March 27, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Junior Kellen McConnell pitched seven solid innings and classmate Will Thompson went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored to lead the Santa Clara University baseball team to a 5-3 win over San Francisco in a West Coast Conference contest Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Santa Clara, which improved to 13-15 on the season and 2-3 in the WCC. The loss was the first league setback for the Dons, who dropped to 13-13 on the season and 4-1 in league play. The two teams will play the final game of the three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Santa Clara opened the game strong offensively as Ryan Chiarelli sent a Derek Tate (2-3) pitch sailing over the fence to give the Broncos an early 1-0 lead. Just two batters later, Nic Crosta did the same, with a solo homer that stayed just fair of the left field foul pole.
McConnell, who improved to 3-3 on the season with the win, suffered only one subpar inning in the game, giving up two runs in the top of the second. After Chris Genung doubled to open the inning, he advanced to third on a Ryan Hanson grounder to the shortstop. Genung scored when Nick Cirbo singled to center field for USF's first run of the game.
Cirbo came around to score two batters later when Scott Cousins doubled to right field before Royce Fukuroku ended the inning with a strikeout.
The Dons took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth inning when Joe Jacobitz reached first then advanced to second on a fielding error by Thompson. Cousins then singled to centerfield and Jacobitz scored for San Francisco.
The Broncos tied the game in the bottom half of the inning when David Hoffmire reached first base and advanced to second base on a throwing error with two outs by Armand Gaerlan. He scored when Eric Newton singled to centerfield for the game winner.
Santa Clara added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning when Thompson homered for the sixth time this season top open the inning.
McConnell only allowed one hit in his final three innings before Thomas Van Buskirk entered the game to open the eighth inning. He faced three Don batters, forcing Hanson to ground out, Cirbo to fly out to the shortstop and Jacobitz to ground out to second base to end the inning.
Anthony Rea came on for Santa Clara to open the ninth inning and earned his sixth save of the season after forcing Cousins, Donald and Smith to each ground out to end the game.