Santa Clara Splits Doubleheader with Pacific, Cortopassi’s Ninth-Inning RBI Single Lifts Broncos in Game Two

STOCKTON, Calif. — After Saturday's contest between the Santa Clara Broncos and Pacific Tigers was rained out, the teams played a twin billing Sunday at Klein Family Field. The Tigers won 7-0 in game one and the Broncos rallied to beat the Tigers 7-6 and take the series two games to one. Santa Clara improved to 11-17 (2-4 WCC) while Pacific fell to 12-17 (4-5 WCC).

"We weren't grinding early, but found a way to turn a tough start into a great day," head coach Dan O'Brien said. "This ballclub is learning how to win, and I'm proud of who they're becoming as a team."

Game One

Pacific scored multiple runs in three innings and got a complete game shutout effort from sophomore starting pitcher Jake Jenkins in a 7-0 win. Jenkins (W, 2-2) allowed five hits and walked one with six strikeouts against the Broncos. Santa Clara sophomore starter Peter Hendron (L, 2-3) threw 6.1 innings and allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

Santa Clara picked up hits from freshman catcher Stevie Berman, senior designated hitter Quinton Perry and sophomore shortstop Jose Vizcaino, Jr. in the first two innings. Jenkins held the Broncos hitless until the eighth, when Vizcaino, Jr. recorded one of his team best two hits to lead off the inning. 

Sophomore left fielder Gio Brusa singled to put Pacific on the board in the third and scored on a wild pitch to put the hosts ahead 2-0. The Tigers added two runs in the sixth on sophomore catcher J.P. Yakel's RBI single and a Broncos error to make the score 4-0. Yakel added two more RBIs on a single in the seventh and senior first baseman Erik Lockwood drove in Pacific's seventh run of the game on an RBI groundout later that inning.

Game Two

The Tigers opened the scoring four batters into their half of the first on Yakel's RBI single. They added two in the second on a two-RBI single by junior second baseman Jimmy Gosano and one in the fourth on Gosano's homer to left to make the score 4-0 against Bronco starting pitcher Steven Wilson. The redshirt freshman threw 4.0 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts.

After being outscored 11-0 in the first 13 innings Sunday, the Broncos got on the board in the fifth with Perry's second home run of the week — a three-run shot to left field — to make the score 4-3. He accounted for all three Santa Clara runs (two earned) against Tiger freshman starter Will Lydon, who threw 5.0 innings and allowed four hits and six walks against five strikeouts.

"Perry stepped up big time today, and really sparked the rest of the offense," O'Brien said. "I'm excited for him to catch fire for the second half of his senior year."

"I think we had great at bats all day," sophomore third baseman Kyle Cortopassi said. "That one big home run swung the momentum and we had a lot more confidence and wanted to go out and win that game."

Vizcaino, Jr. gave Santa Clara its first lead of the day with a two-RBI double down the left field line as part of three consecutive Bronco hits to start the seventh. One batter later, Cortopassi hit an RBI sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 6-4.

"I was just looking for my pitch; I wanted to put a good swing on that pitch and drive the ball up the middle," Cortopassi said. 

Freshman pinch hitter McKay Koissian's RBI groundout and Gosano's RBI single helped the Tigers pull even at 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh. In the eighth, sophomore Reece Karalus (W, 2-1) entered a tie game with one out and a runner on first. Freshman catcher Stevie Berman threw out Sophomore shortstop Brett Sullivan trying to steal second, and Karalus struck out Yakel to end the inning.

In the top of the ninth, the Broncos recorded four straight singles against freshman relief pitcher Vince Arobio (L, 0-1). The last of those hits was an RBI single to left by Cortopassi to score freshman pinch runner Tyler Meditz for the game-winning run.

"He threw me a fastball outside for the first pitch and then he came back with a fastball on the inner half that caught too much plate and I took a good swing on it," Cortopassi said.

Karalus recorded three consecutive outs after a leadoff single in the ninth to close out the win. He recorded the last two outs with freshman pitcher Jimmy Boras in scoring position.

"Reece really thrives in that role because he's a true competitor and a winner," O'Brien said. "I can't say enough about what he's been doing as our closer and how he's embraced that role for this team.

Perry led the Broncos with three hits and three RBIs in the victory, while Vizcaino, Jr. and Cortopassi each recorded two hits and two RBIs. Senior first baseman Mac Hess went 2-for-5 with two runs scored.

"It was awesome to have [friends and family] there, knowing a bunch of guys on the other team and being able to compete with my team and get a nice win," the Stockton native Cortopassi said.

The Broncos return to action Fri., March 4 for a 6 p.m. first pitch against the Portland Pilots at Schott Stadium. The Broncos and Pilots will also play March 5 at 3 p.m. and March 6 at 1 p.m.

Doubleheader Notes: First pitch of game one was at 1:05 p.m. … time of game was 2:13 … first pitch of game two was at 4:09 p.m. … time of game was 3:21 … Santa Clara is 2-2 in doubleheader games this season … the Broncos have won the nightcap of both doubleheaders in 2014.