May 3, 2009

Broncos Edged 4-3 By Aztecs

May 3, 2009

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - In a hard-fought series finale battle, the Santa Clara baseball team was edged 4-3 by San Diego State Sunday afternoon in non-conference action at Stephen Schott Stadium. The Aztecs won the season series 3-1, while the Broncos hold onto a 13-12 all-time series record.

The win went to Tyler Lavigne (5-1). He tossed seven innings and surrendered all three of the Broncos runs. He also struck out a game-high four batters. The loss went to Steve Kalush (1-5). The junior RHP from San Mateo had a solid outing for the Broncos. At one point he retired 12 of 13 batters in a row. Kalush threw 7.2 innings and struck out three.

Junior shortstop Jon Karcich was perfect at the plate for the second time of the series. He went 3-for-3 with one RBI. Sophomore Curtis Wagner was 2-for-3 with a run.

For the third time of the series, the Aztecs took a quick lead in the first inning. Brandon Decker had a leadoff single and then advanced to second on a Brandon Meredith base hit through the left side. The leftfielder then scored on an Erik Castro base hit.

After a scoreless two innings, Santa Clara took a one-run lead in the bottom of the third. Wagner had an infield single and then advanced to second on a J.R. Graham sacrifice bunt. SCU's first baseman was then plated on a Matt Long single to right field. The senior centerfielder was then driven home on a Karcich base hit. The Broncos led 2-1.

However, in the fourth inning San Diego State reclaimed the lead with two runs. Castro scored on a Mitch Blackburn base hit through the left side. Cory Vaughn then had an opportunity to score earlier in the inning and give the Aztecs a chance at tacking on three runs in the inning as Chris Wilson hit a hard grounder down the third base line. Bronco third baseman Kyle Van Dusen brought the ball to a screeching halt to force the runner to stop at third. Vaughn did eventually register the second run of the inning on a Guy Willeford groundout. Easton Gust flied out to centerfield to end the inning. The Aztecs led 3-2.

The Aztecs weren't able to claim the insurance run until the eighth inning. In the sixth inning, SDSU had another chance to push their lead as Castro sent a long ball to centerfield where Long made a star play jumping into the fence to make the play. In the eighth inning, Meredith homered a solo shot to the very same spot to give San Diego State a 4-2 lead.

Yet, Santa Clara continued its fight and brought it back to a one-run in game in the home half of the eighth. Kevin Madden hit a leadoff double to centerfield and then advanced to third on a Karcich single to right field. Junior Geoff Klein earned his team-leading 50th RBI of the season as he grounded out to the pitcher. Madden came home and the Broncos trailed 4-3.

Despite giving up a leadoff double, Graham, who took over pitching duties for reliever Jason Westerberg, and the Broncos' defense successfully retired the Aztecs in the top of the ninth. However, SCU ended the game with the potential game-tying and game-winning runs stranded on base. Wagner singled up the middle and then advanced to second on a Graham base hit.

The Broncos continue non-conference play on Wednesday, May 6 against the Cardinal of Stanford. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Stephen Schott Stadium. Santa Clara then returns to West Coast Conference play over the weekend at Saint Mary's.