SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara baseball jumped on Loyola Marymount with a four-run second inning and Steven Wilson tossed 7.0 shutout frames as the Broncos won the West Coast Conference series opener 9-1 Friday night at Schott Stadium. Tyler Meditz homered twice and John Cresto added a pair of triples in Santa Clara's biggest Friday night win of the season.
The Broncos (19-20, 6-10 WCC) beat the Lions (22-21, 10-9 WCC) to pick up their first Friday victory since March 18 in the WCC opener against San Francisco.
Wilson (W, 4-3) matched a season-best effort with eight strikeouts and gave up three hits and two walks on 109 pitches. After a two-out walk to Jamey Smart in the first, Wilson allowed only one of the next 21 Lions to reach base safely; he pitched three 1-2-3 innings during that span.
The Littleton, Colo. native got out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning and left a pair of runners in scoring position in the seventh. He surrendered just one hit in the first six innings of his first Friday night start this season.
"Steven was dominant tonight, to nobody's surprise," Bronco head coach Dan O'Brien said. "He has become a model of consistency, and that's exactly what this ballclub needs out of its leaders. Bottom line — the guy is a winner — he proves it every outing."
Meditz hit a two-out homer in the third to break up a string of five straight batters retired by LMU reliever Tyler Cohen and make the score 5-0. He added a leadoff homer in the sixth for the sixth Bronco run of the night — both long balls cleared the batting cages past the left field wall.
Cresto put the Broncos on the board with a two-run triple in the second, and scored on the same play when Lion second baseman Phil Caulfield's relay throw got out of play. Santa Clara had its first five batters reach in the second against Lion starter Cory Abbott (L, 5-4), who allowed four earned runs on four hits in 1.0+ inning.
"What's most exciting about Tyler and John is that they're just scratching the surface in terms of their ability," O'Brien said. "The two of them are special in so many ways and it's exciting to think of the ballplayers and young men they will ultimately grow into."
Cresto tripled again in the sixth, and was driven in on an RBI single from Braden Frankfort to make the score 7-0 Broncos. Santa Clara tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth, including an RBI from Kert Woods, and Travis Howard came out of the bullpen to pitch the last two innings of the win.
Meditz went 2-for-2 with two home runs, two RBIs, three runs scored and two walks. Cresto tallied two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Frankfort and Woods each added two hits in the victory. Niko Decolati drove in the only run of the game for the Lions, who scattered five hits among five different batters.
The Broncos and Lions meet for Game 2 of the series Saturday night at 6 p.m. Jason Seever (5-1, 3.61 ERA) will make the start for the Broncos against Blake Redman (5-4, 3.31 ERA).
GAME NOTES: First pitch was at 6:02 p.m. … time of the game was 3:10 … attendance was 391.
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