Feb. 1, 2004
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team concluded its season-opening three-game series at UC Riverside with a convincing 12-6 win Sunday afternoon at the Riverside Sports Complex. The win improves the Broncos' record to 2-1 while dropping the 34th-ranked Highlanders to 1-2.
SCU got things going right away, scoring four runs in each of the first two innings for an 8-0 lead after two full frames. Transfer Nic Crosta provided the big blow in the first inning with an opposite field three-run home run.
Three triples highlighted the Bronco half of the second inning as Nathan Faulkner, Will Thompson and Crosta each belted three-baggers. Thompson's hit scored two while Faulkner and Crosta's each brought home a run apiece.
Santa Clara added another run in the third as Eric Newton led off the inning with a single up the middle before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Matt McColgan. Michael Lange brought Newton home for a 9-0 lead with his single down the left field line.
UC Riverside got on the board in the bottom half of the third after Aaron Grant reached on a one-out error by Crosta and moved to third on a wild pitch by Santa Clara starter Jared Hughes. Grant came home on the next at bat as Scott Powis singled up the middle, cutting the SCU lead down to 9-1.
The Broncos continued their hot hitting in the fourth inning as Will Thompson singled through the right side with two outs and advanced to second on a balk. He came home on the next batter as Crosta picked up his third hit and fifth RBI of the day with a single through the right side, giving SCU a 10-1 lead.
The Highlanders scored their second run in the bottom of the fifth inning as Brett Bigler singled to left center and then scored on three consecutive wild pitches from Hughes. Matt Cunningham cut the SCU lead down to 10-3 with a single through the right side, scoring Powis who reached two batters earlier on a walk.
Scott Lonergan came on in relief for Hughes with two outs in the fifth inning and promptly quelled the UCR rally by getting Jason Collette to line out to second base for the third out.
Santa Clara got back the two runs they gave up in the fifth with a Will Thompson two-run home run in the top of the sixth. His big fly knocked in Michael Thompson, who reached one batter earlier when he was hit by a pitch, giving SCU a 12-3 lead.
UC Riverside scored three runs, only two of which were earned, on no hits in the eighth inning as two batters were hit by a pitch to go along with two walks and a error in right field allowed the Bronco lead to be cut down to 12-6 entering the ninth inning.
Hughes looked good in his collegiate debut for the Broncos, allowing only two earned runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings of work. Lonergan threw the next 2 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on only two hits as one walk and two hit batsmen led to the three UCR runs in the eighth inning.
Anthony Rea got the final two outs in the eighth inning before giving way to Kellan McConnell who secured the SCU victory in the ninth by recording three straight outs, two of which were by strikeouts.
Santa Clara returns to action on Monday and Tuesday, February 9 and 10 as it hosts BYU in a brief two-game series at Buck Shaw Stadium. Monday's home opener is slated for a 6 p.m. first pitch while Tuesday's game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.