Broncos Swept by Rival Dons
Santa Clara bats go cold in three straight losses at San Francisco
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012 11:05
Despite jumping out to early leads on Friday and Saturday, the Santa Clara baseball team was swept in a three game series this past weekend at the hands of the University of San Francisco.
The reigning West Coast Conference champion Dons came into the series in fifth place in the WCC, while the Broncos, who were looking extend their four game winning streak, sat in last.
On Friday, the Broncos were tasked with facing starting pitcher Kyle Zimmer. Baseball America described Zimmer as “a legitimate early candidate for the No. 1 overall pick” in the upcoming MLB draft. As usual, he had a strong outing, giving up one run and six hits across seven innings of work.
The Broncos jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to an RBI single by Evan Peters in the top of the second, but the lead proved short-lived, as the Dons tallied four runs in the bottom of the same inning.
The Dons tallied four more runs across the next three innings, holding an 8-1 advantage over the Broncos before the Don’s ace took a seat. The Broncos were then able to push across another run, with Greg Harisis scoring on a single by Lucas Herbst in the top half of the ninth.
Bronco starter Tommy Nance picked up the loss after surrendering 15 hits and eight runs across five innings. James Smith outing was a bright spot for the Broncos, pitching three scoreless frames in relief, but the game ended in favor of the Dons 8-2.
The next day, in what would prove to be the most exciting game of the series, the Broncos again jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, only to let the Dons score four runs of their own to take a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the second.
The Broncos scored in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, and took a 5-4 lead on a Kyle DeMerrit sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh. The Dons then quickly knotted the score at five in the bottom of the seventh inning after USF’s Jason Mahood’s game tying double. Starting pitcher Powell Fansler was then relieved by senior right-handed pitcher Paul Twining.
The Broncos went scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings. In the bottom half of the ninth, Brad Zimmer, brother of the aforementioned Kyle Zimmer, reached on an error to spark the Dons’ ninth. Outfielder Justin Maffei then doubled, advancing Zimmer to third.
With first base open, Twining walked Mahood intentionally to load the bases.
Into the batter’s box stepped Adam Clear, who only needed a deep fly ball to win the game. In the end, Clear didn’t even have to swing his bat. He was hit by the first pitch, giving the Dons the 6-5 win, by way of the rare walk off hit-by-pitch.
The Broncos entered the final game of the series looking to avoid another loss and spoil USF’s senior day. They were unable to do this, and instead fell behind early as the Dons plated three runs in the first two innings, leading to a 13-2 victory.
Following Tuesday’s win over the University of Pacific, the Broncos now sit one game above .500 overall, with a 3-15 mark in conference play. This weekend, they will travel to Provo, Utah for the first time in the 129 year history of the baseball program to take on WCC newcomer Brigham Young University (19-24, 7-11 WCC). . The Cougars are 2-12 in their last 14 games.
The next chance to see the Broncos at Stephen Schott Stadium will come on Tuesday, when the Broncos take on local rival Stanford in a non-conference matchup.
Contact Ryan Mahoney at email@example.com.