Baseball closes season with loss to Brigham Young
THE SANTA CLARA
May 21, 2015
Despite dropping two out of three to Brigham Young University and falling short of the playoffs, the Broncos still have plenty to be proud of from their 2015 season. Santa Clara had endured a plethora of injuries, yet still entered the weekend with a shot at the postseason.
Reece Karalus got the start on Thursday night and was dominant, striking out 11 over seven strong innings of work.
“Reece is as tough as we’ve got; as competitive as we’ve got,” said Associate Head Coach Gabe Ribas. “It’s just been great to watch him go out there every night that he gets the ball and compete like a demon.”
BYU jumped out to a quick 1-0 in the first inning, but the Broncos responded in the bottom of the third. Freshman Grant Meylan tied the game up with a single up the middle, and the Broncos took the lead on junior Jose Vizcaino Jr.’s single through the right side. Sophomore Stevie Berman followed with a single of his own, driving in two more runs.
BYU added a run in the fifth, and the score remained at 4-2.
The Cougars scored three runs in the eigth inning to make it 5-4. The Broncos wouldn’t go down without a fight though, as T.J. Braff tied the game up in the bottom of the eighth with a double.
The game went into extra innings, but BYU secured the win with three runs in the top of the 10th.
Freshman Eric Lex got the start the following night.
“Lex stepping in as a freshman, you couldn’t ask for anything more out of him,” Berman said. “He dominates games.”
Santa Clara took the lead in the bottom of the second on a Kyle Cortopassi RBI single, and a Berman two-run shot the next inning gave the Broncos a 3-0 lead.
Lex carried his shutout into the fifth inning, but a questionable call by the home-plate umpire helped BYU get on the scoreboard. With one out and a man on second, Berman blocked Lex’s pitch in the dirt and hurried for the ball to prevent BYU runner Colton Shaver from advancing to third. Shaver never made a move for third, but since Berman used his catcher’s mask to collect the slowly rolling ball in front of him, the ump awarded Shaver third base.
This brought Head Coach Dan O’Brien out of the dugout, who soon got ejected after a heated exchange with the ump.
BYU scored on a sacrifice fly, but the Broncos answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning.
“He’s the head; he’s the captain,” Vizcaino Jr. said about Coach O’Brien. “So seeing him get tossed and fired up definitely fired us up.”
Santa Clara had a comfortable 7-1 lead heading into the sixth, but some costly errors allowed BYU to tie the game midway through the seventh.
Santa Clara’s bullpen responded after the tough outing the night before, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings. The same could not be said about BYU’s bullpen, which walked in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Broncos the victory.
“To get a walk-off win, it says a lot about where the program’s going, and the character of the guys and just how much they’ve bought in,” Coach Ribas said. “It would have been really easy to just cash it in today and they didn’t do it.”
The Broncos couldn’t take the series, however, as they lost 4-2 the next day. Steven Wilson got the nod for Santa Clara, and surrendered four runs over six innings.
Other than a Vizcaino Jr. bomb over the left field wall and a Berman RBI single, the Bronco’s bats were mostly held in check.
Even though the season ended with a loss, Santa Clara won 8 of their last ten games.
“Hopefully we can capitalize on some momentum that we’re having right now,” Coach Ribas said. “And the guys are hungry when they come back in the fall.”
Contact Andrew Slap at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.