Baseball snags two “confidence” wins against Gaels
THE SANTA CLARA
May 7, 2015
The rally caps were working last weekend as the Broncos overcame two ninth-inning deficits en route to their series win over Saint Mary’s College.
Junior Reece Karalus got the ball in the series opener, but didn’t have his best stuff, allowing six runs over six innings. Santa Clara’s bats couldn’t bail out Karalus, as their lone run came in the ninth inning.
The Broncos had their chances, leaving 10 men on base, but they just didn’t have that timely hitting.
After the tough 6-1 loss on Friday night, the Broncos bounced back in dramatic fashion.
Eric Lex gave the Broncos another solid start and was in line for the win as he walked off the mound in the sixth with 5-3 lead.
But Saint Mary’s bats lit up Santa Clara’s bullpen the following inning, tallying four runs, giving them a 7-5 advantage.
Yet the Broncos weren’t fazed as they entered the ninth inning trailing by two runs. Junior shortstop Jose Vizcaino Jr. got the inning underway with a single, and Sophomore Stevie Berman followed by blasting a double into right field.
“(Berman) and (Vizcaino) are great ball players,” said Head Coach Dan O’Brien. “They challenge each other, motivate each other and really feed off on one another’s success.”
T.J. Braff drove in Vizcaino and Berman with a single up the middle, and the Broncos tied the game up before Saint Mary’s could record a single out.
Santa Clara took the 8-7 lead with a T.C. Florentine single, and closer Mitchell White took care of business in the bottom half of the inning to earn his third save of the year.
“We were too easily rattled and did not handle adversity well early in the season,” O’Brien said. “For them to face that challenge and respond, rather than pack it in for the season, says a lot about this ball club.”
Sunday’s game followed almost the exact same script as the night before. Steven Wilson lasted 5.2 innings and like Lex, he surrendered three runs. The game was tied at three after six innings, but the Broncos took the lead with two more runs in top of the seventh. Vizcaino drove in his third RBI of the game with a triple down the right field line, and came across to score on a Berman single.
The lead didn’t last for long, though, as Saint Mary’s responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. The game remained at 6-5 heading into the ninth.
With runners on first and second, Vizcaino singled through the left side to tie the game.
This time, it was Berman who drove in the winning run with a single up the middle, but Florentine added an insurance run with yet another RBI single.
As devastating as two ninth inning collapses may seem, Saint Mary’s kept on fighting until the very end. With just one out, they had loaded the bases against White. But the Broncos came through with a clutch double play to give them the 8-6 victory.
“There’s no question that those two wins are great for our confidence,” O’Brien said. “We’ve been through a lot this season, and these guys are choosing to fight through the adversity rather than give into it.”
The Broncos will travel to the University of Portland this weekend for a three-game set against the Pilots.
Contact Andrew Slap at aslap @scu.edu or call (408) 554-4852.