May 11, 2004
STANFORD, Calif. - Second-ranked Stanford scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning then used seven pitchers to hold Santa Clara to four total hits to earn a 3-1 victory over the Broncos in front of 1,834 fans Tuesday night at Sunken Diamond.
Santa Clara fell to 22-28 on the season, while the Cardinal improved to 38-8. The game marked the Broncos' final non-league game of the season.
Santa Clara returns to action Friday when it opens a critical three-game series against West Coast Conference rival Pepperdine. The Broncos currently sit six games behind the Waves with six games remaining on the season. The Waves have clinched at least a tie for the WCC's West Division title. Any combination of a Pepperdine win or a Bronco loss puts the Waves in the league's championship series against the Coast Division champion.
All three games of the series will feature live Internet coverage via the SantaClaraBroncos.com GameTracker.
Stanford jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead when Stanford center fielder Sam Fuld sent a pitch from starter Bryan Fleming up the middle of the field for a single to start the bottom half of the inning. Bronco catcher David Mandley made a nice play on the next batter, Jim Rappoport, throwing the Cardinal right fielder out at first base. Fleming hit Cardinal second baseman Jed Lowrey to put runners on first and second then left fielder Danny Putnam doubled to deep left center field to score the first two to Cardinal runs of the game. Catcher Donny Lucy then doubled to left field, scoring Putnam from second base.
Fleming settled down over the next three-and-two-thirds innings, facing just 10 batters and allowing two hits and striking out three. With two outs in the bottom of the fifth and runners on first and second base, sophomore Jason Matteucci made his first career appearance on the mound in relief. The San Jose native, who started the game batting in the designated hitter slot, forced Putnam to fly out to Crosta in right field to end the inning.
After four Stanford pitchers held Santa Clara hitless through the first five-and-two-thirds innings, Matteucci drove the Broncos' first hit of the game up the middle with two outs in the top of the sixth inning.
Thomas Van Buskirk made his team-high 28th appearance of the season to open the bottom of the seventh inning on the mound for the Broncos in relief of Matteucci.
Pinch hitter Nathan Faulkner provided the Broncos a run in the top of the eighth inning, sending a 2-1 pitch by reliever Matt Manship, Stanford's sixth pitcher of the night, over the left center field wall for his third home run of the season. Freshman Robert Perry followed Faulkner with a single up the middle then Michael Lange hit a high bouncer over Manship's head for a single to put two Bronco runners on base.
Manship then hit Chiarelli to load the bases before a pitching change brought David O'Hagan to the mound for the Cardinal in the Bronco half of the inning. Shawn Epidendio came to the plate with no outs for Santa Clara as a pinch hitter in place of Van Buskirk, who was set to bat for the departed Matteucci, and took a called third strike.
With one out, Nic Crosta popped-up a high fly ball right in front of home plate and was called out on an infield fly. Michael Thompson, batting with the bases loaded and two outs, bounced a slow grounder to the second baseman Lowrie to end the inning.