March 14, 2014

Bronco Baseball Erases Four-Run Deficit, Defeats Penn State 10-5

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Santa Clara Broncos overcame a five-run Penn State fifth with nine unanswered runs in three innings to win 10-5 Friday night at Schott Stadium. Four Broncos picked up multiple hits on the night, and four of the team's nine hits overall went for extra bases, including a triple and a home run by senior center fielder Greg Harisis.

"I'm proud of how we competed tonight, especially in the face of adversity," head coach Dan O'Brien said. "We weren't playing well at all, and then got punched in the face. Our guys punched right back, and then kept punching. That showed some character."

Santa Clara sent Steven Wilson to the mound for his fifth start of the season Friday night. The redshirt freshman threw 4.1 innings and allowed five earned runs on seven hits with five walks and one strikeout. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the first and allowed no runs to the Nittany Lions (5-11) after they put runners on first and second with one out in the second, no outs in the third, and two outs in the fourth.

Penn State redshirt junior starter T.J. Jann (L, 0-4) threw 5.2 innings and allowed six runs (two earned) on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.Freshman Jason Seever (W, 1-1) picked up his first collegiate win for the Broncos (8-11) in 3.0 relief innings, allowing just one hit with three strikeouts.

"Seever sneaks up on guys," O'Brien said. "He's the guy hitters don't see coming because it doesn't look like much warming up. That's why he's so effective. He threw a great ball game tonight and deserves the win."

In the top of the second, Penn State senior right fielder Zach Ell singed up the middle, and junior first baseman J.J. White was thrown out trying to score from second by Harisis. The Broncos played error-free baseball for the second time this season in the victory.

"We've been playing great defense all fall and we got away from it early in the season," Harisis said. "We worked hard on it all week. We know we're a good defensive team and tonight we went out and showed that."

With two outs in the second, Zach Looney struck out swinging and reached first on a dropped third strike and throwing error by Nittany Lion senior catcher Alex Farkes. Freshman catcher Stevie Berman scored from second on the error to put the Broncos ahead 1-0.

After leaving two runners on base in the second through fourth innings, Penn State broke through in the fifth on White's three-run homer down the left field line to make the score 3-1. The Broncos brought the infield in with one out and runners on second and third, when sophomore third baseman Kyle Cortopassi made a diving catch on a line drive off the bat of senior right fielder Zach Ell. Freshman shortstop Jim Haley hit a two-out, two RBI single up the middle for Penn State's fourth and fifth runs of the inning.

Cortopassi hit a two-out, RBI single up the middle to score senior second baseman Zach Looney and make the score 5-2 in the fifth. Harisis followed with a two-run homer — his team-high third of the season — that hit off the top of the batting cages past the left field fence.

"They were throwing me inside a lot, and I was trying to do too much with it, so I just told myself to relax a little bit, take a little off," Harisis said. "[Jann] ended up missing with one and I hit it pretty well."

One inning later, the Broncos made it five unanswered runs on sophomore shortstop Jose Vizcaino, Jr.'s two-out, two-RBI single through the diving efforts of Haley and sophomore third baseman Tyler Kendall. Cortopassi and Harisis hit consecutive triples to start the seventh inning, which put the Broncos up 7-5. Santa Clara added three more runs on senior first baseman Mac Hess's RBI sacrifice bunt, senior left fielder Casey Munoz's RBI single and sophomore right fielder Kert Woods scoring on an error.

"Our guys made a great mid game adjustment offensively," O'Brien said. "It's big when one or two guys do that, but guys were doing that up-and-down the lineup tonight. They picked up our pitching staff big time."

"We were chasing the ball up a little bit and getting away from what we like to do as an offense, and we just talked about getting back to what we do best and stating making them throw to us," Harisis said. "That's when we started scoring runs."

Santa Clara and Penn State wrap up the three-game set tomorrow with a 12 p.m. first pitch from Schott Stadium. Peter Hendron (2-1. 2.39 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Broncos against Patton Taylor (1-0, 5.59 ERA).

Game Notes: First pitch was at 6:02 p.m. … time of game was 3:12 … attendance was 280… Penn State used the same batting order and defensive alignment as Thursday's game ... Chris Heckert faced one batter in the sixth … Mac Hess had a team-best eight-game hitting streak snapped in the win.