SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara baseball team (1-3) picked up its first win of the year, defeating Albany (0-2), 10-6, in a back-and-forth contest tonight at Schott Stadium.
Sophomore Matt Ozanne led the Bronco offense, going 3-for-4 at the plate with 3RBIs, including his first homerun of the year. Pat Stover was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with one RBI. Senior Curtis Wagner also did well, batting .500 on the night with one RBI. Redshirt junior Jason Westerberg picked up his first save of the season, pitching four innings with no earned runs and only surrendering three hits. Westerberg dazzled in the ninth, striking out all three batters in the inning to end the game.
"Westy [Westerberg] gave us a big lift tonight," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "He kept it real simple, got ahead in the count and made them try to hit other way. He pitched off-speed effectively and had good attack and poise all night."
"To get the first win was great, said O'Brien. "It wasn't exactly perfect but that's ok, it's never going to be perfect. We battled and fought our way through and got big help out of bullpen. Westy did a heck of job and our offense did a heck of job."
The Danes struck first in the game when Josh Nethaway doubled to score Brian Bullard. Starting sophomore pitcher Brock Simon worked himself into a jam afterwards, loading the bases with two outs, but a groundout helped him to end the inning.
Santa Clara equalized in the bottom of the first in unusual fashion. Viele reached after getting hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a balk, and reached third on a groundout by Kyle DeMerritt before scoring on a wild pitch.
In the fifth, Albany took a 4-3 lead on two hits, including a two-run homer by Greg Muller, but Santa Clara rallied to take a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the inning on five hits. Freshman catcher Zach Looney started the fire with a single down the right line with two outs already on the board. DeMerritt's single then scored Looney from second. Senior Curtis Wagner then gave the Broncos the lead with his double to center field. Matt Ozanne and Stover's singles scored two more to make it 7-4 before the Great Danes could get the final out of the inning.
Westerberg came in for Simon in the top of the sixth. Simon gave up five hits and six runs, striking out three but got his first win of the season.
"Brock is very hard to beat when he has command of his fastball and tonight he struggled with it a little bit," said O'Brien. "But he pitched out of some adversity and did a good job tonight and did better than his numbers tell."
Albany pulled to within one in the top of the sixth, but Ozanne's two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, the Broncos' first of the season, put Santa Clara up 9-6.
Looney drove in the Broncos' final run of the night in the bottom of the eighth.
"We struggled offensively at South Carolina, at least after the first game," said O'Brien. "We talked about sticking to our plan tonight and doing what we do well. When we put the ball in play with two strikes and hit hard ground balls and hit hard ground balls and line drives good things are going to happen."
The two teams will continue the four-game series tomorrow at Schott Stadium with a doubleheader slated to begin at 1 p.m.