SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball could not provide senior right-handed pitcher Jacob Steffens the run support he needed on Friday night against Creighton. In the opening game of the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament for Santa Clara, the Broncos were just 1-14 with runners on base and fell 3-1 to the Bluejays who scored in the eight and the ninth innings to secure the win.
Steffens, in his second start of the season, threw another gem for the Broncos, going 7.1 innings, allowing five hits, two runs (one earned) and struck out nine batters but ultimately was charged with the loss.
"Jake (Steffens) was outstanding once again," head coach Dan O'Brien said. "He's an ace in every way. He'll always give us a chance to win and this team will reward him for that very soon. We need to clean some things up but this team is competing hard and very close to finding consistent success."
The Bluejays (1-3) led after the first until SCU (1-3) tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. Creighton then regained the lead in the top of the eighth when Bryce Only led off the inning with a double to left field. Brennan Hammer then singled to right center to drive him home. The Bluejays picked up an insurance run in the top of the ninth via a solo home run to left field by Michael Emodi on freshman Bryson Spagnuolo.
Creighton never trailed in the game after scoring an unearned run in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Ben Reznicek reached base after being hit by a pitch. Isaac Collins then singled and Reznicek advanced to second. He then moved to third base on a passed ball and was driven home by Thomas Luevano.
The Broncos had their chances against Rollie Lacy of Creighton but were missing timely hitting. They had a runner on second in each of the first three innings but were unable to capitalize, ending the game 0-10 at the plate with runners in scoring position. The lone run of the game for SCU came off the bat of sophomore third baseman John Cresto who continued his hot streak at the plate. He went 2-4 on the day with a double and a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game up.
"John (Cresto) is staying within himself, keeping the game simple and trusting his ability," O'Brien said. "His maturation in those areas has been outstanding."
TIE GAME!!!! Cresto homers to deep left-center field to tie it up.— Santa Clara Baseball (@SCU_Baseball) February 25, 2017
SCU 1-1 CREI#StampedeTogether
Lacy earned the win, going 7.0 innings and striking out eight batters while allowing five hits, one walk and one earned run. David Gerber picked up the save for Creighton. Gerber entered in the ninth and allowed a leadoff double to Cresto who then advanced to third on an error by the right fielder. He then forced a groundout to third base and struck out the next two batters to end the game.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Brandon Buckley relieved Steffens in the top of the eighth inning and inherited a runner on third base with one out. Buckley struck out Reznicek swinging and Collins looking to end the inning. He has now thrown 4.2 innings in relief on the year, allowing three hits, one walk and zero runs while striking out 10 hitters.
Up Next: Santa Clara resumes play in the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT against Saint Louis.
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