March 4, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - In their first extra innings contest of the season, the Santa Clara baseball team rallied from behind to defeat the Fresno State Bulldogs, 6-5, Tuesday night at Schott Stadium. Freshman Thain Simon earned the win for the Broncos, pitching in relief.
With the victory, SCU heads to the San Diego State Tournament with a 7-1 overall record. The Bulldogs dropped to 3-6 on the season. Evan LeBlanc and Ryan Conan led the Broncos offensively as both went 2-for-4. Conan registered two RBIs for Santa Clara, while Tommy Medica has two runs.
The Bulldogs scored early in the game and held onto that advantage until the seventh inning. After singling through the right side as the leadoff hitter of the second inning and advancing his way around the bases, Steve Susdorf score the first run for Fresno State on a single to left field by Steve Detwiler. That single also put Tommy Mendonca into scoring position at third base. A sacrifice fly put two outs on the board, but sent home Mendonca to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 start.
Although the Broncos were unable to score for the next five innings, the Broncos defense worked hard to not allow any more runs. Then in the seventh inning, Fresno State made a pitching change, its second of the game, and Santa Clara responded with a five run performance.
A Conan double to right centerfield allowed both LeBlanc and Medica to score for the Broncos. The score was then tied 2-2. Conan then scored his first run of the night on a Gabe Alcantar double down the left field line. The inning would see one more double as Geoff Klein sent one down the right field line, allowing Alcantar to score. Santa Clara held the lead, 4-2. James Heintz entered the game as a pinch runner for Klein and score as Brady Fuerst singled to left centerfield.
Fresno State responded to the outburst from Santa Clara to make it a one-run game in the top of the eighth inning as the Bulldogs scored two more runs. Mendonca hit a solo home run, while Erik Wetzel singled to right centerfield to allow Trent Soares to score. The Broncos narrowly led, 5-4.
The Broncos were dealt a quick eighth inning and the Bulldogs were able to tie the score in the ninth as Detwiler double to right centerfield to bring home Susdorf.
Going into extra innings, Simon replaced Mark Willinsky on the mound and finished up the pitching duties striking out one batter and allowing no hits or runs. In the leadoff position, Matt Long walked and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from LeBlanc. The Bulldogs then intentionally walked catcher Medica and followed up with Conan getting hit by a pitch. With bases loaded, Alcantar advanced on a fielder's choice as Long was put out at third. Once again, the Broncos were faced with a bases loaded situation. SCU scored the winning run as Bulldogs' pitcher Brandon Burke walked Patrick Glenn and Medica advanced to home.
The Broncos return to action on Thursday, March 6 in the first game of the 2008 San Diego State Tournament. Santa Clara will battled USD in non-conference action with a first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m., and will then face San Diego State, Oklahoma State and defending National Champions Oregon State in the remainder of the weekend.