SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball fell in the opening game of the three-game series against Gonzaga on Thursday night by a score of 7-6. The Broncos led 6-5 but allowed two runs in the top of the eighth inning.
Gonzaga (18-14, 9-4 WCC) starting pitcher Eli Morgan (6-1), who entered the game with an ERA of 2.02, allowed six earned runs by Santa Clara (7-26, 3-7 WCC) but still managed to get the win. Redshirt sophomore Eric Lex (2-6) was handed the loss for SCU. He threw 5.1 innings in relief and allowed five runs (four earned) while striking out seven batters and walking four.
Junior right fielder Niko Holm, who went 4-for-5 at the plate and scored three runs, hit his first home run as a Bronco in the first inning to give SCU a 2-0 lead. Freshman center fielder Andre Nnebe scored on the home run as he singled prior to Holm's shot to left field.
The Bulldogs quickly responded in the top of the second inning with two runs of their own to tie the game. Freshman right-handed pitcher Brandon Buckley started the game and threw the first two innings for the Broncos. He walked two batters and then surrendered a two-RBI double to Jace VanDeBrake to tie the game.
Lex entered the game in the third inning for the Broncos. He had a clean third but allowed three runs in the top of the fourth as the Bulldogs extended the lead to 5-2. Lex forced a fly out and a strike out but the Bulldogs then recorded four straight hits to score their three runs. Gunnar Schubert and VanDeBrake both singled before Jake Roberts doubled to score two runs. Sam Brown then singled to score Roberts.
Junior second baseman Evan Haberle, who was 3-for-3 at the dish, homered in the bottom of the fourth inning, his second of the season, to cut the lead to two runs.
The Broncos tied things up in the bottom of the fifth inning as Haberle hit a two-RBI single with the bases loaded. Nnebe, Holm and senior left fielder Tyler Meditz each singled before Haberle hit them home to even the score.
Holm scored on a sacrifice fly from redshirt freshman designated hitter Ryan McCarthy to give SCU a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Bulldogs scored two runs and reclaimed the lead in the top of the eighth inning. Lex allowed two singles and a walk to load the bases. Senior right-handed pitcher Jacob Steffens replaced Lex on the mound and allowed a two-RBI single by Daniel Fredrickson.
Wyatt Mills entered the game in the eighth inning and threw two-scoreless innings with four strikeouts to earn his sixth save of the season.
Parking: Parking is available in the Guadalupe lot, adjacent to 455 El Camino Real. The Guadalupe lot is reserved beginning 60 minutes before game time through the end of the event for free parking. Baseball parking is no longer allowed in the lot behind Schott Stadium's left field wall. ADA parking is available in the lot directly in front of the main gates; there is no general public parking in this lot. Overflow parking is available in the Leavey Center lot, located on Accolti Way off El Camino Real. Spectators who plan to arrive more than an hour prior to game time on weekdays are encouraged to purchase a parking permit for the Leavey lot. During the weekend, campus parking facilities are free (except for permit required locations). Click here for a campus map and parking restrictions.
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