Ninth Inning Rally Lifts Broncos Over Bulldogs 10-8
April 22, 2008
FRESNO, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball team rebounded from an 8-3 deficit to defeat the Fresno State Bulldogs, 10-8, Tuesday night on the road. With the win, the Broncos improved to 22-16 on the season, while the Bulldogs dropped to 24-17 overall.
The win gave Santa Clara the series sweep as SCU defeated Fresno State, 6-5, in 10 innings on March 4.
Sophomore relief pitcher Steve Kalush (3-2) earned the win for the Broncos. He tossed 3.2 innings, allowed just one hit, one walk and struck out three batters. The loss was awarded to Brandon Burke, who went two innings for the Bulldogs allowing one earned run on three this and no strikeouts.
Redshirt sophomore Mark Willinsky continued to climb the Santa Clara career record save list as he registered his fourth save of the season and his 13 career save. He is now tied for fifth all-time with teammate Jeff Lombard. Willinsky came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth and successfully held off the Bulldogs, allowing no hits and striking out one of three batters faced.
Offensively, designated hitter Geoff Klein went 3-for-4 with two runs and one RBI to lead the Broncos. Leftfielder Evan LeBlanc and catcher Tommy Medica both went 2-for-5 with two runs each, while LeBlanc also drove in one run.
Fresno State registered a four-run second inning to take a 4-0 lead early in the contest. The rally included a home run from Jake Johnson that drove in two additional runs. After a scoreless outing in the third, Santa Clara got on the scoreboard on a wild pitch from Kris Tomlinson. Nathan Faulkner, who walked, scored the first run for the Broncos. Klein then scored on the next at-bat, as Brady Fuerst grounded out. Klein also walked to get on base. Matt Long drove in the final run for SCU that inning as with a bunt single to bring home Jon Karcich. The sophomore shortstop got on base on the third walk of the inning.
However, the Bulldogs responded with four more runs in their half of the fourth inning to claim an 8-3 advantage. Danny Muno scored on a Steve Susdorf double, while Erik Wetzel scored on a sacrifice. Susdorf registered the third run on a ground-rule double by Nick Hom. The final run came after a Bronco pitching change that brought in freshman Joe Supple for starting pitcher Donald Brandt. Hom eventually scored on a Trent Soares base-hit.
Santa Clara fought hard to narrow the gap, scoring runs in the fifth and sixth innings, while holding Fresno State scoreless.
In the top of the fifth, Medica scored on a Ryan Conan single up the middle for the first run of the inning. Medica got on base with a double down the right field line. The Broncos then successfully loaded the bases as Klein doubled, Karcich and Gabe Alcantar walked. Fuerst was then dealt the 14th walk of the contest, which advanced Klein to home. SCU trailed by just four runs.
The Broncos made it a one-run game in their sixth inning outing. A Faulkner RBI single brought home LeBlanc for the first of two runs. Klein then registered his own base-hit to allow Conan to come home. The score was now, 8-7.
After two-straight up and down innings, Santa Clara rallied in the ninth to take the game, 10-8.
Alcantar got on base with a leadoff walk and then advanced to second on a Long single to left field. The senior captain then scored after LeBlanc reached on a fielder's choice and Long was putout at second. The score was tied, 8-8.
The Broncos earned the one-run lead on a Medica RBI single that allowed LeBlanc to score. His run was unearned. On the same play, Medica advanced to second on the throw and then to third on a throwing error by the left fielder Susdorf. He then scored on the next at-bat as Conan reached on a fielding error by the Bulldog's shortstop Muno.
The Broncos return to action on Friday, April 25 in the first game of a three-day series against the Vulcans of the University of Hawaii-Hilo. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Stephen Schott Stadium.