SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball earned its second victory of the season on Friday thanks to a stellar pitching performance from senior right-handed pitcher Jacob Steffens. The Broncos defeated Northwestern 3-2 with Steffens throwing a complete game and allowing just one earned run.
In his first-career complete game, Steffens threw 80 strikes out of his total 112 pitches. He carried a perfect game through five innings and a no-hitter threw 6.1 innings. Steffens earned his first win of the season allowing four hits, one earned run (two runs total) while striking out 11 batters and not walking any. His 11 strikeouts tied a career high.
"The key to Jake's outing was his aggressiveness," head coach Dan O'Brien said." He went right after guys and was ahead all night. The defense played well behind him and gave him the run support he needed. Tonight was a solid team win."
The Broncos (2-6) struck first in the game when sophomore third baseman John Cresto homered to left center on the second pitch by Joe Schindler in the bottom of the first inning. It was the first time Cresto has led off this season and he did not disappoint in his first plate appearance. It was his third home run of the season and the ninth of his career. That was his lone hit of the day in at-bats and he also reached base via intentional walk.
"Coach (O'Brien) gave me the opportunity to start off strong," Cresto said. "I thought that trusting my training and preparation was important. Leading off, there's a big influence on that, but to stay strong and keep your training up but also to stay relaxed, that's the most important thing. After that, it just happened…it just happened and it was good."
Josh Davis relieved Schindler, who earned the loss, in the bottom of the second inning. The next five innings were scoreless until freshman center fielder Andre Nnebe homered to left field in the bottom of the seventh off Davis to give SCU a 2-0 lead. It was the first-career home run for Nnebe. Junior right fielder Grant Meylan drove in freshman second baseman Zach Walsh to round out the scoring for the Broncos.
Matt Hopfner single through the left side to get things started for the Wildcats (0-7) in the top of the ninth inning. Alex Erro reached first base on a fielder's choice while Hopfner advanced to second base on a throwing error by junior first baseman Jake Brodt. Connor Lind doubled to right field to score both runners (Hopfner earned and Erro unearned). Charlie Maxwell's liner to sophomore shortstop Austin Reyes ended the game and gave SCU the win.
Up Next: Game one of Saturday's doubleheader has been moved up an hour to start at noon due to inclement weather in the forecast. Game two will start 30 minutes after game one ends. Game four of the series is set for Sunday at noon PT.
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