UPDATED WITH QUOTES AND VIDEO: Munoz’s Walkoff Hit Lifts Broncos to 9-8 Win over Pacific
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Santa Clara Broncos recorded their second walkoff win at Stephen Schott Stadium this season with a 9-8 victory over the Pacific Tigers Saturday night. Trailing 8-7 heading into the ninth inning, Santa Clara tied the game on a one-out, RBI double from senior designated hitter Peter Summerville. With senior pitcher Kenny Treadwell sent in to pinch run for Summerville, Bronco head coach Dan O'Brien called Casey Munoz's number to pinch hit.
"That was an easy call; Munoz is clutch and always has been" O'Brien said. "Everyone in our dugout knew that ball was going to be crushed."
The senior from San Diego delivered with an RBI single up the middle to win a back-and-forth contest in walkoff fashion.
"I was just looking for a pitch up that I could get elevated," Munoz said. "He threw a slider and I just tried to punch it back up the middle and score a run."
"To most, this was just a good come from behind win. But for those who've been watching this program closely, and for the ballplayers in our clubhouse,this win was huge," O'Brien said. "I might have called them boys two days ago, but tonight they played like men."
Sophomore Peter Hendron made his fourth start of the season for the Broncos (7-9) and recorded a line of 5.2 innings, seven runs (four earned) on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Tiger sophomore starter Jake Jenkins threw five innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Pacific junior right fielder Taylor Murphy hit an RBI single that fell just in front of the diving sophomore right fielder Kert Woods to open the scoring in the first. The Tigers (8-10) scored their second run of the inning when senior first baseman Erik Lockwood reached on an error and sophomore shortstop Brett Sullivan crossed home plate.
RBI singles by senior second baseman Zach Looney and senior first baseman Mac Hess knotted the game up at two runs apiece in the Santa Clara first. The Broncos took a 3-2 lead on an RBI sacrifice fly to center by senior designated hitter Peter Summerville.
After three scoreless innings, Pacific retook the lead 4-3 on a passed ball and a two-out, RBI infield single by Murphy. As they did in the first, the Broncos answered back in the bottom half on a two-out, RBI double to left by freshman catcher Stevie Berman to tie the game at 4-4.
The Tigers followed a two-run fifth with a three-run sixth on sophomore J.P. Yakel's two-out, two-RBI triple to right center and sophomore left fielder Gio Brusa's RBI single up the middle. In the bottom half of the inning, Woods stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and was hit by a pitch before Looney drove in two runs on a single up the middle to tie the game at seven. Looney led the Broncos with three RBIs, and was one of three Santa Clara batters to record multiple hits alongside Berman and Hess.
Sophomore third baseman J.J. Wagner grounded into a double play that scored a run to put the Tigers ahead 8-7 in the top of the seventh, the fifth consecutive half inning to feature a run scored.
"They came out and scored runs early, and we punched right back," Munoz said. "It was exciting because they'd come up and we'd punch right back and score. It was a crazy game and a lot of fun."
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Reece Karalus (W, 1-1) struck out the side in the top of the eighth. The Tigers put their first two runners aboard in the ninth, and Karalus issued a strikeout before getting Lockwood to line into a double play and keep the Broncos within one run. Karalus earned his first collegiate win while Pacific's Michael Benson (L, 0-2) took the loss in 3.1 innings of extended relief.
"It has been a rough 48 hours in our clubhouse, but that gutsy win made every second worth it," O'Brien said. "For reasons that are impossible to explain, that was a huge win for our ballclub and for our journey in rebuilding Bronco baseball."
Santa Clara plays the final game of the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament tomorrow at 11 a.m. against the Washington Huskies. The game was changed from its original start time of 12 p.m. Daylight savings time takes effect Sunday morning at 2 a.m., so remember to set your clocks one our forward before going to bed tonight.
GAME NOTES: First pitch was at 6:05 p.m. … time of game was 3:05 … attendance was 312.