SANTA CLARA, Calif. – On Saturday afternoon, Santa Clara baseball topped LMU by a final of 10-2 at Schott Stadium. The Broncos recorded season highs with three triples and three home runs — two of which came from Stevie Berman — and scored eight runs in the last four innings of the victory.
The Broncos are now 18-24 overall and 9-8 in WCC play while the Lions are now 25-18 overall and 13-7 in conference play. Santa Clara returns to the field tomorrow, Sun., April 27 at 1 p.m. vs. LMU in the series finale.
Peter Hendron (W, 5-3) started for Santa Clara and picked up the win in 7.0 innings. The sophomore allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts. He faced the minimum in the first, second and sixth innings and held the Lions to 1-8 with runners in scoring position.
"Pete's a model of consistency, the same guy every day in practice and every start on the mound," head coach Dan O'Brien said. "That's everything we're asking from each guy on this ball club and Pete leads by example every day. The kid's a stud."
Berman was 3-3 with a pair of home runs, two walks, and four runs scored to lead the offense. Greg Harisis was 3-4 with a run scored and two RBI, Zach Looney notched three hits along with an RBI and Quinton Perry was 1-2 with a two-run home run and a walk.
"Our offense once again did a great job of consistently setting the table," O'Brien said. "When you do that, good things are going to happen. We didn't swing it well early, but the boys made great mid-game adjustments, which says a lot about their development as an offense. I'm excited to see them continue to grow."
Patrick McGrath (L, 5-2) started for LMU and picked up a loss in 5.0+ innings. McGrath allowed three runs on six hits with two strikeouts. David Fletcher was 2-4 with a double and an RBI to lead the offense. Ted Boeke was 2-3 with a run scored while Austin Miller was 1-4 with an RBI.
With two down in the bottom of the first Berman blasted a home run to left field to give Santa Clara the early 1-0 lead.
"Stevie is one of those players that rises to the occasion," O'Brien said. "You always hear that big-time players play big in big games; Stevie is one of those guys. Watching him develop into an outstanding all-around college ballplayer has been very rewarding this year."
The Broncos nearly scored again in the bottom of the second after T.J. Braff led off by reaching on an error and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Perry flied out to right but it was deep enough to move Braff to third. Zach Looney grounded out to third and Braff was gunned down at home to end the frame.
In the bottom of the fourth, Berman crushed his second home run of the day to give the Broncos a 2-0 lead.
"I was just looking for a pitch I could drive and handle," Berman said. "In the first situation ... I was looking for a ball up. In the second one, I just got a good pitch to hit."
An error started things for LMU in the top of the fifth and Boeke singled to right to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch put both runners in scoring position and a ground out by Miller brought in a run. Fletcher followed with an RBI double that tied the game. Fletcher moved to third with one out on a wild pitch and was cut down at home on a grounder and the inning ended with the score at 2-2.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the fifth, Harisis was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jose Vizcaino, Jr. hit into a 4-6-3 double play that ended the inning with the score still tied.
Berman led off the home half of the sixth with a low line drive that hit McGrath in the leg, resulting in a single. The LMU starter left the game due to injury and Tim Peabody came in for the Lions. After the next two batters hit deep fly balls to left center for outs, Perry blasted one over the wall in left to put Santa Clara back on top 4-2. A triple by Looney ended the day for Peabody who was replaced by Tyler Cohen, but the inning ended without Looney scoring.
"Coach [Beauregard] and coach Riley get us in a good hitting position," Berman said. "They give us good scouting reports on each pitcher we're seeing and put us in the best situation. They each work with all of us individually and that really helps and pays off."
After one out in the bottom of the seventh, Harisis singled up the middle and Vizcaino tripled him home. Berman was intentionally walked in front of Casey Munoz. After being intentionally walked, Berman swiped second and the throw back home flew over the catcher to allow another run to score and Berman to move to third. Munoz made it 7-2 Santa Clara with a sac fly to center.
Perry led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk and pinch runner Rory Graf-Brennen stole second. Looney singled to center to make the score 8-2 Broncos. Three batters later, Harisis tripled in two more runs and the inning ended with the score 10-2.
"We put together good ABs — Looney especially — he just worked the count, worked his ABs, got a good pitch to hit and drove it," Berman said.
Pinch-hitter Trent Hammond doubled on a bloop down the right field line with one out in the top of the ninth against Jason Seever. The freshman recovered to retire the next two batters and end the game.
Game Notes: Attendance was 401 … first pitch was at 3:04 … game time was 2:47.