Santa Clara records its sixth conference series victory of season
Tyler J. Scott
THE SANTA CLARA
May 15, 2014
They defeated the Cougars on Thursday by a score of 8-6 but dropped the next game 16-2 on Friday. Santa Clara finished strong with a 5-1 victory on Saturday to close out the series.
“This team is very good when they execute and play the game the way it should be played,” said Head Coach Dan O’Brien. “When they do that, we can beat anyone.”
One batter later, Quinton Perry hit a home run to narrow BYU’s lead to 6-5.
The Broncos exploded to take the lead in the eighth inning when Jose Vizcaino Jr. hit his first home run of the season, a two-run blast, giving Santa Clara a 7-6 lead. Braff followed with an RBI which eventually led to the Broncos’ victory.
Vizcaino led the team, going 2-for-5, driving in three runs and scoring one himself.
The win was the third time this season when the Broncos snagged a victory when trailing heading into the seventh inning of a game.
The next game, however, was all BYU. Santa Clara quickly fell behind 5-0 before finally getting a run in the fifth thanks to a Vizcaino groundout that brought Kert Woods home.
C.J. Jacobe drove in another run after he hit a single in the eighth inning, the second of Santa Clara’s only runs.
The Broncos only recorded three hits on the game with senior Greg Harisis hitting two of them.
He went 2-for-3 for the night and the Broncos fell by 14 runs.
“It’s really easy to get caught up in the fact that my time as a Bronco is coming to an end and to reminisce on the last four years,” said Harisis. “But I’m really just focusing on what I need to do in order to be successful and help us win these next few games.”
But behind another career day for sophomore pitcher Jake Steffens, the Broncos bounced back and finished off the series with a win.
On Saturday, Steffens pitched a career-high eight innings and only allowed one earned run on five hits. He also recorded one walk and five strikeouts.
“(Steffens) continues to grow and mature as both a person and a ballplayer,” said O’Brien. “His performance is a direct result of that. I’m so impressed with how far he has come in such a short time.”
Woods got his first hit of the series in the second inning with a two-run single but Berman had the most efficient offensive game, going 3-for-5 .
Steffens never faced more than five Cougars in an inning and put away seven batters in a row before he was taken out.
Fellow sophomore Reece Karalus relieved him and pitched a scoreless ninth inning to seal the win for the Broncos.
In Steffens’ last start against the University of San Francisco on Sunday, May 4 he led the team to a 2-1 victory after throwing a career-high nine strikeouts.
“Every weekend (Steffens) has been asked to step up for this ballclub and he’s done just that.”
“Every weekend (Steffens) has been asked to step up for this ballclub and he’s done just that,” said O’Brien. “He’s a winner.”
This marked Santa Clara’s fourth consecutive West Coast Conference series win. Santa Clara’s overall record now sits at 24-27 with a 14-10 record in conference play.
“As a team, we’re ready for a really locked-in week of practice to prepare for the coming games that we’re going to take on one at a time,” said Harisis. “Our team has battled hard together all year and I expect that to be the case, win or lose, this weekend and going forward.”
The Broncos wrap up their season by hosting a three-game series against Saint Mary’s College on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After that comes the WCC Tournament, beginning on the following Thursday.
“We’re not guaranteed anything at this point so we’re not looking past Friday night’s game,” said O’Brien. “But if we earn a spot in the tournament it will mean that we continued to play consistently solid baseball.”
Contact Tyler J. Scott at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.