March 21, 2014

Zapata’s Complete Game not Enough as Baseball Falls to Pepperdine 1-0

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — In the first of 27 West Coast Conference games in the 2014 season, the Santa Clara Broncos lost to the Pepperdine Waves 1-0 Friday night at Stephen Schott Stadium. Senior D.J. Zapata turned in his second complete game outing of the season, giving up just one earned run on the evening.

"That was just a great ballgame. Both teams played really well," head coach Dan O'Brien said. "We made a couple of mistakes that cost us, but that's conference baseball right there. That was a great day at the yard, even though we lost."

Zapata (L, 1-4) threw three 1-2-3 innings and faced four batters or less in six of his nine innings overall. He allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out three for the Broncos (9-12, 0-1 WCC). Corey Miller (W, 4-1) gave up four hits and struck out seven in 8.0 innings for the Waves (15-6, 2-2 WCC).

"[Zapata] was attacking hitters, that's the first thing," O'Brien said. "He was very tentative and passive in his last outing. He completely changed his outing. He went right after guys, he threw a ton of first pitch strikes and was ahead of hitters all night. So that's what I'm most proud of; he saw what he needed to change and he made the adjustment."

The Oceanside, Calif. native held the Waves to 2-for-12 with runners on base and 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Santa Clara's defense backed up Zapata with its third consecutive error-free game, and has not committed an error in its last 29.2 innings. The Broncos also made no errors in Zapata's complete game victory Feb. 20 against Notre Dame at the Irish Baseball Classic.

"Like in every other aspect of our team, we're striving for consistency," O'Brien said. "That's how D.J. pitched when he beat Notre Dame several weeks ago. He was relaxed on the mound and he was attacking hitters. Now, he needs to go out and do it again. For being so new at being a starter, I can't say enough about that start right there."

Pepperdine scored the only run of the game in the third inning with a two-out rally. Sophomore second baseman Hutton Moyer hit a double to left and was driven in on a single to right by junior third baseman Austin Davidson.

Santa Clara put a pair of runners aboard in the fourth inning on singles from center fielder Kert Woods and senior left fielder Casey Munoz. Woods stole second with two outs and Munoz's single moved the sophomore to third base. Sophomore shortstop Jose Vizcaino, Jr. recorded two of the four Bronco hits with a leadoff single in the third and a one-out single in the eighth.

Freshman catcher Stevie Berman hit a deep fly ball that was caught just shy of the warning track for the final out of the game against Pepperdine's Eric Karch (SV, 6). Karch threw a perfect ninth as the only relief pitcher of the night for his sixth save of the season.

The Broncos and Waves play the second of a three-game set tomorrow, with first pitch at 3 p.m. from Schott Stadium. Santa Clara's Peter Hendron (2-1, 3.00 ERA) is scheduled to face Pepperdine's Jackson McClelland (2-1, 4.78 ERA). 

Game Notes: First pitch was at 6:02 p.m. … time of game was 2:03 … Friday's game was the shortest game of the season by eight minutes … attendance was 307 … Jose Vizcaino, Jr. was involved in five of Santa Clara's first seven outs defensively … the Broncos have lost six consecutive games to the Waves … the last 1-0 game Santa Clara played was in a victory at Saint Mary's on April 16, 2011.