Posted: Mar 18, 2018
SAN DIEGO – Santa Clara baseball beat San Diego, 16-7, to take two out of three games in the West Coast Conference opening series and in the process matching last season's win total. It is the first conference opening series win for the Broncos since 2008 when it also took two out of three from San Diego.
The Broncos (13-5, 2-1 WCC) got productive offensive output throughout the lineup with nine different players getting a hit, 10 scoring at least one run and six driving in at least a run. In total, the Santa Clara lineup collected 15 hits and took advantage of 11 walks and two hit batsmen issued by the San Diego pitching staff. Eight of Santa Clara's 15 hits went for extra base hits.
Santa Clara battered Torero (10-10, 1-2 WCC) starter Nick Sprengel, a preseason Golden Spikes watch list player, knocking him out in the third inning. Sprengel allowed seven runs on four hits and issued five walks in his two innings of work.
The top three in the order drove in 10 of the 16 runs for Santa Clara with the bottom three in the lineup setting the table for them. Leadoff batter Jason Dicochea (1-for-4, R, 2 RBIs) got the ball rolling for the Broncos in the second inning when he hit a two-run single with the bases loaded to put Santa Clara up, 2-1. The Broncos added three more runs in the inning on a bases clearing double by Jake Brodt (2-for-5, R, 4 RBIs) to break the game open to give SCU a 5-1 lead after two.
In the third inning, Santa Clara added five more runs including a three-run jack by Andre Nnebe, his first home run of the season, who returned to action this series after missing the year from an injury.
The bottom three batters in the lineup scored nine of the 16 runs including four by Grant Meylan (2-for-5, 4 R, RBI) and three by Joe Becht (2-for-2, 3 R, 3 RBIs, 2 HRs). Becht supplied his own runs hitting a pair of solo home runs, doubling his career home run total, in the fifth and eighth innings.
Bronco starter Travis Howard (1-0) earned the win going 5 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and three runs, all earned. Sprengel (1-1) took the loss for the Toreros.
Defensively, Santa Clara did not commit a single error in the series.
Santa Clara has now won four consecutive series and will look to continue its streak when it faces Saint Mary's for a weekend series starting on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT.