SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Santa Clara Broncos clinched their second consecutive West Coast Conference series win with a 3-1 victory over the Portland Pilots Sunday afternoon at Schott Stadium. Redshirt freshman starting pitcher Steven Wilson threw 8.0 innings while allowing only one run and redshirt senior designated hitter Quinton Perry drove in the game-winning RBI on a two-run triple in the sixth.
Wilson (W, 1-2) allowed one earned run on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts to earn his first collegiate victory in Sunday's start for the Broncos (13-18, 4-5 WCC). The Pilots (7-25, 1-11 WCC) scored their only run of the game on a bases-loaded hit by pitch from sophomore first baseman Kevin Farley in the first. With one out and the bases loaded, Wilson recorded a strikeout and a groundout to keep the deficit at 1-0.
"Steven had great presence all day," head coach Dan O'Brien said. "He stayed composed during a tough first inning and then settled in to have a great day on the mound."
The Littleton, Colo. native held the Pilots to 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, marking the second straight game that Portland went hitless in those situations. Wilson did not face more than four batters in any single inning after the first, and ended his outing with a 1-2-3 eighth.
"It just feels really good because we can trust our pitchers to go out there and keep us in the game throughout the entire day," Perry said. "We trust that our offense is going to figure it out at some point, and that's all we really need from the guys. They've been doing a really good job of that."
Sophomore center fielder Kert Woods and sophomore third baseman Kyle Cortopassi led off the first with back-to-back singles for the Broncos against Portland's redshirt senior starter Colin Feldtman (L, 1-5). He finished with a line of 6.0 innings pitched, seven hits, three earned runs, one walk and four strikeouts.
Cortopassi led all batters with three hits, while Woods and senior left fielder Casey Munoz recorded two hits apiece for the home side. Santa Clara put its leadoff hitter aboard in five of eight offensive innings Sunday afternoon.
"Our leadoff guys are doing a great job of getting us going, and it starts with Kert Woods, who's been doing a great job of filling in for [Greg Harisis] in the leadoff spot," O'Brien said.
Perry's two-RBI triple to center put Santa Clara ahead 2-1 in the sixth. He scored one batter later on senior first baseman Mac Hess' sacrifice fly to center to make the score 3-1.
"[Feldtman] had been throwing me a lot of breaking balls throughout, and I thought because I was right on time with the breaking ball before that, he might try and sneak one by me," Perry said of the 2-2 fastball. "I just tried to keep a consistent swing and finally got a hold of one."
"Quinton is letting go of bad at bats and bad swings a lot faster than he ever has," O'Brien said. "He's handling adversity better than ever, and that's been his key to success. In fact, handling adversity — ultimately — is the key to this entire program's success, and we're getting better and better at it."
Sophomore closer Reece Karalus (SV, 6) struck out the first and last batters he faced in a scoreless ninth to earn his second save in as many days. Junior third baseman Cody Lenahan — the only Pilot to reach base against Karalus — did so by way of the game's lone error with two outs.
"Reece followed with a dominant ninth once again," O'Brien said. "He's thriving in that role and it's fun to watch."
Santa Clara heads to Nevada for a midweek game Tuesday, April 8 at 6 p.m. before a weekend series at Gonzaga April 11-13. The Broncos will be back at Schott Stadium Tuesday, April 15 for a 6 p.m. first pitch against San Jose State.
Game Notes: First pitch was at 1:03 p.m. … time of game was 2:10 … attendance was 345 … Portland used the same starting nine in all three games of the series … Karalus was credited with his fifth save following Saturday's game, and recorded his sixth save Sunday.