Baseball Wins WCC Opener Friday Afternoon
March 14, 2003
MORAGA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team opened West Coast Conference play with an 12-8 win over Saint Mary's College Friday afternoon at Louis Guisto Field in Moraga, Calif. The win improved the Broncos record to 9-15 overall and 1-0 in WCC play while dropping the Gaels to 8-12 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Saint Mary's got on the board in the first inning as Gilbert Gil led off with a single up the middle and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Jeff Cunningham. Gil moved to third base on a flyout to center field by Bryan Byrne and scored one batter later when Tim Spooner sent a ground ball through the left side for a 1-0 lead.
Santa Clara answered back in the top of the second inning as Will Thompson led off the inning with a solo home run over the right center field fence. Jack Headley followed that with a single to right field and moved into scoring position when he stole second. He gave the Broncos a 2-1 lead when he scored from second base on a Michael Thompson single to left field.
Will Thompson continued his torrid hitting for the Broncos as he connected on his sixth home run of the season and second in the game, this time a two-run shot over the center field fence, giving SCU a 4-1 lead. The two home run game on Friday was the second of the year for Thompson who also knocked two out at Buck Shaw Stadium against San Jose State last Saturday.
The Gaels cut into the Bronco lead with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the fourth inning. Mike Sansoe reached when he was hit by a Joe Diefenderfer pitch and moved to second base on a single by Cunningham. Sansoe scored on a Byrne RBI single to center field, which also moved Cunningham to third base. Cunningham scored an unearned run on the very next play when Spooner gounded to third base but an errant throw by Michael Thompson allowed him to reach and the run to score and narrowed the SCU lead down to 4-3.
Santa Clara added to its lead in the top of the sixth inning, scoring three runs on only two hits. Michael Lange reached base on a one-out walk and scored after back-to-back doubles by Scott Dierks and A.J. LaBarbera. Both Dierks and LaBarbera scored on the next play to give the Broncos a 7-3 lead after Jason Matteucci reached base on an error by Spooner who failed to field the hot shot to second base.
Four more runs on five hits in the top of the seventh inning gave SCU a 10-3 lead heading into the seventh inning stretch. Jim Wallace led of the inning with his third home run of the season and was followed by three consecutive singles by Michael Thompson, Lange and Dierks. LaBarbera picked up his second RBI of the game with a bases loaded walk, pushing home Thompson, but was forced out at second on the next play as Matteucci grounded into a double play. The double play did score a run though as Lange scored the team's ninth run. Scott Shapiro picked up his second hit of the game and his first RBI with a double down the right field line scoring Dierks for the second time in the game.
Saint Mary's scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to cut the Bronco lead down to 11-8. The Gaels did connect on five hits in the inning but two Bronco errors proved costly as all five runs in the inning were unearned. James Gaulke and Nick Conte led off the inning with back-to-back singles but Delaney Gallagher reached on a fielder's choice that saw Michael Thompson boot the ball at third base, allowing Gaulke to move to third. Another fielder's choice allowed Gaulke to score but it was a two-run single by Cunningham that was a big blow in the inning.
Patrick Overholt came on in relief in the eighth inning and promptly recorded three outs on two popouts and one strikeout in his first inning of work. Overholt continued his dominance in the ninth inning getting the final three outs, two of which were on strikeouts, for his fourth save of the season. Diefenderfer moved to 3-3 on the season after allowing only two earned runs while scattering 11 hits with one walk and five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings of work on the hill.
Offensively Dierks finished the game for SCU by going 5-for-6 with a double and two runs scored while Will Thompson went 3-for-6 with two home runs, two runs scored and three RBI. The 20 hits as a team were a season-high for the Broncos.
The two teams are scheduled to play games two and three of the league-opening series at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at Louis Guisto Field.