Feb. 4, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team scored the winning run in the eighth inning as it claimed a 5-4 victory over Utah in the series opener at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos improve to 2-2 on the season, while the Utes drop their season opener.
After Utah tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the eighth inning, the Broncos returned the favor in the bottom of the frame to take the game's final lead. A lead-off double from catcher Kris Watts started the rally. He would move to third base on a sacrifice bunt from Dustin Realini and put the winning run only 90 feet away with one out. Jason Matteucci would follow and reach on a fielder's choice. However, Utah shortstop Ryan Khoury chose to throw home to catch Watts, but an errand throw would allow the runner to score the go ahead run.
The Broncos had taken an early lead in the contest, posting a run in the bottom of the first inning. Lead-off hitter Ryan Chiarelli reached base on a single up the middle to jump start the Bronco offense. He would steal second after a Bronco out and move to third on a wild pitch. After Robert Perry was issued a walk, Nic Crosta drove Chiarelli in with a sacrifice fly.
Utah scored two runs in the top of the second inning to end the short lived Bronco lead. However, two Bronco runs in the bottom of the fifth once again gave Santa Clara the advantage. Back-to-back doubles from Matteucci and Michael Thompson would start the inning and drive in the tying run. Thompson would then go to third on a sacrifice hit from Kevin Drever and later score on a sacrifice fly from Chiarelli. After five innings, the Broncos led 3-2.
In the seventh inning, both teams posted a run on the board as the Broncos managed to hold onto their lead. Thompson scored the Bronco run on another sacrifice fly, this time from Perry. Thompson reached base with a single, his third consecutive hit of the contest.
Thompson was the Bronco's offensive leader on the night, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and a RBI. Watts added two hits, while Chiarelli, Crosta, Perry and Matteucci drove in the remainder of the Santa Clara runs.
Senior Anthony Rea earned his first win of the season as he pitched the final two innings. He struck out four batters, including all three outs of the ninth.
Fellow senior Kellan McConnell started the game on the mound for Santa Clara. He threw 5.1 innings and allowed only two runs on six hits. He also struck out four batters.
The teams will meet again on Saturday for the second game of the series. The contest will begin at 1 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium. Sophomore Patrick Overholt is the schedules starter for Santa Clara.