March 30, 2008

Santa Clara Baseball Rallies To Upset No. 14 San Diego, 6-4

March 30, 2008

Box Score

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball team rallied from a two-run deficit to upset the 14th-ranked University of San Diego, 6-4, Sunday afternoon at Cunningham Stadium. With the victory, the Broncos improved to 2-1 in West Coast Conference play and registered a win in the opening weekend series. Santa Clara is now 14-9 overall.

The Broncos were led offensively by Evan LeBlanc, who went 3-for-5 with two runs and a double. Gabe Alcantar drove in two runs for the Broncos, while Matt Long registered a solo home run in the leadoff spot in the first inning.

On the mound, Mark Willinsky (1-2) earned his first win of the season, while Thain Simon (6-0) tallied is second save of the season.

After Long's solo homer in the first inning, Santa Clara successful held off San Diego thanks to the Broncos defensive efforts and three quick innings pitched by starting LHP Donald Brandt. The Broncos added their second run in their half of the third innings on an RBI sacrifice fly by Ryan Conan. LeBlanc scored on the play and SCU took a 2-0 lead.

However, the Toreros tied the score, 2-2, in their half of the fourth inning. James Meador scored on a Jose Valerio sacrifice fly to left field to put USD on the board. The tying run came on a Nick McCoy ground out that brought home Logan Gelbrich. The Toreros kept the Broncos quiet for the next three innings while adding on two more runs to take a 4-2 lead.

In their half of the sixth inning, McCoy and Valerio scored on a Kevin Muno single to centerfield.

The Broncos then rallied in the eighth inning to knot the score. Geoff Klein's ground out to second base allowed Conan to score and make it a one-run game, 4-3. Then a Brady Fuerst RBI single to center field brought Alcantar home for the tying run, 4-4.

Willinsky pitched a quick 1-2-3 eighth inning to get the Broncos back at bat and register the win. An Alcantar double to right field gave Santa Clara the 6-4 win as Conan, who intentionally walked, and LeBlanc, who singled to right field, scored.

Simon also compiled a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth inning, striking out two Toreros to earn the save.

For the series, LeBlanc led Santa Clara offensively. The junior outfielder went 8-for-13 with five runs, one double, one single and one RBI. Meanwhile, Simon posted two saves in two appearances and struck out six Torero batters in 4.0 innings of work.

The Broncos return to action on Monday, March 31 against the Cougars of Washington State. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Stephen Schott Stadium.