SANTA CLARA, Calif. - In a scheduling oddity because of the third annual Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament, Santa Clara baseball was the visiting team at Stephen Schott Stadium on Saturday night vs. the Columbia Lions. The Broncos beat the Lions by a score of 3-0. Santa Clara won its fifth game in a row and now sits at 13-3 while Columbia drops to 2-5.
RHP Brock Simon (1-0; 2.36) of Santa Clara faced off in a pitching duel against RHP Stefan Olson of Columbia. Simon made his fourth start for the Broncos in 2012 and picked up a win. He pitched 8.0 shutout innings while surrendering five hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. RHP Paul Twining (2-1; 3.38) picked up his sixth save and third of the weekend. RHP Stefan Olson picked up the loss in 6.0 innings while allowing two runs for the Lions. 2B Evan Peters hit a clutch two-out triple in the top of the fifth to spark a two-run rally. He was 1-2 with a walk. CF Matt Ozanne went 2-4 and added a RBI.
Santa Clara returns to the field to wrap-up the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament tomorrow Mar. 11 at 1 p.m. at San Jose State. The winner of the game will take home the championship trophy for the tournament.
"It was a great feeling to do anything I can to help the team," said Peters. "We were having a tough time early and I got a good swing on him. There were two outs and I was just trying to get something going like we've been able to do all year. He was throwing a lot of first pitch fastballs and I jumped on it. This whole team all year, up and down the lineup, has done a great job so I knew if I got on they were going to find a way to get me in."
DH Alexander Aurrichio hit a sharp single to right on the first pitch he saw with one out in the bottom of the second. CF Billy Rumpke followed with a single through the left side to put two runners on. Simon got 1B Eric Williams to fly out to center and on a full count C Emmanuel Cabreja to do the same to end the inning.
C Zach Looney led off the top of the third with a fly ball that was dropped by the right fielder for an error. Looney appeared to steal second on a failed hit and run by Peters but Peters was ruled out on batter's interference and Looney had to go back to first with one out in the inning. SS Justin Viele popped out in foul territory to the first baseman for the second out. Ozanne fisted a ball to deep short for an infield single but 1B Andrew Biancardi hit a screamer to center that hung up and was caught to end the inning.
Santa Clara broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fifth when Peters legged out a two out triple on a ball roped into the right-center field gap. Viele continued his patience at the plate by running the count full before he tripled to almost the same spot as Peters to put Santa Clara up 1-0. Ozanne singled to right center to extend the lead to 2-0. Biancardi grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
The Broncos scored an insurance run in the top of the ninth to stretch the lead to 3-0. 3B Matt Glomb singled to shortstop and advanced to second on a groundout by Looney. 2B Kyle DeMerritt knocked a RBI single up the middle. Viele chopped a single over the third baseman to put two runners on but Ozanne flew out to center to end the inning.
Twining came in for the third time in three games to pitch the ninth. He got a foul out, a strike out and a ground out to close out the 3-0 win for Santa Clara.
Game Notes: First pitch was at 6:02 p.m. ... the first 10 batters of the game went down in order ... Zach Epstein came in relief of Stefan Olson to start the seventh inning ... Greg Harisis came in to pinch run for Evan Peters in the top of the seventh and stole second, the first steal of his collegiate career ... Kyle DeMerritt came in to play second for pinch runner Harisis ... Lucas Herbst came within inches of lining a ball off of the pitcher when he singled up the middle with two outs in the top of the eighth.