Broncos Fall To Gonzaga, 5-4, In 11 Innings
March 24, 2003
SPOKANE, Wash. -- If playing a West Coast Conference doubleheader on Sunday afternoon wasn't enough, Gonzaga (10-11-1, 2-4 WCC) and Santa Clara (10-18, 2-3) had to use extra innings on Monday afternoon to decide matters in the rubber game of the series. After tying the game with a run in the ninth, Gonzaga scored the game winner with two outs in the bottom of the 11th as Chris Sinner hit a roller up the middle that allowed Jeff Culpepper to score from second.
After falling behind 4-1 in the top of the fourth inning on a three-run home run by Santa Clara's Will Thompson, the Bulldogs chipped away at the lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Sam Hess collected an RBI as he beat out a double play ball with bases loaded and watched the ball escape from the Broncos first baseman allowing Brad Welker to race home for Gonzaga's third run.
After a strong performance by Broncos starters Kellan McConnell and Anthony Rea, Gonzaga managed to break through for the tying run in the bottom of the ninth as Sam Hess reached on a walk and Danny Evans collected an infield single. Eric Rodland then drew a walk to load the bases after the Bulldogs failed to move runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt. Evans would come across to score the crucial run on a wild pitch by Santa Clara reliever Patrick Overholt. Overholt (2-3) pitched 4.2 innings of relief and was saddled with the loss despite allowing only two Bulldogs hits, the last Sinner's game winner.
Gonzaga pitcher Sean Lichter went 10 innings allowing the four Broncos runs in the top of the fourth. Santa Clara had seven hits in the game collecting three of them in the fourth inning. A.J. LaBarbera reached on an error to start the frame and was followed by back-to-back singles by Jason Matteucci and Scott Shapiro, Shapiro's scoring LaBarbera. Thompson then cleared the bases with shot to left.