Woods’ Game-Ending Outfield Assist Seals 6-5 Extra-Inning Win for Broncos
SPOKANE, Wash. — Santa Clara baseball jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the fifth of Friday night's game at Washington Trust Field and scored one run in the 10th to defeat the Gonzaga Bulldogs 6-5. Freshman second baseman Kyle Czaplak scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch and sophomore Kert Woods made a game-ending outfield assist from left to seal the 10-inning win.
With the victory, the Broncos snapped a nine-game conference losing streak against the Bulldogs.
Starting pitcher D.J. Zapata threw 4.1 innings and allowed three earned runs on 11 hits with one walk and two strikeouts for the Broncos (14-19, 5-5 WCC). Gonzaga starting pitcher Taylor Jones threw 5.0 innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Each starter finished the game with a no decision, and Reece Karalus (W, 3-1) picked up his third win of the season with 2.0 innings of relief.
The Bulldogs (10-22, 6-7 WCC) and Broncos each left five baserunners on through three scoreless innings to start the game. Santa Clara opened the scoring with a two-RBI double by Woods in the fourth, and Gonzaga junior shortstop Mitch Gunsolus hit an RBI double to make the score 2-1 in the home half of the inning.
"We got together as a team and realized [Jones] was throwing first pitch fastballs quite a bit," Woods said. "What we tried to do was jump on fastballs early the second time through the lineup, which helped us."
Santa Clara opened up a 5-1 advantage in the fifth after sophomore shortstop Jose Vizcaino, Jr. hit an RBI triple followed by RBI singles from junior first baseman T.J. Braff and Woods. The Bulldogs added two runs in the bottom half of the inning on RBI singles from junior first baseman Cory LeBrun and sophomore third baseman Cabe Reiten to pull within two runs at 5-3. Reiten's seventh-inning RBI sacrifice fly cut the Bronco lead to 5-4 in the seventh.
Karalus retired the first two batters he faced in the ninth before allowing three consecutive Bulldogs to reach. The second of those batters was Reiten, who hit an RBI double that landed just out of the reach of the diving right fielder Tyler Meditz to tie the game up.
In the top of the 10th, Czaplak reached on an error, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Woods and advanced to third on a groundout from sophomore third baseman Kyle Cortopassi. Gonzaga junior reliever David Bigelow (L, 0-1) delivered a wild pitch to Stevie Berman, allowing Czaplak to score from third and give the Broncos a 6-5 lead. Berman fouled off a pair of pitches on a 3-2 count to stay alive in his two-out at bat before looking at the wild pitch for ball four.
"The way Reece has been throwing, we thought we were going to win it [in the ninth]," Woods said. "We bounced back and took advantage of some unfortunate plays for them to make some things happen. Czaplak getting on made my job easy; I just had to get him over. Scoring a run that inning was huge for us and it was a great team win."
Gonzaga sparked a two-out rally in the 10th when senior right fielder Payden Lamb recorded his game-best fourth hit, a double down the left field line. Two batters later, freshman center fielder Sam Brown singled to left, and Woods threw out Lamb trying to score from second for the final out of the game. The Bronco sophomore moved from right field to left field as part of defensive changes in the ninth.
"I knew he was one of their faster guys and that they'd probably be sending him," Woods said. "The grass was pretty slick so I was anticipating one hop and it skipped up to me. Once I threw that, I kind of had the feeling he was gone."
Woods — who has reached safely in 11 straight games — also led the Broncos with three RBIs, and tied for a team-best two hits alongside Vizcaino, Jr. and Braff.
The Broncos and Bulldogs play the second of a three-game series Saturday night at Washington Trust Field. Santa Clara's Peter Hendron (3-3, 3.99 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound against Gonzaga's Brandon Bailey (2-5, 4.05 ERA).
Game Notes: Attendance was 1,115 … first pitch was at 6:07 p.m. … time of game was 3:40 … Mac Hess left the game in the fourth after being hit in the head with a pitch.