By Sydney Sanchez
Despite two losses this past Friday and Saturday, the Santa Clara baseball team was able to end its spring campaign with a win on Sunday against the Loyola Marymount University Lions. Although the win came on the last day of the regular season, the Broncos avoided a winless record in conference play.
“It was a great way to end the season, especially for our seniors,” said Assistant Coach Keith Beauregard. “We continued to work hard all year and put together some good baseball at the end of the season. A lot of our seniors really stepped up in that last game and did a great job to end the year on a good note.”
The final series of the season started off on a high note for the Broncos. Friday’s game began with back-to-back doubles by Justin Viele and Zach Looney. The early offensive output helped Santa Clara jump out to a one-run lead.However, the Lions responded with six runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
Despite being down by five runs, Looney and Casey Munoz hit consecutive singles that put them on base to later score on C.J. Jacobe’s third-inning home run. With the home run, the Broncos were able to close the deficit to two runs.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Lions’ Colton Plaia homered for a second time, once again increasing the lead for LMU.
Not to be outdone, Bronco outfielder Matt Ozanne hit a home run, driving in two runs in the top of the sixth inning.
The Lions ended up running away with the game in the bottom of the sixth after padding their lead.
The deficit proved to be insurmountable for the Broncos. LMU took the win by a final score of 12-6.
Saturday’s game proved to be a pitchers’ duel. Santa Clara senior starter Mike Couch allowed two runs on just five hits with three walks and two strikeouts, but that was not enough. LMU’s Patrick McGrath pitched a complete game, allowing only one run on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
The Broncos repeated their early offensive performance from Friday and managed to grab a one-run lead as a result of Jacobe’s two-out hit that knocked in a run. Santa Clara was able to hang on to their lead until the third inning, when the Lions scored once to tie the game.
LMU scored the eventual game-winning run in the fourth inning after Plaia scored on a wild pitch by Couch.
Down by a run, the Broncos had a chance to tie the game in the eighth inning. Senior Drew Ozanne singled and junior Kyle DeMerritt was hit by a pitch , putting two Broncos on base with only one out. However, Viele hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Lions put the Broncos away quickly in the ninth inning, claiming the win by a score of 2-1.
Santa Clara came to life on Sunday – the final game of the regular season and last chance to etch a
victory in the conference win column.
The last day of the regular season opened up with a quick LMU one-run advantage.
After a scoreless second and third inning, the Broncos responded in the top of the fourth inning.
Sophomore T.J. Braff’s strike-out resulted in a double steal that scored Looney.
LMU continued the back-and-forth scoring in the home half of the fourth inning. The Lions used a sacrifice bunt to give themselves an insurance run and a lead at 2-1.
The Bronco offensive eventually ignited in the sixth and seventh innings. Drew Ozanne doubled and drove in three runs to put Santa Clara on top for the first time in the game.
Santa Clara also used a solid seventh inning to pad its lead. Matt Ozanne singled to left field, bringing Looney home to increase the score to 5-2.
LMU tried to close the gap in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and only one out. Lion Chris Barnett reached on a fielder’s choice to bring a man home. Kevin Garcia followed with a single that plated another run. Despite the offensive onslaught, Santa Clara still maintained a slim 5-4 lead after the inning.
Two easy outs in the bottom of the ninth made Santa Clara’s win appear imminent. However, pitcher Tommy Nance walked two Lions to put the game in question. Despite the close call, he was able to get the third out and give Santa Clara their first conference win.
The Broncos finished their season with an overall record of 14-39 and a conference record of 1-23.
Contact Sydney Sanchez at firstname.lastname@example.org.