PORTLAND, ORE. – Santa Clara baseball lost the series finale to the Portland Pilots on Sunday afternoon by a score of 3-2. The Bronco pitchers had a strong outing but the offense was only able to produce two unearned runs on the day.
Portland (6-21, 2-7 WCC) took an early lead on Santa Clara (6-21, 2-4 WCC) and rode a strong performance from the pitching staff. Starting pitcher Kevin Baker (2-4) earned the win as he threw 6.1 innings, allowed four hits and two unearned runs while striking out 11 batters. Jordan Horak threw 1.2 scoreless innings and Marty Luckenbach earned the save. The two relievers did not allow a hit.
The Pilots opened up the game's scoring in the bottom half of the first inning. Matt Kelly hit a leadoff single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and made his way to third base after a groundout. Kevin Wade hit him home on a fielder's choice to give the Pilots a 1-0 lead.
Kelly sparked the Pilots in the bottom of the third as well. He singled to lead things off, stole second base and then came around to score on two straight groundouts with Wade recording his second RBI of the game.
Junior right-handed pitcher Michael Bono had a solid outing for the Broncos, throwing 6.0 innings while allowing four hits and three earned runs. He also struck out five batters and walked three but was dealt the loss.
The Broncos tied the game in the top of the sixth inning with two unearned runs. Sophomore John Cresto led the inning off with a single and then advanced to third on a double by freshman center fielder Andre Nnebe. After two outs, Cresto scored on an error by Kelly at shortstop. Kelly then recorded another error on the ensuing at-bat, which allowed Nnebe to cross home plate and tie the game at two.
SCU only recorded four hits on the game and went 1-for-12 at the plate with runners on base, leaving eight runners stranded.
Portland responded in the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run by Wade to retake the lead by a score of 3-2 and end the game's scoring.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Brandon Buckley threw two scoreless innings in relief for the Broncos. He and Bono combined to hold the Pilots 1-of-8 with runners on base and they each only walked one batter.
Up Next: Santa Clara will face San Jose State at Stephen Schott Stadium on Tuesday at 6 p.m. PT.
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