April 30, 2004

Broncos Drop Series Opener at Gonzaga

April 30, 2004

Final Stats

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Santa Clara University baseball team dropped a 12-1 cross-divisional decision to Gonzaga University in the opener of a three-game West Coast Conference series Friday afternoon at Avista Stadium.

With the loss, the Broncos fell to 19-25 on the season and 8-11 in the WCC. Gonzaga improved to 19-22 overall and 11-8 in league play. Santa Clara is tied with San Francisco for second-place in the West Division of the WCC, while Gonzaga sits in the third spot in the league's Coast Division. The two teams will meet in the second game of the three-game series Saturday at 1 p.m. then will complete the series Sunday.

Starter Eric Dworkis (7-3) earned the win for Gonzaga, while Bronco junior Kellen McConnell's record dropped to 4-6 on the season after taking the loss.

Junior Nic Crosta, last week's national player of the week, continued his recent hot streak, going 3-for-4 at the plate to lead Santa Clara. Jason Matteucci also registered a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 in the game.

As it has in each of its previous five games, Santa Clara got on the scoreboard first, putting up a single run in the top of the second inning. Crosta and Matteucci each singled to start the inning before Eric Newton's sacrifice bunt advanced both runners. Crosta scored when Michael Lange lifted a fly ball deep into center field.

After McConnell held Bulldogs hitters hitless through the first two innings, Gonzaga answered with two runs in the top of the third. Second baseman Mike Rundle reached on a hard-to-handle single to Lange then shortstop Aaron McGuinness sent a McConnell pitch over the left centerfield wall to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.

McConnell then loaded the bases by hitting Marshall Bratton and walking Matt Reding and Kiel Thibault. The Bulldogs scored a single run when Jeff Culpepper hit a ground ball to Lange, who threw Reding out at second base. Ryan Chiarelli ended the inning for the Broncos on an excellent defensive play on a fly ball down the left field line by the Bulldogs' David Johnson.

With two Gonzaga runners on base in the top of the fourth, McGuinness collected his third RBI of the game when he lifted a McConnell pitch deep into centerfield to score Bobby Carlson from third. Lange ended the Bulldogs' hopes to extend their 4-1 lead ended when he fielded a hard-hit grounder by Matt Reding and threw Bratton, who reached on a walk, out at second base to end the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, Gonzaga added to its lead when Reding doubled off the right centerfield wall to score McGuinness and Rundle. Reding gave the Bulldogs a 7-1 lead when a pitch got by Bronco catcher Matt McColgan and bounced off the umpire. Reding advanced home from second base while the sophomore catcher tracked down the errant ball.

After earning his seventh strikeout of the game on leadoff hitter Culpepper in the bottom of the seventh, McConnell gave way to reliever Patrick McBride. McBride faced only two batters and gave-up a walk and a deep flyball over Perry's head in centerfield for an RBI double to Carlson. Scott Longergan replaced McBride and quickly struck out Jason Wederspahn for the second out of the inning. Rundle then reached first base and Carlson scored on a fielding error by SCU third baseman Will Thompson, giving the Bulldogs a 9-1 lead.

With two outs in the bottom of the eight, Carlson sent a 3-2 pitch deep over the left field wall just inside the foul pole for a three-run homer to give the Bulldogs its final 12-1 margin of victory.