April 6, 2010
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Broncos looked sharp Tuesday night, beating a quality non-conference opponent in the University of the Pacific 9-3. Eight-of-nine starters for Santa Clara registered hits and five pitchers combined to hold Pacific to single runs in three innings.
Curtis Wagner hit his 11th double in the seventh and scored when Patrick Terry singled through a drawn-in infield. The hits from Wagner and Terry - two of 11 on the night for SCU - gave the Broncos a 7-3 edge heading to the late innings.
"I never thought I would be leading the team in batting average this year, that was not my goal," said Wagner who is not only leading the team but the entire league with a .415 average. "Coming into the year I just wanted to stay focused at the plate and try to improve."
Wagner is part of a Bronco lineup that hits .336 collectively. With RISP, Wagner is 16-for-35 (.457 BA). Teammate Tommy Medica extended his league-leading hitting streak to 20 games with an RBI single in the eighth and Geoff Klein added two hits to up his average to .355.
Santa Clara (13-14; 0-3 WCC) bounced back from being swept in its WCC-opening series by Portland. The Broncos are on the tail end of a 13-game homestand, which continues this weekend against Pepperdine.
Pacific (17-10; 2-1 Big West) received a second-inning homerun from J.R Brown, which got the Tigers on the board after SCU took a 2-0 lead in the first.
A leadoff walk issued by John Haberman in the fourth inning and two singles loaded the bases and helped Santa Clara break-open a close game. Haberman proceeded to walk Evan Peters and Matt Paradise. RBI-groundouts followed courtesy of Blake Leyva and Lucas Herbst - part of a four-run inning, which put the Broncos up 6-1.
Pacific threatened in the sixth, loading the bases before Steve Kalush pitched his way out of a one-out jam.
"He might not have had the best numbers but (Kalush) pitched his way out of trouble; that's something that has been difficult for us to do this year," said Santa Clara head coach Mark O'Brien. "I thought a couple other of pitchers stood out tonight as well."
O'Brien liked what he saw from closer J.R. Graham, who induced six groundball outs to finish off Pacific in the eighth and ninth.
Freshman starter Brock Simon (1-0) was credited with the win and UOP sophomore John Matthews Pratto (0-2) took the loss in a game that was declared a staff day by both clubs.
The Tigers have already notched some impressive victories, beating Notre Dame twice on the road, taking 2-of-3 from USC and USF, sweeping San Jose State and taking a midweek game from No. 19 Stanford.
"Pacific is a good ball club," added O'Brien. "They have good offense and quality pitching. We should enjoy this win and then get ready for Pepperdine."
The Broncos will host the Waves this weekend at SCU's state-of-the-art ballpark, Stephen Schott Stadium. The three-game series begins Friday night at 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: RH Alex Rivers (2-4; 4.79 ERA) made his first relief appearance of the year, throwing two spotless innings of mid-relief... UT Tommy Medica (.407 BA) entered the week leading the WCC in virtually every offensive category, including average, hits (47), runs (31), doubles (12), RBI (33), total bases (82), slugging % (.726) and stolen bases (11).
San Diego 14-14
San Francisco 14-14
St. Mary's 8-15
Santa Clara 0-3/13-14
WCC GAMES THIS WEEKEND
Pepperdine @ Santa Clara (3)
Gonzaga @ San Francisco (3)
St. Mary's @ Portland (3)
LMU @ San Diego (3)