SURPRISE, ARIZ. — Santa Clara baseball jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning of Thursday's game against No. 29 Arizona State (NCBWA) before the Sun Devils rallied for nine straight runs to hand the Broncos a 9-6 defeat at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz. The Broncos — who had a four-game winning streak snapped in the loss — dropped to 5-5 while the Sun Devils improved their record to 4-4 in each team's first game of the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic. Santa Clara takes to the diamond tomorrow for a 3 p.m. PST first pitch against Oklahoma.
Coming off a complete game win, D.J. Zapata (L, 1-2) made his third start of the season for the Broncos. He threw 5.1 innings and allowed seven runs (five earned) on nine hits, walked one and struck out two. Arizona State starter Darin Gillies (W, 1-1) threw six innings and allowed three earned runs on seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
Reigning West Coast Conference player of the week Greg Harisis led off the game with a single, and the center fielder was sacrificed to second on a bunt by second baseman Rory Graf-Brennen. Designated hitter Max Kuhns drove in Harisis with an RBI single and was driven in by third baseman Zach Looney's two-out, RBI single to give the Broncos a 2-0 lead. Santa Clara plated its third run of the inning when catcher Stevie Berman crossed home plate on a wild pitch.
Arizona State evened the score with a three-run second inning. Designated hitter Nate Causey led off with a double and came in to score alongside left fielder Jake Peevyhouse on a one-out, two-RBI triple by second baseman Tucker Esmay. Center fielder Johnny Sewald's RBI groundout brought Esmay in to score and tied the contest at 3-3.
Catcher R.J. Ybarra entered the game tied for the Sun Devil lead with eight hits and added two more to bring his season total to 10. His two-RBI single in the fifth gave Arizona State its first lead of the game at 5-3.
The Sun Devils tacked on four runs in the fifth on a two-RBI single from shortstop Drew Stankiewicz, an error by Santa Clara that allowed an additional run to score and a sacrifice fly by right fielder Trever Allen for a 9-3 advantage. Stankiewicz led all batters with three hits on the evening.
Trailing by six in the eighth, the Broncos scored their fourth run of the game when first baseman Mac Hess reached on an error and Harisis came in to score. One batter later, Looney picked up his second RBI of the night on a sacrifice fly to score pinch hitter T.J. Braff and pull the Broncos within four. Later in the inning, Seaver Whalen represented the game-tying run as a pinch hitter with bases loaded, and flew out to left for the final out of the eighth.
Kevin George threw a scoreless seventh with one strikeout in relief for the Broncos and Evan Brisentine struck out one in a scoreless eighth. Left fielder Casey Munoz led off the ninth with a double and scored Santa Clara's final run of the game on an RBI groundout by pinch hitter Luke Huerta. Harisis led the Broncos with two hits and Looney posted a team-high two RBIs in the loss.
Game Notes: First pitch was at 5:02 p.m. MST (4:02 p.m. PST) … time of game was 2:44.