their collegiate debuts: OF C.J. Jacobe made his first collegiate appearance and got his first hit in the bottom of the seventh inning when he pinch-hit for Meade and stayed in the game in right field; 3B Matt Glomb appeared in the top of the eighth as a defensive replacement for Kyle DeMerritt; RHP Drake Swezey came in to pitch the top of the ninth ... eight different Broncos had a hit and four had multiple hits ... Tommy Nance had a 2012 team-high eight strikeouts.