May 16, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball kept alive its hopes to win a divisional title and reserved a recent trend for late game heroics with a solid 11-3 Senior Day win over visiting Pepperdine Sunday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The Broncos improved to 25-28 on the season and 14-13 in the West Coast Conference, while Pepperdine fell to 23-29 overall and 17-10 in league play. Santa Clara also gained a game on the Waves in the West Division standings, currently sitting three games behind with three games remaining on the schedule.
For the Broncos to claim a share of the divisional lead, it must sweep a three-game series at Portland next weekend while Pepperdine must lose each of its three games at the University of San Francisco. Such a scenario would give the two teams a share of the title and the Broncos would advance to the WCC championship series against Loyola Marymount by virtue of having won four of six against Pepperdine during the regular season.
Senior John Redmond (6-2) earned the win for the Broncos after pitching eight full innings and giving up just six hits and three runs, while striking out three in his final regular-season game at Buck Shaw Stadium. Fellow senior Patrick McBride came into the game for the ninth inning and closed out the win for SCU.
David Mandley led the Broncos at the plate, going 3-for-5 in the game with three runs batted in and scoring twice. Freshman Robert Perry and sophomore Jason Matteucci also went 3-for-5 for the Broncos, while Ryan Chiarelli, Dustin Realini and Shawn Epidendio registered two hits apiece.
Freshman Rob Della Grotta (1-5) took the loss for Pepperdine, which used three pitchers in the game.
In addition to Redmond and McBride, Sunday's game marked the final regular-season home appearance for seniors Panch Romero, Mandley and Chad Fillinger. Fillinger helped make his final regular-season outing at Buck Shaw Stadium a memorable one on Saturday, helping the Broncos to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory in the second game of the series.
"I want to give our senior class a lot of credit," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "They've helped shape our program with their leadership and selflessness and we will miss each of them a great deal. Each of those five guys provide a different set of qualities to our team and that diversity is what, ultimately, makes our program successful."
Santa Clara opened the game with an explosive seven-run first inning, putting 11 batters at the plate and gathering seven hits off starter Della Grotta. Each of the first four batters in the game earned singles and Nic Crosta walked to make the score 2-0. Epidendio's bases-loaded single gave Santa Clara two more runs to make the score 4-0 before Della Grotta made way for reliever James Johnson for the Waves. Mandley then doubled down the right field line for two more runs then crossed the plate on a Michael Lange single to make the score 7-0.
The Broncos added a run in the bottom of the fourth when Realini scored from third base on another Mandley RBI single. In the seventh inning, Santa Clara scored three more runs on a Ryan Chiarelli grounder to Wave first baseman Steve Kleen, a Perry single that just eluded second baseman David Uribes and a Matteucci double to right center field.
Pepperdine put up each of its three runs in the top of the eighth. With Kleen on first base, pinch hitter Chase Kliment hit his second home run of the season. Immediately afterward Cory Brightwell added a solo homer for Pepperdine's final run of the game.
In the ninth inning, the Waves loaded the bases before Kliment grounded out to Epidendio to close out the game and Santa Clara's final regular-season home contest of the 2004 season.