April 11, 2008
SPOKANE, Wash. - After registering a season-high five home runs, highlighted by a pair from Nathan Faulkner and a grand slam from Brady Fuerst, the Santa Clara baseball team defeated Gonzaga, 12-4, Friday night in West Coast Conference action. The Broncos improved to 4-3 in league play and 18-12 on the season, while the Bulldogs dropped to 1-5 in WCC action and 17-15 overall.
Faulkner hit his first homer of the night in the leadoff spot in the second inning. The run put the Broncos up 3-0. Then, in his next at bat, he his another leadoff solo home run in the top of the fourth. SCU continued to lead the Zags, 4-0. Faulkner went 2-for-4 at bat with three runs and two RBIs. Also producing a stellar night at-bat for the Broncos was Jon Karcich. He also went 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs.
On the mound, Nate Garcia (3-2) earned the win for Santa Clara after tossing seven innings and striking out six Bulldogs. The loss went to Brandon Harmon. He is now 2-5 on the season.
The Broncos first two runs came in the first inning as junior Evan LeBlanc scored on a Ryan Conan single to right field. LeBlanc got on base after his own base-hit to right field. Sophomore Tommy Medica then scored for Santa Clara on a Gabe Alcantar RBI single to right field. Medica reached on a fielder's choice that put Matt Long out at third base.
It wasn't until the fifth inning that senior Conan registered his first home run of the season. It was a solo homer to left field that put Santa Clara up, 5-0. However, it was the only scoring action to come out of the Broncos half of the inning.
Starting pitcher Garcia's potential shutout came to an end as the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard in their half of the fifth inning. Evan Wells scored for Gonzaga on fielder's choice situation.
Yet, Santa Clara continued to push ahead and hold off any more Bulldogs from scoring. In the top of the seventh inning, Conan walked and Alcantar singled to get on base. Then sophomore shortstop Karcich launched a three-run homer to left field to bring the SCU's lead to 8-1. However, the Bulldogs added a second run in their half of the inning on a solo home run by Marcus McKimmy.
Then, in the ninth inning, Fuerst came to the plate with bases loaded and sent one far over the right field fence for the fifth homer of the game and his first collegiate Grand Slam. Faulkner, Karcich and Patrick Terry, who pinched hit for Geoff Klein, all scored on the play. Fuerst became the third Bronco this season to produce the feat.
But before all was said and done, Gonzaga added on two more runs in the bottom of the ninth. With McKimmy's RBI double down the left field line, Anthony Synegal advanced home to make the score, 12-3. Synegal got on base on a Broncos' throwing error. McKimmy then scored when Ryan Wiegand doubled down the right field line. The gap closed to what would be the final score, 12-4.
The Broncos and Zags continue the WCC series on Saturday, April 12 in Spokane. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.