April 4, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - An extra innings two-run rally allowed Portland to slip past Santa Clara, 6-4, in the West Coast Conference series opener Friday night at Schott Stadium. With the loss, the Broncos are now 16-10 on the season and 2-2 in league play, while the Pilots even out to 15-15 overall and earned their first conference win of the season, 1-3.
Ryan Conan led the Broncos offensively, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and one run. On the mound, Zach Varce won the pitching battle for Portland. He tossed two no-hit innings. Reigning WCC Co-Pitcher of the Week Thain Simon registered his first loss of the season after 2.1 innings of relief. He allowed the final two runs of the contest and struck out three Pilots.
Both SCU and Portland scored in the first inning to keep the game tied, 1-1. The Broncos run came on a Conan double down the left field line that brought home Tommy Medica. Medica reached on a fielder's choice two at bats earlier.
Santa Clara then earned a one-run lead, 2-1, in their half of the second inning. Designated hitter Geoff Klein scored in the final play of the inning. Outfielder Nathan Faulkner reached on an error by Pilots shortstop C.J. Cullen, Klein then scored before the final out of the inning was made at third base.
However, Portland knotted the contest in their half of the third inning as Riley Henricks scored on a Bryant Kraus single to left field. Portland then held Santa Clara scoreless for two innings. But, in their half of the fifth inning, the Broncos tacked on two more runs to gain a 4-2 lead. The first run was scored by Evan LeBlanc, who got on base after doubling down the left field line. He scored on Conan's double down the right field line. Conan then scored the Broncos' fourth run on Klein's sacrifice fly.
Yet, the Pilots were not going to give up without a fight and made it a one-run contest in the sixth inning. Kraus scored on a Danny Meier single through the left side. Portland then tied the game in the following inning with a Kraus single through the right side. Rocky Gale scored on the base hit.
The game remained tied 4-4 at the end of nine, sending the Broncos and Pilots into extra innings.
The Pilot took their first lead of the game in the top of the eighth inning with a two run rally on a Bronco error. Meier, who got on base with a double to left field, and Powell, who reached on a fielder's choice, scored on the error at first base.
The Broncos and Pilots continue action on Saturday, April 5 at 6 p.m. at Stephen Schott Stadium.