Santa Clara Baseball-Opener Goes to Nevada 4-2

Feb. 19, 2010

Final Stats |  Action Photos 

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara pitchers struck out 13 and Curtis Wagner went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer but the Broncos dropped their season-opener, 4-2, to the University of Nevada Friday night under the lights of Stephen Schott Stadium.

Wagner's homer was the only RBI hit allowed by a trio of Nevada (1-0) pitchers. Despite just two strikeouts by Bronco hitters - compared to Nevada's 13 - the Wolf Pack escaped with the win. Santa Clara (0-1) had five hits, three coming from Wagner who drove a 1-0 pitch over the rightfield fence to cut an early four-run deficit in half.

"The game of baseball is funny sometimes," said Santa Clara head coach Mark O'Brien. "We only struck out twice, they struck out 13 times. Typically that kind of game goes the other way."

SCU senior starter Nate Garcia (0-1) was one strike away from getting through five innings and allowing just two runs, but Brian Barnett came up with a clutch two-out hit that plated two more Nevada runs to put the visitors up 4-0.

"I felt good, I just had a few mistakes I need to fix," said Garcia. "I have to get the fastball down and not give up so much of the plate with my breaking ball."

Garcia would work into the sixth, striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs. Garcia, Steve Kalush and Paul Twining combined to fan 13 Nevada batters, punching-out six looking.

In the meantime, the Bronco offense had trouble generating any serious scoring threats against Nevada. Scattering five hits through five innings, Beau Witsoe (1-0) was throwing a shutout until Wagner's two-run shot in the sixth.

"We had trouble stringing hits together tonight," said O'Brien. "We have four new guys in our lineup and some of our veteran players like Tommy (Medica) will get theirs, it just didn't happen tonight."

Jayson McClaren and Tyler Graham combined to throw four complete innings of hitless baseball for Nevada following Witsoe's departure in the sixth. Graham got the save.

The three-game series resumes Saturday at Stephen Schott Stadium. First pitch Saturday and Sunday is set for 1 p.m. both days.