SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Coming off a tough two-loss day on Saturday, Santa Clara baseball took on Illinois-Chicago in the finale of a four-game weekend series on Sunday. The Broncos came away with a 12-7 victory in seven innings to move their record to 6-2 while the Flames fell to 2-5.
Making his first start of the season for the Broncos was RHP Chris Mendoza (0-0; 6.00). He went 4.0 plus innings, picking up a no-decision, and allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts. LHP Powell Fansler (3-0; 4.50) picked up the win by pitching 2.0 innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits. RHP Paul Twining (2-1; 2.45) pitched a scoreless seventh to pick up the his first save of the season. On offense, LF Pat Stover went 2-3 with a run scored and three RBI. He was also hit by two pitches.
Santa Clara's next game comes on Tues., Feb. 28 at 3:30 p.m. as it hosts Nevada. THe Broncos will play a three-game series against San Jose State with home games on Fri., Mar. 2 and Sun., Mar. 4 and an away game on Sat., Mar. 3.
"I'm really, really proud of the way the guys kept competing all day long," said Santa Clara head coach Dan O'Brien. "This morning we talked not only about he ability to take a punch, but the courage and the character to punch back. What I love about this team is every time we've challenged them with something they've responded and risen to the occasion. They did that today and they deserve the win today."
RF Lucas Herbst got a one-out infield hit and stole second with Stover at the plate. After Stover grounded out to second to advance Herbst to third with two out, DH T.J. Braff roped a single into left-center to give the Broncos the early 1-0 lead.
Back-to-back singles by DH Alex Grunenwald and 2B Cody Dykema gave the Flames runners on first and second with no outs. C Jacob McNamara laid down a sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position. Mendoza struck out CF Nick Addison for the second out and got LF Zenon Kolakowski to ground out to second to end the threat.
Herbst hit a single to center and Stover was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with only one out. A Braff groundout advanced the runners and a balk by Illinois-Chicago starter RHP Matt Salemi brought across the second Bronco run of the game to make the score 2-0.
A single just over the leaping Glomb and a walk to Kolakowski gave the Flames a scoring chance in the top of the fifth. 1B Alex De LaRosa laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases for the third-place hitter, SS Ryan Shober. Shober got a single up the middle to tie the score at 2-2 and advanced to second on an error. Fansler came in to replace Mendoza with no outs in the fifth. A line-drive to right was misread by RF C.J. Jacobe and sailed over his head for a two-RBI triple by RF Jon Ryan. 3B Joe Betcher whacked a single past a diving Glomb to make the score 5-2 in favor of Chicago-Illinois. A sac bunt to advance the runners and a groundout to third with the infield in brought Addison to the plate with two outs. He lined out to left field to end the inning.
SS Justin Viele blooped a single to right to start the home half of the fifth inning. Stover was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game but Viele was thrown out at third on a pitch in the dirt. A fly ball to right ended the inning.
The Flames put together a two-out rally in the top of the sixth when Shober smashed a double off the top of the left-center field wall and Ryan was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch advanced the runners and Betcher hit a double to left to bring in two more runs for Illinois-Chicago. A fly ball to the edge of the warning track ended the inning with the score 7-2.
A walk and a hit batter gave the Broncos a rally for free to start the bottom of the sixth. 2B Evan Peters came up with a looper to left field to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Kyle DeMerritt, who replaced C Peter Summerville, came in to face the new Flames' pitcher, RHP Collin Weyer. DeMerritt hit a sacrifice fly to right to make the score 7-3. RF Stephen Meade, who had replaced Jacobe in the top of the inning, hit a ball through the left side and a run scored on an error by the leftfielder. Drew Ozanne pinch hit for Viele and whacked a single up the middle for a RBI. With the score now 7-5, Herbst executed a perfect hit and run to bring in a run and he advanced to second on a bobble by the right fielder. RHP Chris Hoffman came in in relief and Stover beat out an infield single to tie the game at 7-7. Braff broke the tie with a solid single to right that knocked in one run and put runners on the corners with one out. A failed suicide-squeeze by 1B Andrew Biancardi got Stover caught off third but a throwing error by the catcher let the run score and advanced Braff to third.
Twining came in to pitch the top of the seventh ad gave up a lead off walk. After a pop out to Twining, Addison fouled out to the catcher for the second out of the inning. Kolakowski grounded out to third to end the inning with Santa Clara leading 9-7.
1B Casey Husband pinch hit for CF Matt Ozanne and drew a walk. D. Ozanne got a single and Herbst reached on an error that brought in another run. Pat Stover went back up the middle for two RBI. The game ended due to the travel curfew with the score 12-7.
Game Notes: First pitch was 10 a.m. ... no inning was allowed to start after 12:30 p.m. due to a travel curfew ... Pat Stover made a lunging catch to end the top of the fifth inning ... Stephen Meade came in to play right field for Santa Clara in the top of the sixth ... the Broncos sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the seventh.