April 10, 2004
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball team couldn't overcome a four-run third inning by the host Toreros as it lost its third straight in an 8-5 decision in the opening game of a West Coast Conference doubleheader at Cunningham Baseball Stadium.
With the loss, the Broncos fell to 16-18 on the season and 5-6 in the West Coast Conference. San Diego improved to 19-17 overall and 6-8 in conference play. The two teams will play the series finale Saturday afternoon.
Starter Kellen McConnell took the loss for Santa Clara and fell to 3-4 on the season. The winning pitcher for San Diego was Kyle Collins, who improved to 3-1 on the season. Torero Justin Blaine earned the save for USD.
Offensively, Santa Clara was led by Will Thompson, who was involved with all five of Santa Clara runs after going 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and two runs scored.
The Broncos started off the game with a bang, touching Collins for three runs in the opening stanza. Collins gave-up a single to Ryan Chiarelli then hit Michael Thompson to put two runners on base with just one out. Will Thompson then launched a Collins pitch near a third floor window of Manchester Village, a student dormitory located outside the 385-foot right field wall for his team-leading seventh homer of the season and an early 3-0 Bronco lead.
San Diego got on the board with two runs in the bottom half of the second inning. After forcing Jordan Ambruzzo and Randy Curtis to both ground out to open the inning, McConnell walked two of the next three batters, sandwiched by a single by Jose Ortega, to load the bases. Tom Caple then slapped a single just out of reach of third baseman David Hoffmire to score two runs for the Toreros. After Keoni Ruth hit a hard groundball that shortstop Michael Lange was unable to handle to re-load the bases, McConnell forced USD's Freddy Sandoval to ground out to Michael Thompson to end the inning.
The Toreros put four more runs on the board in the bottom half of the third inning. Josh Hansen ledoff the inning with a single, advanced to second base on a McConnell balk then went to third on a groundout to second base by Ambruzzo. After Curtis walked, Joey Prast doubled to centerfield to bring the Toreros to within one at 4-3.
The next batter, Ortega, flied out to deep right field to score Curtis from third base on the sacrifice. Buschini then blasted a full-count pitch from McConnell to the roof of the dorms in right field to put USD up 6-3. McConnell, who had just received a warning from the home plate umpire after nearly hitting batter Tom Caple, was then ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct. Andrew Slorp came on in relief and forced Cable to ground out to end the inning.
Pinch hitting for catcher Matt McColgan, Nathan Faulkner ledoff the top of the seventh inning with a double that went to the left centerfield wall then advanced to third on the same play on a throwing error by Hansen. David Hoffmire then singled to left field to score Faulkner for SCU's only run of the inning.
San Diego answered in the half of the inning. Bronco reliever Patrick McBride entered the game in place of Slorp, who gave up just one hit and one run in 3.1 innings, walked leadoff batter Joey Prast. The Toreros then executed a hit-and-run with Ortega singling to right field to advance Prast to third base. He scored when Bruschini hit into a double play.
Michael Thompson ledoff the top of the eighth inning with a double down the left field line. He then advanced to third base on a double by Nic Crosta that narrowly went over the right fielder's head. Thompson scored on a grounder by David Mandley then the Toreros registered back-to-back groundouts to second base to end the inning.