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Late Rally Lifts Broncos To 5-2 Lead in Portland

March 30, 2007

Box Score

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Santa Clara baseball team got its West Coast Conference schedule off to the right start Friday afternoon, scoring three runs in the ninth inning to break open a tie game and capture a 5-2 victory over the Portland Pilots. SCU, trailing 2-1 heading into the eighth inning in what up to that point had been a pitcher's duel, rallied to score four runs over the final two innings to grab the win.

The Broncos (14-14, 1-0) will return to action tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. in the second game of the three-game set. Sunday's finale is also set for a 1 p.m. start.

Freshman Tommy Medica had the finest game of his collegiate career Friday, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and scoring three runs. Fellow freshman Jon Karcich drove in two runs in the ninth with his only hit of the game, and sophomore Evan LeBlanc's sacrifice fly in the ninth drove in the go-ahead run.

Trailing 2-1 in the top of the eighth inning, the Broncos equalized by manufacturing a run off of Portland starter David Gruener to spoil his solid outing. Medica led off with a single, was sacrificed to second by Karcich, and subsequently driven in on Nathan Faulkner's single to left.

Gruener ended up with a no-decision after allowing only two runs on six hits over eight innings for the Pilots.

Bronco reliever Alex Rivers retired the side in the Portland half of the eighth, and following Santa Clara's three-run burst in the ninth, earned his first collegiate win in relief.

With Josh Roberts on the mound for Portland in the ninth, Gabe Alcantar opened the inning by reaching on a two-base error by Pilots left-fielder Justin Pierce. After being sacrificed to third by Ryan Conan, and following an intentional walk to Carl Bacon, Alcantar scored the go-ahead run on LeBlanc's sacrifice fly to right. Medica's second double of the game put runners on second and third, setting the table for Karcich's two-run single to make it 5-2 Broncos. The three unearned runs sent Roberts to his first loss of the year.

Closer Jeff Lombard worked a quick 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save of the year.

The teams opened the scoring by trading runs in the third, as David Hoffmire drove Medica in for a 1-0 Bronco lead. It was short-lived, however, as Pierce came home on Danny Meier's bunt single to tie things up. Meier then scored Portland's second run in the fifth, coming home on an RBI groundout.