May 1, 2004
SPOKANE, Wash. - After tying the score in the top of the eighth inning, the Santa Clara University baseball team gave up four runs in the bottom half of the inning to drop a 6-2 cross-divisional decision to Gonzaga University in the second of a three-game West Coast Conference series Saturday at Avista Stadium.
With the loss, the Broncos fell to 19-26 on the season and 8-12 in the WCC. Gonzaga improved to 20-22 overall and 12-8 in league play. The two teams will meet in the final game of the three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m.
Starter Ed Clelland (4-5) earned the win for Gonzaga, while Bronco senior Chad Fillinger's record dropped to 4-8 on the season after taking the loss. The outing marked the second straight complete game for Gonzaga's starting pitchers. The loss marked an otherwise solid performance from Fillinger, who struck out eight batters and only allowed six hits through the first seven innings.
For the first time in six games, Santa Clara was not the team to score first as Bulldog third baseman Bobby Carlson hit a two-run homer over the right field wall in the bottom of the second inning. After right fielder Jeff Culpepper to ground out to Will Thompson to open the inning, left fielder David Johnson singled to centerfield for Gonzaga's first hit of the game. Carlson then made the score 2-0 before Fillinger struck out Jason Wederspahn and Mike Rundle to end the inning.
With the Bulldogs leading 2-0, the Broncos first real scoring threat in the game came in the top of the fifth inning. Left fielder Shawn Epidendio swiftly beat out the throw from shortstop Aaron McGuinness to leadoff the inning with a base hit. He advanced to second when McGuinness literally booted a hard hit grounder by catcher David Mandley with his foot to put two Bronco runners on base. Michael Lange's sacrifice bunt advanced the two runners to second and third but Ryan Chiarelli and Jason Matteucci both grounded out to end the scoring opportunity for Santa Clara.
Santa Clara got on the board with a single run in the top of the seventh to close the Bulldogs' lead to 2-1. Second baseman Dustin Realini and Epidendio each reached base on singles to centerfield to start the inning. After consecutive batters flied out for the Broncos, Chiarelli hit a high fly ball with both runners moving that fell between the left and center fielders and Realini scored SCU's first run of the game.
The Broncos tied the game at two runs apiece in the top of the eighth inning. Nic Crosta opened the inning with a single up the middle then advanced to third on a single to right field by Will Thompson. He scored when Realini pounded a hard hit grounder to Carlson who could not come up with the play.
Gonzaga regained the lead in the bottom half of the eighth inning. David Hoffmire got the first out of the inning, fielding a Rundle popup in foul territory just past first base. McGuiness then walked, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He scored on a Marshall Bratton single up the middle. Bratton stole second base and advanced to third on a grounder by Reding for the inning's second out. He scored the Bulldogs' fourth run of the game on a wild pitch that Mandley tracked down and threw just late to Fillinger at the plate.
After back-to-back singles by Kiel Thibault and Culpepper, Fillinger yielded the mound to reliever Thomas Van Buskirk who walked David Johnson to lead the bases. Wederspahn hit a deep fly ball that just eluded the outstretched glove of center fielder Robert Perry, scoring Thibault and Culpepper. On the play, right fielder Chiarelli threw to Lange, who's throw to the catcher Mandley caught Johnson in a rundown at third. Mandley threw to third baseman Michael Thompson to get the third out of the inning.
Faulkner entered the game as a pinch hitter for Lange after missing Friday's game due to a sore back. He grounded out to the shortstop McGuinness to open the inning. Chiarelli flew out to centerfield before Matteucci walked to keep SCU's hopes for another comeback alive but Crosta struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.