April 7, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Two big innings on opposite ends of the scoresheet made the difference in Saturday's rubber game at Benedetti Diamond between the Santa Clara Broncos and San Francisco Dons, as the Broncos posted four runs in the second and ninth innings to come away with the 10-6 win and the series. The win keeps the Broncos tied for second place at 5-2 in the West Coast Conference.
Santa Clara (17-17, 5-2 WCC) finally returns home this weekend after completing a stretch of 13 straight games on the road. The Broncos will host the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a three-game series at Stephen Schott Stadium, with Friday's opener set for a 7 p.m. start, and Saturday and Sunday's contests set to get underway at 1 p.m.
Tommy Medica provided the exclamation point Saturday to his outstanding week at the plate, going 5-for-5 with a double and two runs scored to finish the week with an eye-popping .706 average (12-for-17) with a double, two triples, and a slugging percentage of 1.154.
Ryan Conan added to his team-leading RBI total this season with a ninth-inning grand slam, while Gabe Alcantar drove in three runs on two hits, including a double, and shortstop Jon Karcich went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, and two RBIs.
After both teams stranded a pair of runners in their halves of the first inning, the Broncos made the most of their second opportunity the next inning. SCU loaded the bases as David Hoffmire walked, Patrick Glenn reached on a bunt single, and all runners advanced safely on Nathan Faulkner's fielder's choice. That set things up for Karcich's double to center, which drove in Hoffmire and Glenn for the 2-0 lead. Medica followed up with an RBI single to left, and two batters later, Alcantar's one-out sacrifice fly to right brought in Karcich to complete the four-run second.
The Dons, though, got to Bronco starter Donald Brandt in the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to start the inning from Mitchell Bialoskey and Jonathan Norfolk, which, one out later, were followed by Blake Nelson's second home run of the year. Nelson's shot cut the SCU lead to 4-3 after four innings.
The home run was Nelson's only hit of the game, while Bialoskey had a pair of hits and scored twice, and Norfolk led the Dons with three hits and two RBIs.
USF added to the lead the following inning, starting with a Joey Railey single that chased Brandt from the game after four runs on five hits in four innings.
Alex Rivers took the hill for the Broncos, and got a pair of fielder's choices from the first two batters he faced, until the duo of Bialoskey and Norfolk struck again. Bialoskey's single put runners on first and second, and Norfolk drove them both in with a double to right to give USF the 5-4 lead.
In the seventh, the Broncos got a one-out single from Karcich and followed it up with a Medica double to center to put two runners in scoring position. At this point, USF starter Tommy Peale was replaced by lefty Matt Baugh. Peale gave up six runs on seven hits in six and a third innings of work.
After Baugh got Matt Long to pop up to short, he was replaced by right-hander John Quine to face the right-handed batting Alcantar. Alcantar wasted no time welcoming Quine to the contest, ripping a ground-rule double that plated Karcich and Medica and returned the advantage to SCU at 6-5.
Rivers shutout the Dons in the seventh, and closer Jeff Lombard took over to start the eighth. After getting a pair of fly outs to start the inning, Lombard walked Bobby Ethel, and gave up consecutive singles to Tavo Hall and Joey Railey which allowed Ethel to score the tying run.
Yet the Broncos wasted no time regaining the lead in the ninth, as they put three runners on base with base hits that never left the infield. Medica's infield single was followed by bunt hits from Long and Alcantar. In the next at-bat, Conan offered at a 2-1 delivery from USF pitcher Brian Anderson and drove it over the left-field fence for a grand slam and what ended up being an insurmountable 10-6 lead.
Lombard faced only four batters in the bottom of the ninth, finishing off the game and picking up his third win of the year. Anderson took the loss for the Dons, his second of the season.