Feb. 28, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The simultaneous ping of a composite bat and the pop of the ball embedding itself into a leather glove at high speed signaled the end of Wednesday night's 3-2 win by the Santa Clara baseball team over the visiting Fresno State Bulldogs at Stephen Schott Stadium. Wednesday night's contest was the makeup of Tuesday night's rained out contest.
The Broncos (9-9) will now face their cross-town rivals, the San Jose State Spartans, in a two-game home-and-home series this weekend. Saturday's contest is set to start at 1 p.m. at Stephen Schott Stadium, while Sunday's game is set for a 1 p.m. start at San Jose State's Blethen Field. Friday's originally-scheduled 6 p.m. contest at SJSU has been postponed until Tuesday, April 3 at 7 p.m. due to construction issues at San Jose Municipal Stadium.
"Our pitching and defense have helped us out a lot so far and it was no different tonight," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "Donald [Brandt] came out and did a great job, Sean [O'Neill] held it, and Steve [Kalush] and Jeff [Lombard] did their thing. We always feel pretty good when the ball is in those guys' hands in the late innings."
Jeff Lombard picked up his fourth save of the season by pitching a scoreless ninth inning to preserve Donald Brandt's first win of the season. Lombard got the final out on a boom-boom play in which Fresno State's Tommy Mendonca lined a bullet right into Lombard's glove with the tying run on third base.
"I decided to challenge [Mendonca] with a fastball and he hit it pretty good and I ended up catching it. It was just one of those things," Lombard said afterwards.
Brandt went five innings, giving up only one run on three hits and striking out seven. Steve Kalush also threw two innings of shutout relief to help the cause.
"As pitchers we can't really worry about how the offense is doing, each guy just needs to go out there and try to throw up a zero or limit the damage if he comes into a bad situation," Lombard said.
The Broncos got all the runs they would need Wednesday night in the first inning, jumping on Bulldogs starter Justin Wilson for three runs. With one out, David Hoffmire walked, Matt Long singled, and Gabe Alcantar also walked to load the bases with Carl Bacon at the plate.
A wild pitch from Wilson allowed Hoffmire to score, and after Bacon walked to reload the bases, Ryan Conan drove in the final two runs of the inning with a line drive through the left side for a base hit.
Long had a pair of hits Wednesday night for the Broncos, while Conan's two RBIs upped his team-leading total to 15 on the year.
After a first inning in which he got out of the two-baserunner jam, Brandt cruised to the fifth before running into some trouble. Ozzie Lewis, who went 2-for-4 on the night for the Bulldogs, led the inning off with a double down the left-field line. Although Brandt got the next two outs, Lewis advanced to third on the second, a groundout to first, and scored on a wild pitch.
Lewis struck again in the seventh, leading off the inning with a home run to left-center off of Sean O'Neill to pull the Bulldogs to 3-2.
At that point, Kalush came in and retired all six batters he faced before handing things over to Lombard.