Baseball Falls to Portland in Series Opener

Baseball Falls to Portland in Series Opener
 
PORTLAND, Ore. – A five-run seventh inning by Portland broke a 20 consecutive inning scoreless streak by the Santa Clara baseball pitching staff to lift the Pilots to a 5-3 win over the Broncos in the West Coast Conference series opener on Friday night. 
 
Santa Clara (9-30, 2-14 West Coast Conference) was cruising with a 3-0 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh behind starter Russell Grant II.   The junior left-hander had allowed just two hits while striking out four through the first six frames but issued a leadoff walk, his fifth of the game, to Tracye Tammaro.  
 
Having thrown 105 pitches, Grant was relieved in favor of Brandon Buckley.  The right-hander picked up an out before allowing two Pilots base runners on a walk and a hit to load the bases.  Broncos head coach Rusty Filter elected to bring in Keegan McCarville but the next four Pilot hitters reached base on a pair of base hits and walks to push across five runs to take a 5-3 lead.  Blake Porter and Jace McKinney each had two-RBI hits with the bases loaded.  
 
The Broncos collected 11 hits in the game with six of those coming in the first two frames which led to all three of its runs against Portland (22-20, 4-15 WCC) starter Chris Clements.  
 
In the first, Andre Nnebe, Dawson Brigman and Tony Boetto singled with Boetto's hit bringing home Nnebe to give SCU a 1-0 lead. 
 
Santa Clara added two runs in the second to go up 3-0 behind Cam Allie's RBI squeeze bunt and Nnebe's RBI double.  
 
The Broncos out hit the Pilots 11-to-5 but could not push any more runs the rest of the evening despite putting two runners on base in the eighth and ninth frames.  
 
Portland closer Connor Knutson closed out the game to pick up his ninth save of the season for the winning pitcher Christian Peters (2-2).  
 
McCarville (3-7) was saddled with the loss.  
 
Nnebe, Brigman and Gavin Maloney each collected two hits with Nnebe reaching base four times from the leadoff spot.  
 
Santa Clara will look to bounce back on Saturday when it sends Holden Bernhardt (0-5, 6.66) to the mound against Eli Morse (2-6, 3.06).  The first pitch is at 6 p.m. 
 
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