May 15, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - For the second day in a row, the Santa Clara University baseball team battled through adversity to keep its division championship hopes alive as a ninth inning RBI single by David Hoffmire gave the Broncos a 6-5 victory over Pepperdine Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Hoffmire singled home freshman Robert Perry from second base to complete the team's second-straight come-from behind victory and the third in four games. In Sunday's series finale at San Francisco last weekend, Santa Clara scored five runs in the top of the ninth to take an improbable 7-3 victory at Benedetti Diamond. On Tuesday night, the Broncos had bases loaded with no outs in the eighth inning, but dropped a 3-1 decision at second-ranked Stanford.
"I can't say enough good things about our guys the last several games," said Santa Clara head coach Mark O'Brien. "They've had a never quit attitude and have done the things that it takes to win tight games. One of the great things about last night and today's games is the fact that there are different guys coming through in the clutch. Last night it was pinch hitter Nathan Faulkner and today it was David Hoffmire, who entered the game in the eighth inning. We've got another critical game on Sunday and certainly we can't take anything for granted going into that one. Every game is a big game from here on out."
Santa Clara improved to 23-28 on the season and 13-13 in West Coast Conference play and is four games behind the Waves in the West Division standings with four games remaining. Pepperdine dropped to 23-28 on the season and 17-9 in league play.
The two teams will play the final game of the series Sunday at 1 p.m. Left-handed senior John Redmond (5-2) is scheduled to start for the Broncos, while right-handed freshman Robert Della Grotta (1-4) is slated to open the game for the Waves.
Junior Anthony Rea (5-1) earned the win for Santa Clara on Saturday after pitching two complete innings and not allowing a hit. Steve Kleen, who started at first base for the Waves and entered the game in relief for the second-straight contest, took the loss to drop to 3-3 on the year.
Center fielder Perry went 3-for-4 at the plate for the Broncos and drove in three runs. He also crossed the plate twice, helping account for five of SCU's six scores in the game. Third baseman Shawn Epidendio went an inspired 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and run scored. Will Thompson also registered a two-hit game for the Broncos.
As it did in Friday night's game, Pepperdine jumped out to an early lead and appeared headed towards a high-scoring day at the plate. The Waves scored two runs in the top of the first inning as David Uribes scored from second on a Luke Salas single to right field then Salas scored on a fielding error by Bronco second baseman Dustin Realini.
In the top of the third, the Waves added another run on a solo home rum the easily cleared the left field scoreboard by catcher Chad Tracy. The freshman from Claremont, Calif. would also belt a two-run homer in the seventh inning.
The Broncos got on the scoreboard with a single run in the bottom of the fourth as Epidendio singled to center field to score Crosta from second base. Santa Clara then went ahead in the bottom of the sixth when it scored four runs off starter Kea Kometani.
Epidendio and David Mandley opened the inning with consecutive singles up the middle of the field. Michael Lange's sacrifice bunt advaned both runners then Epidendio scored on a wild pitch by Kometani. After Ryan Chiarelli walked, Perry hit his eighth home run of the season just over the right field wall to give the Broncos a 5-3 lead.
Pepperdine responded with Tracy's second homer, this time off reliever Thomas Van Buskirk, to tie the game at 5-5. Rea came into the game to relieve Van Buskirk with nobody out and two runners on base in the top of the eighth inning. The Palo Alto, Calif. native forced Uribes to ground out to Lange, Kleen to strike out looking and Blake Lewis to fly out to right field.
The Waves went three-up and three-down in the top of the ninth to give Santa Clara a chance for heroics for the second-straight game. Perry singled to right field to open the bottom half of the inning. Jason Matteucci then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt down the first base line to advance Perry to second. Will Thompson walked to put two Broncos on base and Hoffmire blasted a single down the right field line for the game-winner.