Broncos Defeat Portland in First of Three-Game WCC Series
April 20, 2001
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Santa Clara University baseball team opened its three-game West Coast Conference series today at the University of Portland with an 8-6 win over the Pilots at Pilot Stadium. Sophomore Joe Diefenderfer (4-4) earned the win, while Matt Hull (4-4) took the loss for the Pilots.
With the win, the Broncos improve to 16-24 on the season and 11-8 in the WCC's Coast Division. Santa Clara remains in at least a tie for first-place in the division. Portland falls to 16-23 on the season and 5-13 in the WCC's West Division.
Santa Clara opened the scoring in the top of the first inning with Diefenderfer, serving as the team's designated hitter, singling to centerfield off Hull. Matt Queen's team-leading 13th double of the season scored Diefenderfer and gave the Broncos the lead to start the game.
"We are in a battle for first place in our division and every game is important," said Head Coach Mike Cummins. "We have to rise to the occasion in games like today and find ways to win. We didn't limit their production in the latter part of the game as we as I would have liked. But, we got the win and our bats produced a little better. We have to come out tomorrow and play well in order to have a chance to continue to win tough league games like these."
The Broncos scored four runs in the top of the third inning. Jack Headley led off the inning reaching first base after being hit by Hull. He advanced to third on back-to-back steals before scoring on a single by Diefenderfer. Mike Theoharis reached on a fielder's choice followed by a walk by Queen. Alex Anderson knocked-in Theoharis on an error after hitting a hard line drive to second baseman Jared Mora.
A scary moment occured in the inning when Bronco senior Matt Miller was struck on the left side of his helmet by an errant pitch by Hull. Miller suffered no injuries despite the the impact of the pitch cracking the helmet's earpiece. He advanced to second base on a single by Kellen McConnel, which scored Anderson and Queen.
Portland's first run came on a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning by sophomore Travis Hanson following back-to-back singles by Cory Lunde and Bryan Dearinger. The Pilots added a second run in the inning on a double by designated hitter Matt Allen, scoring Lunde.
In the top of the eighth Theoharis hit his fifth home run of the season over the 385-foot left centerfield wall giving the Broncos a 6-3 lead and sending starter Hull to the bench. Hull pitched seven-and-one-third innings and gave-up three earned runs and 10 hits while strking out five.
The Pilots added a run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a home run by Matt Hollod off reliever Anthony Rea. After giving-up a double to Matt Coleman, Rea forced Jared Mora to pop-up to Theoharis in left field before handing the ball to fellow freshman reliever Chad Fillinger. Fillinger forced Brock Griffin to fly-out to Theoharis to end the inning.
Bronco pinch hitter Joey Gomes scored his first home run of the season with a two-run blast over the straighaway, 290-foot centerfield wall. Miller scored on the play following a single to left field and a sacrifice bunt by Kellen McConnell.
The Pilots scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth off Fillinger. Casto's two RBI double scored Bryan Dearinger and Travis Hanson and pulled the Pilots within two runs before a strikeout by Matt Coleman ended the game.
The two teams will play the second of the three-game series Saturday at 1 p.m. at Pilot Stadium.