Feb. 21, 2009
RALEIGH, N.C. - The Santa Clara baseball team improved to 2-0 on Saturday with a dominating 10-1 win over the University of Rhode Island at the first annual Summit Hospitality Invitational hosted by NC State. The Broncos had three players with multi-hit and multi-RBI performances.
"URI was a big threat," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "They had the chance to go up three or four runs on us. It was a tight game for a quite some time. But Thain did a great job keeping his poise and making quality pitches. Our infield defense was also crucial for us. Curtis [Wagner] also had a tremendous double-play for us. In the sixth and the seventh we were just able to keep adding to our lead. We had good plate discipline and solid two-strike hitting."
Senior Matt Long led the Broncos with three RBIs. He went 4-for-6 at bat and scored two runs. Fellow senior Brady Fuerst and sophomore Curtis Wagner drove in two runs each, while senior Kyle Van Dusen and freshman Lucas Herbst scored two runs each.
"More than Matt having three RBIs, he had 3 two-strike hits for us," said O'Brien. "When Matt can two-strike hit, he is really dangerous for us."
On the mound, sophomore Thain Simon earned his first win of the season after six innings of work. He struck out four batters and allowed one unearned run. Sophomore Joe Supple relieved Simon in the seventh inning and struck out three Rams. Redshirt freshman Jason Westerberg saw his first bit of collegiate action as he tossed the ninth inning, striking out two of four batters faced.
SCU started things off in the top of the second inning as junior Jon Karcich and Fuerst scored. Karcich began the inning with a single to left field and Fuerst followed with a double through the left side. Despite grounding out second, Wagner helped bring home Karcich for the first run of the game. Van Dusen drove home Fuerst with a sacrifice fly ball to right field.
The Rams responded in their half of the third with the lone run of the game. Milan Adams singled to left field and then advanced to third on an error in right field from Herbst. Adams scored as Kenny Burns grounded out to Karcich. The run was unearned and URI trailed by just one run, 2-1.
Both teams were kept quiet until the sixth inning when the Broncos exploded with four runs off of just two hits. Van Dusen led off the inning with a walk and then advanced to second on a bunt from Herbst. The duo continued to move around the horn after a passed ball. Senior Juan Parra then loaded the bases as he was walked. With a Long single through the right side, Van Dusen scored and the bases remained loaded.
Santa Clara made it a 4-1 game as Herbst scored on a wild pitch. Back-to-back Broncos walked to load the bases and then score a run. Fuerst then drove in the final run of the game with his second sacrifice fly of the game, which brought home Long.
The seventh inning was eerily similar to the sixth as the Broncos plated four more runs to put the game out of reach for the Rams. Van Dusen started off with another walk and Herbst got on base with a single. The pair then advanced on a sacrifice bunt from Parra. Another single from Long, this time up the middle, drove in Herbst and Van Dusen to give SCU an 8-1 advantage. Tommy Medica then doubled down the leftfield line to move Long over to third base. The bases then loaded as Geoff Klein was hit by a pitch. With two outs on the board, Fuerst got hit by a pitch, which brought home Long for run No. 9. The final run of the game came as Wagner was walked and Medica scored.
SCU's bullpen allowed URI just two more hits in the final two innings and the Broncos defense held strong for the 10-1 victory. The Broncos out-hit the Rams 12-8.
The Broncos help bring the first annual Summit Hospitality Invitational to a close on Sunday, Feb. 22 against the Wolfpack of host-NC State. First pitch is scheduled for Noon PT at Doak Field in Raleigh, N.C.