SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Looking to improve on its hot start, Santa Clara baseball played a tight game with Illinois-Chicago. A two-run rally in the top of the ninth gave the Flames a 7-6 lead, their first of the series. The Broncos were unable to mount a comeback in the bottom of the ninth and lost their first game of the season 7-6, moving their record to 5-1. The Flames moved to 1-4 in 2012.
Santa Clara will play game two of its doubleheader vs. Chicago-Illinois at 3 p.m. today.
Brock Simon (0-0; 2.08) made the start and went 5.0 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four. Paul Twining (2-1; 2.84) suffered the loss in 2.1 innings of relief by giving up two unearned runs. 1B Andrew Biancardi went 2-5 with a home run and two RBI.
Simon struck out the lead off batter LF Zenon Koloakowski on a check swing and got 1B Alex De LaRosa to pop out to short. CF Nick Addison knocked a one-out single to left but Simon got RF Jon Ryan to hit a lazy fly ball to left field.
After RF Lucas Herbst smacked a ball to shortstop for a lineout, Biancardi came up and smoked a ball over the left-field fence to give the Broncos an early 1-0 lead. LF Pat Stover got a base hit through the left side and advanced to second on a balk. 3B Kyle DeMerritt walked to put two on with two out but 2B Evan Peters struck out looking to end the inning
2B Cody Dykema led off the third inning with a base hit and Kolakowsi laid down a bunt that he beat out to put runners on first and second with no outs. De LaRosa followed with a single through the right side to knock in a run and put runners on the corners. SS Ran Shober got caught looking and Ryan hit a sac fly to center field to put the Flames in the lead 2-1. De LaRosa stole second and 3B Joe Betcher walked to put two on but DH Dom D'Agata grounded out to first to end the inning.
A one-out walk to Stover and a bouncer to left field by Braff gave the Broncos a scoring chance in the bottom of the third. After a double-steal, DeMerritt hit a fielder's choice to the shortstop and advanced to second on a wild throw. The run scored and Braff went to third and scored on Peters' sacrifice fly to left field to put the Broncos back on top 3-2. DeMerritt stole third but C Quinton Perry struck out to end the frame.
LHP Max Deering came in to relieve Simon in the top of the sixth. After getting two quick outs he surrendered a triple to right-center to Addison and C Jacob McNamara singled up the middle to tie the score at 3-3.
Back-to-back one-out walks to C Zach Looney and RF Stephen Meade gave the Broncos a chance to retake the lead in the bottom of the sixth. A wild pitch advanced both runners and Santa Clara took a 4-3 lead on a SS Justin Viele sacrifice fly to center. Herbst hit a deep fly ball to right field that the defender leaped for against the wall but was unable to come down with the ball and Herbst ended up on third with a triple, making the score 5-3. Biancardi followed with a RBI single to left to put the Broncos up three.
After a base hit and a hit-by-pitch, Shober hit a RBI double to left to close the gap to 6-4. Deering induced a pop-up to third before being lifted for RHP Paul Twining. An infield hit for Betcher knocked in the fifth Flames run but the runner going to third rounded the base too far and was thrown out to end the inning.
Dykema led off the top of the ninth with a solid base hit to left field. Kolakowski laid down a sacrifice bunt but reached on a throwing error by the catcher to put runners on second and third with no outs. De LaRosa grounded out to second to tie the game at six and advance the runner to third. With the infield in, Twining struck out Shober for the second out of the inning. Ryan followed with a solid hit to right to give the Flames their first lead of the series at 7-6. A caught stealing ended the inning to bring the Broncos up for their last chance of the game.
A foul pop-out and a fly out to left brought up Braff who represented the Broncos last hope. Despite hitting what looked like a double down the left field line that was called foul, Braff struck out to end the game.
Game Notes: Pat Stover made a sliding catch to end the top of the fourth ... Paul Twining struck out back-to-back batters to end the eighth inning.