Santa Clara loses series to St. Mary’s but wins final game
THE SANTA CLARA
April 7, 2016
Santa Clara Baseball narrowly avoided being swept last weekend by winning the Sunday game against Saint Mary’s (13-9). The biggest highlight from the weekend though was on Friday when top prospect Corbin Burnes took the mound for the Gaels.
With the emergence of dominant power major league pitchers, such as Aroldis Chapman and his 105.1 MPH fastball, power pitching has become even more relevant. In recent years, the velocity of pitches has reached unprecedented levels, coveted for their inept ability to sneak by bats.
Burnes, ranked the top prospect in the WCC by Baseball America, entered the game with a perfect 4-0 record through six starts. Even more impressive is his 1.74 era and his 39 strikeouts in 41.1 innings.
Skip to July and the MLB draft, Burnes is projected to be drafted within the first 10 rounds, quite possibly in the first five.
The right handed pitcher, listed at 6’3”, drew an entourage of major league scouts, armed with attentively aimed radar guns. Their preferred section (behind home plate) was overflowing into the main concourse to watch his fastball.
“We knew coming in he was going to be a really good guy. He’s got a good fastball, slider, and he throws all of them pretty well,” said Bronco catcher Stevie Berman.
The Gaels entered the game with a record of 13-9, 4-2 in the WCC. The Broncos entered 11-12 with a 1-2 WCC record.
To oppose the Gaels, the Broncos sent out their own ace, Mitchell White. White has pitched quite well in the early season to the tune of a 2.62 era through 44.2 innings with 57 strikeouts.
White’s first pitch of the game was hammered to center field for a double off the wall. He bounced back however, and struck out the next two.
Burnes’ first pitch of the game, a 93 mph fastball, induced a groundout. Burnes was electric, dominating the Broncos. Burnes pitched 6.2 innings, striking out eight, while allowing two unearned runs, and only three hits.
Burnes’ fastball topped off at 95 and he cruised through the Bronco lineup with 1-2-3 innings in the second, third and fourth.
White pitched decently, lasting six innings, despite allowing 10 hits and three earned runs, which all came in the long second inning. The Gaels added two more runs in the seventh inning off reliever Travis Howard.
White’s perseverance impressed Berman.
“College is a really long season, it’s not pro ball yet, but some days you’re not going to have your best stuff,” Berman said. “Mitch didn’t have his best stuff but the way he competed for six innings was pretty impressive.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Burnes allowed two runners to reach base while recording two outs before his night was done. By the end of the seventh, the Broncos matched the Gaels five runs resulting in a 5-5 score.
Following Burnes exit, Berman noticed the Broncos’ bats heating up. “Just getting guys on base. Balls started to fall, we started having better at bats. Just competing the whole way through really showed,” Berman said.
In the bottom of the ninth, with reliever Nick Medeiros, a home run off Gaels’ Anthony Villa’s bat resulted in a 7-5 lead for the Gaels. The score remained the same, resulting in a no decision for either starter.
“He was a really good pitcher, so we tried to stick to our plan. We did a good job and found a lot of barrels at people, and sometimes the ball just doesn’t fall for you,” Berman said about Barnes.
The Gaels took the second game of the series, on Saturday, 1-0 on a complete game by Johnny York. The Broncos offense bounced back on Sunday for a 13-9 win. Kyle Cortopassi added three hits, four RBI’s and two runs for the Broncos.
The Broncos, now 12-14 (2-4), host the Pepperdine Waves (13-13, 4-5) over the weekend.
Pepperdine finished last season second in the WCC and made the NCAA tournament, before losing head coach and alumni Steve Rodriguez to Baylor. Friday’s game is set to start at 6:00 p.m. at Stephen Schott Stadium.
Contact Brent Hanower at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.