Feb. 2, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Sophomore Matt Wickswat proved Friday night why he is the Santa Clara baseball team's staff ace, scattering six hits over six scoreless innings and striking out 10 batters in the Broncos' 8-0 win over the Utah Utes at Stephen Schott Stadium. Wickswat matched a career-high with his 10 strikeouts in the contest as the Broncos captured their 2007 home opener.
Santa Clara (2-2) continues the weekend series with the Utes Saturday with a 1 p.m. contest followed by Sunday's 12 p.m. clash.
Offensively, Matt Long went 3-for-4 with a double, Gabe Alcantar and Tommy Medica each had a pair of hits, and Juan Parra added a pinch-single that drove in a pair of runs in SCU's four-run seventh inning which effectively put the game away.
"Matt did a nice job for us tonight. The reason we won this game is because of our pitching, there's no doubt about that," said head coach Mark O'Brien. "Wickswat set the tone, and it was good to see him come back and do a great job for us tonight after kind of a tough outing last weekend in Hawaii."
Chad Cullers took the loss for the Utes, who were opening up their 2007 campaign Friday night. Cullers gave up only one run and four hits in four innings, but SCU punished the Utah bullpen to the tune of nine hits and seven runs in their final four innings.
Although the Bronco defense committed four errors in the contest, none of them came back to haunt the team as Wickswat got out of three separate jams in the game to keep Utah off the board. With runners on the corners in the first, he struck out Jay Brossman before getting John Welsh to ground out to end the threat. In the third, Brossman singled to center with runners on first and second, but Long came up big defensively for the Broncos, gunning Nick Lowery down at the plate to maintain the 1-0 lead. Wickswat then got Welsh looking to end the inning.
"Basically it comes down to what we've been taught from day one, just getting to the next pitch," Wickswat said afterwards. "I think that's one of the biggest keys we have as a pitching staff, competing on every pitch even when innings get extended like that."
Single runs in the second, fifth, and sixth got SCU out to a 3-0 lead through six innings, and in the seventh, Evan LeBlanc's one-out single drove in Long, before Parra came up two batters later and slapped a line drive down the right field line to drive in a pair and open up a 6-0 lead for the Broncos.
From there, freshmen Alex Rivers and Matt Hiserman combined to keep the Utes scoreless over the remaining three innings, allowing only one hit, collectively.