Santa Clara bats erupt to keep Broncos on winning track
THE SANTA CLARA
May 1, 2014
Freshman Stevie Berman arrived on the scene in spectacular form this past week, blasting multiple long balls and scoring numerous runs to help the Santa Clara baseball squad notch two home wins over Loyola Marymount University.
“We’re happy to have (Berman) on our team and not against us,” said Assistant Coach Keith Beauregard. “(Berman’s) a hard worker. He’s a kid I’d pay to see play.”
Berman’s performance this past week helped him claim West Coast Conference Rawlings Baseball Player of the Week honors. He tallied two home runs, four RBIs, four runs scored and three walks in a three-game weekend series against LMU. Berman is the first freshman to receive the award this season.
The conference series against the Lions started with promise for the Santa Clara squad. The Broncos scored four runs in the first inning but stumbled as the game progressed, eventually dropping the first game of the series on Friday 6-5.
The Lions tied things up by the end of the second inning. Two runs in the third inning then gave LMU the lead. The Broncos managed to tack on another run in the eighth inning, but it wasn’t enough.
However, Santa Clara came to life offensively in Saturday’s matchup.
Berman led the Bronco offense with his first home run of the game in the bottom of the first inning. He stepped up to the plate in the fourth inning to knock another one out of the park, giving the Broncos a 2-0 lead after four innings of play.
The LMU offense cut into the Santa Clara advantage in the fifth inning with two runs to tie the game, but the Broncos answered with a home run by Quinton Perry in the sixth to regain control.
“I love back-and-forth games, trading punches with the other team and battling it out,” said pitcher Jake Steffens. “In games like that, it comes down to who wants it more.”
After a three-spot in the home half of the seventh, Santa Clara locked up the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with three more runs, two of them scoring on senior Greg Harisis’ triple. The Broncos closed out the ninth inning and won 10-2.
Sunday’s game was more of a battle for Santa Clara.
LMU was first on the board with two runs in the top of the first inning. Santa Clara answered in the bottom half with three runs of their own, jumping out on top 3-2.
Santa Clara built its lead with another run in the third. But in the sixth inning, the Lions’ offense put up three runs to put them ahead by one. Both teams continued to trade runs in the seventh inning to make the score 6-5 in favor of the squad from Southern California.
The Broncos managed to pour on three runs in the eighth inning to seal the deal. Kyle Cortopassi hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring a run and closing the deficit. A double by Harisis then allowed Zach Looney to score the game-tying run. Finally, Jose Vizcaino Jr. singled to bring Harisis home for the game-winning run. Santa Clara shut out the Lions’ hitters in the ninth inning to capture the victory.
“That (eighth) inning was a testament to the hard work they put in the entire season,” said Beauregard. “We were prepared early on in the season when we had some tough matchups. We’ve been battle tested, and coming into the WCC season, we’ve been able to get through tough opponents.”
Santa Clara finished off its week of action with a matchup against crosstown rivals from San Jose State University on Tuesday. The Broncos tallied 12 hits and seven runs to take down the Spartans by a final score of 7-4.
The three wins throughout this past week bring Santa Clara to 10-8 in West Coast Conference play and 20-24 overall.
The Broncos have another three-game series this weekend against the University of San Francisco at the Benedetti Diamond.
“Hopefully, we can carry our momentum this weekend to San Francisco and get another series win and focus on playing good baseball,” said Berman. “That’s all we can control.”
The team remains focused on fulfilling their aspirations with 10 regular season games remaining on the schedule.
“We’re always working on getting to the next thing to do — the next play, the next game, our next goal,” said Steffens. “We’re trying to win as many games as we can and take the season as far as we can. I’m looking forward to playing with my team.”
Contact Sydney Sanchez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.