SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the first game of a three-game series, Santa Clara baseball topped Northern Colorado by a final of 7-1 on Friday night. The win puts the Broncos at 5-5 and moves the Bears to 2-3.
The two teams return to the field tomorrow Sat., March 2 at 3 p.m. before wrapping-up the series on Sun., March 3 at 1 p.m.
"On a Friday night you need a guy who's going to preserve your bullpen and Mike chewed up innings," said Santa Clara pitching coach Gabe Ribas. "He wasn't at his best tonight but he kept coming back and competing in the zone when he fell behind. He did a good job of picking himself up. The kid just competes from start to finish and that's what you love about Mike Couch. You know he's ready to go and is going to give you what he's got "
Mike Couch (2-1, 3.43) picked up the win while throwing 7.0 innings of shutout ball in the start. He allowed five hits with four walks and nine strikeouts. The Broncos' offense was led by Greg Harisis who went 2-3 with a double and two runs scored. Matt Ozanne was 1-4 with two RBI while Justin Viele was 1-3 with two runs scored and two hit-by-pitch. Quinton Perry and Casey Munoz each added one RBI.
Chris Hammer (0-2, 6.43) started for Northern Colorado and got a loss in 2.0 innings. Hammer allowed five runs, three earned, on five hits and surrendered two walks while striking out three. On offense Nick Miller went 2-3 with a walk and Harrison Lambert picked up a RBI. Four other Bears collected one hit each.
Mike Couch escaped a bases loaded jam in the top of the first but was able to escape without a run coming across.
Viele led off the bottom of the first with a single and stole second. Harisis doubled to right but Viele could only get to third as the right fielder nearly made a terrific diving catch. Perry was intentionally walked to load the bases and Ozanne singled up the middle to bring in two runs.
The Broncos scored again in the bottom of the second to make the lead 3-0. Kyle DeMerritt led off with a walk and stole second. Zach Looney grounded out to advance DeMerritt and Takahashi knocked in the run after Viele was hit by a pitch. Harisis singled over the second baseman and moved to third on a throwing error by the right fielder that allowed two more runs to score.
Harisis led off the home half of the fourth with a walk and promptly stole second to move into scoring position. Perry doubled down the left field line to extend the Bronco lead to 6-0. He moved to third on a fly out by M. Ozanne and scored on a sac fly by Munoz.
The first two runners reached on singles in the top of the sixth but Couch was able to get out of the jam with a caught stealing and two strikeouts.
D.J. Zapata came into the game and allowed a triple to Ben Netzel. Harrison Lambert followed with a RBI groundout to get Northern Colorado on the board. Zapata got the next out to seal the Bronco win.
Game Notes: First pitch was at 6:00 … Time of game was 2:44 … Attendance was 370 … Northern Colorado loaded the bases in the top of the first but was unable to score … Chris Heckert came in and pitched a scoreless eighth … Mac Hess made his Bronco debut as a defensive replacement at first base in the top of the ninth.