Broncos turn up the heat, add to their record this weekend
THE SANTA CLARA
April 2, 2014
The Santa Clara Broncos have won six of their last seven games, taking two out of three in their series against the University of the Pacific last weekend and beating University of Nevada on Monday night.
Steven Wilson opened against Pacific, but had a tough start, allowing four runs in the first inning.
But Wilson soon settled down, and allowed only one more run before coming out of the game in the seventh.
Led by shortstop Jose Vizcaino Jr. and left fielder T.J. Braff, Santa Clara fought back from their four-run deficit. The Broncos’ bats found life in the bottom of the third, when Vizcaino belted a two-run homer to left. A Braff RBI single that same inning cut the deficit to one run.
On a sacrifice fly by Braff, the Broncos added another run in the fifth inning, and from there, the bats continued to roll, scoring at least one run in the final three innings of the game.
Santa Clara ended up with a 9-5 victory.
Santa Clara continued its winning ways the next night, defeating Pacific 3-2.
Sophomore Kevin George had a strong start, going six innings while allowing just two runs.
On the offensive end, Vizcaino carried the load, driving in all three of the Broncos’ runs.
His two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth gave Santa Clara the one-run lead.
That was all the support the Bronco pitching staff needed.
Mitchell White threw a perfect seventh inning, and closer Reece Karalus was absolutely dominant.
He struck out five of the six hitters he faced in his two-inning save.
The Broncos tried for the sweep in Sunday’s game, but another fast start from Pacific was too much to overcome.
The Tigers scored three runs in the first inning off of Evan Brisentine and then added another three in the top of the third.
Despite the quick six run deficit, Santa Clara still found a way to keep the game close.
“We just kept competing,” said Head Coach Dan O’Brien. “We don’t stop competing. That’s the one thing about this team I love and the one identity we want to have as a program.”
Santa Clara’s bats awoke in the bottom of the fifth, when the Broncos tallied four runs, cutting Pacific’s lead to two.
The Tigers built their lead to three in the top of the eighth, which was just enough, as Pacific secured a 7-6 victory.
Following the disappointing loss, Santa Clara faced a much tougher opponent in Nevada, ranked 26th in the country.
But the Broncos were determined to get the win against the Wolfpack.
“It’s always good in baseball (because) you have the next day to bounce back,” said catcher Stevie Berman. “We’re just trying to play every day like it’s an important game and not take any game for granted.”
Freshman Eric Lex was terrific for the Broncos, allowing zero runs and just one hit in four innings of work.
“We’re pretty excited that (Lex) has developed into the starter he has,” O’Brien said.
A two-run shot by Berman in the third gave Santa Clara the lead, and Kyle Cortopassi drove in another run to make the score 3-0.
This was more than enough for Santa Clara, as the Broncos’ bullpen was lights out.
Jason Seever threw four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits.
“To have (Seever), who really was a staple in our bullpen last year, have such a great outing against such a good offensive team is huge for this team,” O’Brien said.
Seever turned it over to Karalus, who recorded his eighth save of the year in Santa Clara’s 3-0 victory.
Nevada’s offense has been lethal, averaging over seven runs per game, yet they couldn’t muster a single run against the Broncos.
“It’s great to have our guys bounce back from a really tough day,” O’Brien said.
Santa Clara looks to carry their recent momentum into today’s game against the University of San Francisco, as they open a three-game series at Stephen Schott Stadium.
Contact Andrew Slap at email@example.com .