May 8, 2009
MORAGA, Calif. - Jon Karcich drove in the game-winning runs Friday afternoon as the Santa Clara baseball team edged Saint Mary's, 6-5, in West Coast Conference action. Scoring the runs for the Broncos were Juan Parra and Matt Long. With the win, SCU improved to 18-28 on the season and 5-11 in WCC play, while SMC dropped to 27-25 overall and 8-11 in league play.
Junior RHP Nate Garcia earned the win, while fellow junior righty Steve Kalush picked up his fourth save of the year. Garcia improved to 7-4 on the season as he tossed eight innings and struck out six batters. He is now No. 8 on SCU's all-time strikeouts list (242), while Kalush's save places him at tied for No. 10 all-time (8). The loss went to Brandon Berl (2-2).
Long went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while Karcich was also 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run. For the Gaels, Justin Fazio was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
After a quick first inning, the Broncos took a 1-0 lead off of Brady Fuerst's third home run of the season. His shot went over the left field fence. However, the Gaels countered with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Cory Miller singled through the left side and then stole second. He moved to third on a Fazio base hit and then scored on a Chris Murphy groundout. Michael Gastelum joined Fazio on base with a walk and the pair scored on a Ryan Mulligan single up the middle. SMC led 3-1.
Saint Mary's widened the gap in the fourth inning as Fazio homered to right field. The Gaels tried to get another runner into scoring position as Murphy tried to for a triple as he sent one down the right field line. However, freshman J.R. Graham rocketed the ball to Kyle Van Dusen at third for the out. Two quick outs followed and the Gales led 4-1.
The Broncos fought hard to knot the score in the sixth and seventh innings. With two outs on the board in the sixth, Long hit his fifth home run of the season to right centerfield. He is now tied with Geoff Klein for the team lead. SCU then successfully held off the Gaels in the bottom of the inning as only one runner got on base and then advanced around on groundouts. Anthony Allioti tried to steal home on a ball that got away from Klein. But the junior catcher retrieved the ball and tossed it to Garcia, who made the out at home.
In the seventh inning, Karcich got on base with a lead off single and then scored on a Klein double to right field. With Fuerst on base after being hit by a pitch, the duo advanced as Curtis Wagner reached on a bunt single. Klein scored the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly from Andrew Biancardi, but the Broncos were retired after back-to-back outs to right field.
The game was tied 4-4.
However, Saint Mary's took a one-run lead in the eighth inning as Mulligan scored on a Miller base hit. He doubled to right centerfield to get on base.
Santa Clara was not about to give up and rallied for two runs in the ninth inning. Biancardi opened with a single to right field. Parra then entered the game as a pinch runner for the freshman DH. After back-to-back strikeouts dealt to Van Dusen and Graham, Long was pitched a walk. The inning nearly ended as Kevin Madden struck out swinging. But Berl's third strike was a wild pitch Madden loaded the bases. With a full count, Karcich singled up the middle, allowing a speedy Parra and Long to score. SCU led 6-5.
The game was not over yet as the Broncos needed three more outs in the bottom of the ninth to secure the victory. Junior Alex Rivers game in for relief of Garcia and successfully put two outs on the board. However, he got into a bind after putting the game-tying run into scoring position and the game-winning run on base with two straight walks. With two outs and two runners on, Kalush came in and successfully retired the final batter for the save.
The Broncos and Gaels continue play on Saturday, May 9 at 1 p.m. at Louis Guisto Field.